Like a character in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I felt a tug in my spirit as I drove by a man walking alone in the frigid cold on Butterfield Road last week. I was in a hurry to get to a meeting…no time to stop.
The “Bottom Line”?
Hurry in my life boils down to my own selfishness. Spending more time on things I want to get done for myself — on my checklist, on my timetable.
My Hurry crushes the promptings of the Holy Spirit in my life–the “humblest” member of the Trinity–as A.W. Tozer used to preach. This is the greatest tragedy of all. God is not in a hurry. He’s already got a plan for my day–if I would give him the time to speak a Word in edgewise (see Eph. 2:8-10). He has promised to fill me with the Holy Spirit to be a part of completing His earthly mission–“that none should be lost”.
In my small group, we’re reading Francis Chan’s Forgotten God, his study of the modern Church’s failure to teach Christians what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit–to rely on His power to build us and His Church to all the measure of the fullness of Christ.
You remember Jesus’ “ask, seek, knock” teaching? Although it’s referenced two different times in the gospels, it’s in two different contexts. The first, in Matthew 7:7-12, is probably the most commonly referred to as an encouragement for Christians to be bold in prayer. The second occasion, in which Jesus is documented as teaching with this phrase is in Luke 11:5-13. Interestingly, Jesus completes his teaching by identifying the object of our seeking, He said,
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (NIV, emphasis mine)
I can’t honestly say, as a rule, that I’ve followed Jesus teaching to ask, seek and knock for the Holy Spirit in my life.
When I was studying to be a pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, I remembered being irritated with one of the standard lines of doctrine regarding the Holy Spirit–in particular, to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The line was: seek not, forbid not. Although I don’t know for sure, my suspicion is that the motivating factor for this rather wimpy, politically correct teaching was fear–that crazy things would start happening in our church services if we encouraged some of the more radical, discomfiting gifts related to the work of the Holy Spirit–words of prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc. I also think it was an effort to more clearly differentiate C&MA churches from our Pentecostal brothers and sisters. But, unfortunately, this teaching has had an unintended chilling effect on our churches over the long haul–a lack of expectation or welcome for the Holy Spirit to have his way in our corporate gatherings.
That’s why I used the very strong descriptor of my personal hurry as “hell”. I deny myself the beautiful opportunity to commune with the Holy Spirit, to invite his teaching, guidance and correction in my everyday life.
How about you? Are you intentionally asking, seeking and knocking for the Holy Spirit in your life? Let’s not be afraid. Let’s just take Jesus’ encouragement at face value and enter in to see what God does!
Then, maybe next time I’m on Butterfield Road, I’ll have the space, time and room for the Holy Spirit to lead and work through me to reach out to others He is seeking to fill as well?