Can you imagine neglecting Jesus or the Father in your teaching or preaching? Imagine a church that never said a word about either the Father or the Son. Would you want to be a part of a church that never brought them up? Why is it that we rarely talk about the Spirit of God? Maybe it is because the Spirit is difficult to understand. Could it be that the difficulty to understand the Spirit is because the Spirit is spoken of as a personality and yet the Spirit is never framed in relational terms like the Father and the Son are to us? The Spirit is our Counselor or Advocate…the Spirit is our seal or deposit. The Spirit is never called our cousin or aunt or uncle or brother. That makes the Spirit harder to relate to than the Father and the Son.
What also makes many of resist discussing the Spirit is how controversial and heated those discussions have been in the past. There are strong opinions on the Holy Spirit that go all the way back to the beginning of our Restoration roots. These conversations can turn divisive quickly. This is a maturity issue more than it is a Holy Spirit issue. We need to learn to have difficult conversations without getting ugly and without getting personal. If Facebook is any indicator on if we have improved on that or not I dare say we haven’t gotten much better! However, if personal conversations teach me anything about if we have matured in our ability to have difficult conversations, I believe we have.
The third thing that makes the Spirit difficult to discuss or at least adds to the infrequency is the abuse of the Holy Spirit. If I offered you a $100 bill would you tear it up for fear it might be a counterfeit? So the saying goes – you don’t reject the genuine for fear of the counterfeit. The abuse of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean there is no use in studying the scriptures on the work and person of the Holy Spirit. There is great benefit to be found there if we will open ourselves up to what the Bible teaches on the Spirit.
Fourth, we have rational roots and the Spirit doesn’t always want to fit our tight, locked down categories. Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” The Spirit cannot be nailed down and translated into a nice formula. The reality is neither can the Father or the Son because they are all personal and personality and you can never minimize a person down to a formula and retain anything close to who you started with.
I believe the stifling of the Holy Spirit is part of the reason for our decline in numbers over the years. We have often relied more on our ability to reason our way through things than we have made room for or relied on the Holy Spirit to help us…to empower us…to guide us. If we want to see restoration in our churches we need to turn more to the Spirit and be in tune more with the Spirit and watch and see just how powerful our ministries, mission and message all become.