Invisible, unpredictable, powerful…
As the years passed, I learned to dismantle my misconceptions and inherited prejudices about the Holy Spirit. One of the main reasons was because my own Christian experience—fueled mostly by my own efforts—ended up being a failure, to say the least. When I finally invited the Holy Spirit to fill me, my prayer was a mixed bag of double messages—something like this: “Holy Spirit, I want to receive You, but at the same time I don’t want to lose control. I want You to come in on my terms. I’ll receive You, but I still have some concerns about You and Your ways. If You can behave Yourself, then You’re welcome to come in and stay awhile.”
If it sounds like a halfhearted contract with an unruly tenant instead of a commitment of love with the God of the universe, you’re right. Like so many people, I’d let my religious prejudices taint my beliefs and color my perceptions. Finally, though, I said, “I want You and everything You have to offer—all of me for all of You.”
It changed everything. I went from being a weak, milk-fed Christian to a radical, on-fire believer who couldn’t stop reading his Bible and inserting Christ into conversations with my friends. The best part is I wasn’t trying to be a “good Christian”! I was simply being myself and allowing the Spirit into my heart, my mind and my life. I surrendered all I’d heard about the Spirit so that I could experience the adventure of God’s presence in my life .
I’m concerned that many people today are in the same place I was in—they misunderstand and misperceive God’s gift to us of the Holy Spirit. Most of us understand God the Father because we all have an earthly father. We know what a father is like or what a good father should be like.
It’s pretty easy to understand Jesus the Son, too. God with us in the flesh, Emmanuel, came to earth as a baby in a manger, died as a sinless man on a cross and returned to life as the radiant Son who made it possible for us to know His Father. Most of us have some understanding of Jesus because we’ve seen pictures and movies that depict Him, even if they’re not close to being accurate.
But what’s up with this Holy Ghost? If you’re like I was for years, it may seem easier to stay away and avoid the topic altogether. We don’t have a positive association with “ghosts” and all the spooky, supernatural mystery that surrounds them—who wants that? As it turns out, He’s not a ghost at all.