“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
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!”
This passage has always struck me. I think I like the Matthew version better, where Jesus says that the Father will give “good gifts” to those who ask. Especially when I get to define what “good” means. Like a new putter. Or cool friends. Maybe the Jayhawks will land the #1 high school prospect in the country. OK, that last one just happened, which is cool, because I didn’t even ask for it. God is so GOOD!
But this is one that I have a hard time getting my head around. How much more will your Father give the Holy Spirit….
I’ve been on a journey of faith the last few years, wanting to understand and hear from God more. I mean, that’s the promise in Scripture—that we will have this Spirit inside us that will be a comforter, a counselor, a guide, and a source of life. That means this relationship is interactive, and the Holy Spirit living within me is essential. Paul prays that this would become the reality in every Christian’s life, that God “will empower [us] with inner strength through His Spirit,” and that this “mighty power within us” can accomplish more than we could ask or imagine. Yet, I wonder how many of us experience that kind of power? How often do I experience that kind of power?
Francis Chan puts it this way in his book “Forgotten God”:
It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He’ll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like the people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength. I want to be different today from what I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me…. Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.
I am convinced that there is more to this life of faith, this life with the Holy Spirit, than what we currently experience. I’ve grown in my understanding and relationship with this third person of the Trinity…but I know there’s more. And it’s not more just for the experience of more. It’s more for the purpose of this divine relationship. It’s more for the purpose of mission and sharing the Gospel. And it’s more for growing to be like Jesus, the One whose Spirit is alive with me.
In the next few weeks at Restoration, we’re going to take an honest look at the Holy Spirit. We’re going to try and set aside our presuppositions (and our baggage), and we’re going to ask God to reveal Himself to us more deeply. We’re going to pray that He starts to build within us this awareness of His strength, His purposes, and His character. It’s our hope that, as we do, God will do something in our church and in our lives—maybe even something “infinitely more than we can ask or imagine!”