We have probably all sung a hymn or worship song at church, or have prayed a prayer, or have heard a pastor or church leaders pray for the working of the Holy Spirit in your church or in your person. We do this because we have been asked to do so. We know that the Holy Spirit is god, and is currently not just with us, but IN us as a gift from the Father because of the work of Jesus on the cross. As mature believers, we crave the Holy Spirit working, and seeing Him perform in big or small ways. Even when the work is not in us as individuals, our Spirits are encouraged, and God is glorified just because we see Him work.
I wrote not too long ago about expectancy. It seems that in the Christian church today, at least from an American perspective, we have lost the expectation that the Holy Spirit will work in our lives and churches. As stated then and I'll reiterate now; much of this lack of expectancy is due to lack of maturity and lack of faith. We do not expect the Holy Spirit to work, because we do not know what the Holy Spirit does, or what He is supposed to be doing in our lives and churches.
Part of that falls at the feet of today's pastors. Their flocks are not taught exegetically (work foe word through the scriptures, expounding on each word or verse to better explain its meaning in context, as well as in the big picture), but rather topically, and that often allows the pastor to set the Spiritual agenda for the church, and not God Himself. Therefore, the congregation, not being well versed in the Holy Spirit, His gifts (that yes, are still alive and for today), and His purpose, they do not see the Holy Spirit working, even though He already is. But another reason that we touched on as well, and that was a lack of individual faith. While I did explain that in some detail, this lack of faith often comes from lack of maturity as a believer. We must combine these two areas, and never lay the bulk of the blame on one side or the other.
Today, I just wanted to share on one more thing regarding the Holy Spirit and Him working in us and the church before I move on. Holy Spirit finger pointing.
As Spirit-filled believers, we must remember the old adage of, 'when you point a finger at someone else, there are always at least three pointing at you.' You're probably doing it right now; pointing your finger in the direction of something near you just so you can see those other three little digits pointing back at you. Yes, it's still true, when you point one finger at someone, three point back at you. Don't be a Holy Spirit finger pointer. It makes you look bad.
I have had people visit the church where I am blessed to pastor and leave because the Spirit "wasn't there". My reply: "Than you must not be a believer because the Holy Spirit lives in us as individuals, not in buildings". Cold hearted, perhaps. Unloving? Let's just call it a 'scared straight' tactic. I make such a comment in love, but in extreme to show people how wrong they are about the Holy Spirit in the way that think that He must work.
Because you have not been personally moved by something, does not mean that the Holy Spirit is lacking. On the flip-side of that same token, just because you are personally moved, does not mean the Holy Spirit WAS working. For way too many of us, we lack in spiritual encouragement because the Holy Spirit is trying to work, but we push Him away with a hard heart.
Someone commented recently that it is nice to see the Holy Spirit softening hearts. And it is. But it would be a lot nicer if we would simply let Him! We get so frustrated with life, and busy with work, or upset with other people that these 'things' build up a Holy Spirit repellant in our lives. Our hearts become to God like bad breath is to close friends: They'll still talk to you, they still love you, but they just don't want to get that close. God tries desperately to work in us and with us, and we reject that work because we are 'too busy', or because 'that person doesn't or would never understand', or because 'it doesn't work that way'. Three words of advice: Get over yourself! We all need to get to the point where we live, realizing that our life is not our own! As a born again believers, we have been purchase by Jesus, so why not act like we are sold out for Christ? After all, we are.
Here's my main point in all this: if you do not see the workings of the Holy Spirit in your life and in your church, don't be a Holy Spirit finger pointer. The first place you need to look is in your heart! Are you open to God coming in there and cleaning things up a bit? Are you open to allowing god full access to change whatever herbage may be in that heart? Are you going to allow God to totally break your fleshly heart, smash it to small pieces and re-arrange them in the Spirit? Cause of not, remember, there are three fingers still pointing at you!
The Holy Spirit is alive in you. Let Him work through you, in your life and in your church. If each of us as individuals lived with this sort of expectation, imagine what our churches would look like? They'd look like houses where people live that actually LOVE ONE ANOTHER! And that my friends, could change the world. But is has to start with YOU. Open your heart, and allow the Spirit to lead, guide and provide. God doesn't need you to be valuable to be used, He just needs you to be available and willing to be used!