I’ll give you a minute to ponder that question…
This question came up in a Sunday School Class I attended recently. Nobody took a vote or anything; there was no show of hands. There was a fair amount of conversation on the subject, however.
I could be mistaken, but I had the general impression that people felt that the Holy Spirit was at work in their lives if things were going well, at least that was what the examples mentioned led me to think. A larger question seemed to emerge as the discussion continued, which was something like, “How can we grow more spiritually so that we will be more aware of how the Spirit works in our lives?” Again, this was more of an impression I had than a literal spoken question.
Prayer was suggested as a way of getting to this point, and then the general subject of answered prayer was what followed. Prayer that was answered in a way we like seemed the main example of the Spirit at work…
I was disappointed.
Can we really be so slow to understand? Can we really be so spiritually young?
The Holy Spirit works in many ways, not all of which are obvious, but the work of the Spirit is not necessarily to make me feel good, nor is it to ensure that I get my goody list. Far from it!
The work of the Holy Spirit is to build the Body of Christ!
These questions came about from a study of John 16:5-16 which is about the work of the Spirit. It is within the final discourse of Jesus with His disciples, a discourse that is set within the overall context of the New Covenant, and yet no one present made the connection between the work of the Spirit and the imperatives of the New Covenant, which are all about making disciples. Our work on this earth is the making of disciples, and it has nothing to do with having everything go smoothly for us personally. Thus, the work of the Spirit within our lives must of necessity be related to our work in making disciples. If we are making disciples and serving as we are called to do, which is to say if we have set “self” aside, the Holy Spirit is of great comfort to us. However, if we stubbornly refuse to be active in making disciples, then tje Holy Spirit might just be trying to get our attention!
I don’t know about you, but for me, this has often been unpleasant.
Of course the Holy Spirit is the “Comforter” but He is a Comforter with a purpose. When we place ourselves within that purpose, the work of the Spirit is not difficult to detect, but when our purpose is simply related to “self” His work is not so clear.
Maybe the question we should ask ourselves is more like… “What am I doing today to make disciples for Jesus Christ?
There was another question that came up, but that will have to wait until next time. I feel a rant coming on!