In CS Lewis’ classic, “The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe”, four children end up in a land called Narnia. They hear word of the Lion King named Aslan (Lewis’ Christ-figure). One of the children asks – “Is he safe?” The response of one of the citizens of Narnia is:
Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
A discussion I was part of last night centered around the Holy Spirit and why so often churches shy away from teaching about and living by the power of the Holy Spirit (there was some debate about whether that premise was really true, but not much). For the most part we realized that we tend to keep our distance from the power and movement of the Spirit of God – because, while we know God to be good, He is not safe.
Look at the story of the early church and their desire for and encounter with the Untamed Spirit of God:
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
To allow the Spirit to take hold of us and move us we must be willing to give up control, give up our plans, and be ready to go to places and do things we would never choose to do otherwise. When we live in the Spirit of God we move out of the bubble of safe living and into the spiritual frontiers where the path is not yet established. The place where we live is “shaken”.
I think we love the Spirit of God when it is described to us as “Comforter” and “Teacher” and “Guide”. Those are images of the Spirit of God that we can easily incorporate into our daily lives. But, to truly engage with the Spirit of God is to give ourselves over to a life that isn’t safe – but it is good.
Do you ever find yourself scared of what it would mean to allow the Spirit to move more powerfully in your life?
Are you ready to pray like those early followers of Jesus?
Holy high-five to you,