The Holy Spirit’s Presence

‘Some of us believe in the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence theoretically, but we don’t seem to believe God is active when we meet. He’s the Spirit of power in name only. Our focus is more on executing our plan than on expecting God to do anything through his Spirit. We move through a song list without considering what the Spirit may want to accomplish as we sing.

On the other extreme are those who expect the active presence of the Spirit but assume it will always be revealed in spectacular or unusual ways. If certain spiritual gifts aren’t exercised or people don’t appear visibly affected, then they conclude that the Spirit “hasn’t shown up” or that he’s been quenched or grieved.

The Holy Spirit is indeed present and at work every time the church gathers. We just need to understand biblically what that mans. When people grasp something of God’s glory, the Spirit is at work. When people are convicted of sin, the Spirit is at work. When people receive hope and strength in the midst of a trial, the Spirit is at work. The Spirit may also choose to demonstrate his presence through a prophetic impression, a healing, or a heightened awareness of his nearness.

God doesn’t reveal his power in spectacular ways every time we meet. But we can expect him to reveal it in some way. And I’m fairly certain he wants to show his power much more often than we expect him to.

None of us should be satisfied with our present experience of the Spirit’s presence and power. Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 challenges us.

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

When is the last time a non-Christian came to your church and fell down on his face, convicted and gloriously converted? When is the last time you really expected the Spirit to work that way?

No amount of technology, practice, planning, or ingenuity can produce that kind of fruit. It is a demonstration of the Spirit’s power in our midst.

Whatever you believe about the continuation of prophecy for today, this passage at least implies that the Holy Spirit at times works in ways that are more spontaneous and dramatic in their effect. Do we expect him to work in such ways? Do we allow any room for him to do so?

(…)

So expect him to keep his promise to empower our activities as we gather in his name. Trust his word that he is eager to give each of us manifestations of his Spirit for the good of his church (1 Corinthians 12:11). And listen and watch for the Spirit’s leading and promptings, leaving room for him to work spontaneously.’

source: Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (2008), Chapter 10: … Through the Power of the Holy Spirit …, p. 84-85.

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