I hope you all understand that I don’t know everything. If that’s not okay with you, then you just might be at the wrong church. As we go through our weekend services and the Scriptures together, I hope you picture me sitting right alongside you, learning, leaning into Jesus, and trying to figure this out.
I really felt that this past week. It’s not easy talking about the Holy Spirit, and as I was studying and preparing for 1 John 4:1-6, I really felt “out of my league.” I know the Holy Spirit is in me, and yet sometimes I still question His presence. I’ve heard the Holy Spirit speak to me, and yet sometimes I only hear silence. I believe the Holy Spirit to be a tangible force and presence in my life, and yet it’s hard to articulate that and explain it to others.
As someone called to teach and preach the Scriptures, I struggled this past week. I was having trouble articulating what the voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like compared to what the voices of the false spirits that John talks about in 1 John 4 sound like. As a way to help me differentiate these voices, I wrote down some of the common messages from the false spirits, and then I went back and wrote what Jesus’ response (the Holy Spirit’s voice) might be.
While I might not be able to cleanly articulate the voice of the Holy Spirit to you all, here are some examples of how I see these competing voices play out in my life:
The false spirits tell us that credentials qualify a person to lead. Jesus tells us the chief qualification is character.
To the false spirits, what matters most are the results we produce. To Jesus, what matters most is the kind of people we are becoming.
With the false spirits, success is measured by material possessions, power, and the positions we hold. With Jesus, success is measured by material generosity, humility, love, and the people whom we serve.
The false spirits say it is shameful to come in last and most worthy to come in first. Jesus says, the first will be last and the last will be first.
The false spirits tell us to make a name for ourselves in order to become famous, and that it’s okay sometimes to treat Jesus as a means to that end. With Jesus, we make His name famous and treat our own positions, abilities, and influence as a means to that end.
In the false spirits, we crave recognition and credit. In Jesus, we think less of ourselves and give credit to others.
In the false spirits, we declare my glory and my happiness at your expense. In Jesus, we are encouraged to sacrifice and serve so others will flourish.
In the false spirits, the strong and powerful rise to the top. In Jesus, the meek inherit the earth.
I still have much to learn about the voice of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for letting me learn right alongside you.