Part of our misunderstanding of the Spirit has come from a reaction to and a push for glory for self. The first way this has happened is that we have seen others try to bring glory to themselves through a display of the Spirit’s power and it has turned us off. That is what I referred to as “doctrinal whiplash” in the first post. The second way bringing glory to self develops a misunderstanding of the Spirit is related to my second point in the first post – a lock box Christianity where we feel we have everything nailed down. This is a very prideful move that brings glory to self through the declaration that we have it all right and that status quo is a spiritual ideal.
The Spirit does not exist to keep the status quo. The Spirit exists for two primary reasons. The first has to do with Christ – to bring glory to Him (as Frank pointed out in John 16). The second has to do with us – to act as our counselor/comforter (John 14:26). When we revel and glory in our own spiritual maturity we quench the Spirit because we leave little room for him to accomplish these two primary objectives. We quench His bringing glory to Christ because through pride we are trying to bring glory to self instead of Christ and we find we no longer need a counselor or a comforter because we have God all figured out.
When God’s love is taken for granted, we paint Him into a corner and rob Him of the opportunity to love us in a NEW AND SURPRISING way, and faith begins to shrivel and shrink. When I become so spiritually advanced that Abba is old hat, then the Father has been had, Jesus has been tamed, the Spirit has been corralled, and the Pentecostal fire has been extinguished. Evangelical faith is the antithesis of lukewarmness: It always means a profound dissatisfaction with our present state. – Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel, 167
Maybe we have missed out on understanding our need for the Spirit because we have been too satisfied with status quo spirituality. Don’t challenge me, don’t take me any place new, just leave me alone and let me hold on tight to this little lock box I like to keep God in. Fear paralyzes and grips. It poisons and stagnates the soul. The freedom of the Gospel of Christ liberates us to take God at His Word. It enables us to dream bigger than lock boxes and humbles us so completely that we begin to understand that our need for the Spirit is even bigger than we could have ever imagined.