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Between the Extremes

Posted by Randy Wade on

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
— John 14:15–17

The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most misunderstood person in the Trinity. Most people are able to get their head around God the Father. Very few people seem to have trouble accepting the person of Jesus as the Christ or as God the Son. When a person hears about God as the Holy Spirit, however, it fosters a myriad of ideas and perspectives on just who this person is, and how he interacts with creation. The Holy Spirit is often left in the category of mystical and ethereal, which is sad because the role and desire of the Holy Spirit is to be personal and present with every believer.

I won’t go into a lot of detail on what causes the confusion about the Holy Spirit, because I wouldn’t be able to be thorough in a brief devotional thought. What I will say is that people tend to relate to the Holy Spirit in extremes. Some people act and speak in peculiar and non-understandable ways, and when asked why, they say that they are able to do so because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Often, this group will suggest that if a believer were just more open to the power and presence of the Spirit, then he or she would also be able to speak these languages and have these experiences. There is another group of people who tend to run the other direction. Because of what they disbelieve about the gifts and presence of the Holy Spirit, and what they have witnessed in the lives and behaviors of those self-proclaimed “more spiritual,” they become very nervous when anyone mentions the Holy Spirit. They believe that if you give the Spirit too much room to move, things can quickly get out of control.

Personally, I do not believe that either extreme is healthy or biblical. I am sure I will be accused of riding the fence, and perhaps that is a fair assessment, because I do believe the best place to be is in the middle. What does that mean, or what would that look like?

Living in the middle of the extremes puts us in a place where we do not fear the presence of the Holy Spirit nor do we live each day longing for a more dramatic experience than our last.

Living in the middle of the extremes enables us to trust that, when we don’t understand something in the Scripture or have the words to say to a friend in need, that we have a helper and an advocate that will give us the words and insight we need to communicate in a way that they will understand.

Living in the middle of the extremes allows us to view the Holy Spirit not only as God, but also as a friend who is always present.

Living in the middle reminds us that, although we are to make much of the Holy Spirit, we honor him most when we make much of Jesus.

Does the Holy Spirit make you a little nervous? Relax, he isn’t the weird uncle that no one knows quite what to do with. He, the Holy Spirit, is God. If you are saved, he is your helper. He is your advocate. He brings about holy conviction. He is a restorer. He is both a gift and a gift-giver. He is God.

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