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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Holy Spirit.
I was one of those people who understood intellectually that the Holy Spirit was a person, but for all intents and purposes continued to regard Him as an "it" - well, to be properly reverent I suppose, I regarded Him as the It (note the capital...)

Now, pride is funny, and I mention that at this point because the largest part of me desires to portray myself as an altogether guy - a guy who "gets it" - and like a knight going into battle, I want my armor to be pristine - that is, without holes. So my pride desires that I always present myself to the public world in the best light. If I am struggling with something spiritual, I mustn't mention it, or I will look like a "spiritual newbie" (gasp~!) and surely, whatever respect I have earned by my mighty show of spirituality will dissolve, leaving me as the fool amongst my peers.

Then, because pride is a pendulum, it swings the other way, and says, if you are going to open up, go all the way, impress and silence them with your bold humility.

Truly, pride is as controlling as it is ugly, as it is deceitful.

So I will toss caution to the wind because frankly, it is 4:30 a.m., I am awake with my thoughts, and I am having one of those all too rare times where I really don't care how I am perceived. What I have to say would only be polluted if I worried about my own image.

Scripture describes Him as our Helper and our Counselor. Because my mindset routinely and clandestinely regards Him as an It, it is my natural habit to presume the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life is passive. Now, when I say passive, I mean that I understand that while He is active, doing whatever He does - my role (in His ministry) is passive, that is, I am the recipient of His ministry - He ministers to me.

That isn't wrong, per se, but it also isn't complete. He is certainly ministering to you and I regardless of our own input - He is (after all) our Helper, and we therefore receive His help, because God is merciful, generous, and full of grace, and like a loving Parent nutures His children, He ministers to us in the person of the Holy Spirit whether we understand it or not. In that sense, His help is passive.

But I have been neglect in praying to the Holy Spirit for counsel.

Now, I am not talking about a sort of spiritual tomfoolery that looks to God the Holy Spirit as being involved in providing mystical instruction, as though I asked a question and waited for some "impression." That sort of buffoonery is pure flummery to me, and beneath contempt. Yet I am talking about the Holy Spirit's ministry to me.

If you were asked, "What is the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life; that is, more than 'Why did Jesus (and God the Father) send the Holy Spirit to you?' but also, 'How is the Holy Spirit doing this in your life?'" what would you answer?

If you are like me, you would probably answer the standard knee-jerk verse or two that gave a nice proof-text answer to the question (such as John 14:26 or John 16:7-10). You would say something like "He helps me by teaching me things; He brings things to my remembrance, He convicts me of sin, and righteousness and judgment" - and you would say these things whether you were actually experiencing them or not, because you know that is the "right" answer. Does that make me a good Christian or a good religionist? It makes me a Pharisee - trained to parrot the right answer, whether I am living it or not.

Not that some denomination trained me to be that way, but my own pride has trained me thus - though subtly. Pride does that. By giving the textbook answer, I imply that I am receiving all that is to be received already - I am, after all, a "Christian" - ergo: I am being ministered to by the Holy Spirit in all His fullness.

But that is dishonest.

Since I came to the Lord the Holy Spirit has patiently and passively ministered to me. He has helped me whether I asked for it or not. In this sense, the Holy Spirit has been an "It" to me and not a "Him." Not that I suddenly forgot that the Holy Spirit was a person and a "Him" - my intellectual orthodoxy could never permit such a breach. I regarded the Holy Spirit as being there of course, and doing things like convicting me of sin, and righteousness etc. But really, He was quite impersonal. I didn't really know the Holy Spirit, and that is what this post is about.

You see, He is --MY-- Counselor. Jesus sent Him to me to counsel me. In ignoring that role, I abuse my own faith.

It seems to me perfect idiocy to ignore this important ministry in my life. Have I really asked the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to why I sin? Have I really asked Him to show me how ugly my sin is? To convince me in my heart that I am as wretched as God's word says that I am. Have I asked Him to show me and prove to me that I cannot please God? Oh, I know in my intellect these things are so, but I would be truly a fool to imagine that this is the same as believing them. It is the Holy Spirit's ministry to convict me of sin. Not just to convince me "that I sin," - surely, I am convinced of that. I need more than an intellectual persuasion, I need a heartfelt conviction about sin.

When I say that I am not talking about asking the Holy Spirit to help me notice when I am sinning. I am not talking about asking the Holy Spirit to help me stop sinning. What I am talking about is asking the Holy Spirit to show me why I sin. Show me that I am incurable. Show me that there is no answer to sin but the cross of Christ. Show me with judgment day clarity how wicked the self is, that I will confess with God that it belongs on the cross. I cannot accept myself on the cross until I agree with God that I belong there - and I don't care what anyone thinks about it - no one is willing to go to the cross until they believe they belong there, and no one believes it unless the Holy Spirit takes them there - and the Holy Spirit doesn't drag people there passively. You will never receive the pearl that is cast so long as you remain in the mire among the swine.

Come to the Holy Spirit in prayer and beg Him to convince you that you are really a sinner. Beg Him to prepare you for the cross, you need to understand that the you that resists God deserves to die, in fact, you must be at the place where you are willing to go to the cross. Jesus took that old self of yours there already - but this truth doesn't help you with your sin, until you are -united- in that death. Unless we go down into the grave with Christ we remain in the bondage of sin. We cannot crucify ourselves, Christ was crucified - we must reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive to God. To some of you reading that might just sound like the verse, but it become LIFE when you truly understand it.

Many of us have traded Christianity for religion - we banter back and forth about Calvinism, Arminianism, the nature of the gospel, etc. Spinning our spiritual wheels in the mire of religion and religious and even spiritual talk. We pass little shiny trinkets of wisdom between ourselves, and admire the sunsets together. Our religion is a "dog and pony show" designed to keep us busy so that we never actually get around to taking up our cross daily.

Oh man. What a waste. What a miserable waste. People, make up your minds today to talk to God the Holy Spirit. Why Him? Because He was sent for this ministry in particular - to minister to you, help you and counsel you while you are here on Earth. Pray to Him, He is a person, ask Him to show you the truth about yourself. Ask Him to open your eyes to sin for real. Not that game we play where we want to see our sin so that we can "confess and repent" and feel like we are all squared up with God - no, I am talking about setting your mind singularly on the cross of Christ, and your pathetic need to be there. The reason your Christian life is such a failure right now is because you...are not..willing...to...die. The reason you are not willing is because contrary to whatever your intellect may accept, deep down you don't feel you deserve it. You are a rebel, dear sinner, and you are helpless - utterly helpless to change that. Only the Holy Spirit can take you there, bring you to the real end of yourself - not just some tears in your prayer place - but the willingness to give it all up - all of it.

Oh, brother, oh sister - you know in your heart the one call that has been there since you gave your life to Christ - surrender. You also know that you have never done it, and that you cannot do it no matter how hard you try. Won't you turn today? Commit yourself even now to talk to the Holy Spirit as a Person. Talk to Him as your Counselor - YOUR Counselor. Jesus sent Him to counsel you in this matter. Find out why you continue to sin. Find out why you refuse to go to the cross, let Him lead you into all truth, because it is that truth that sets you free.


posted by Daniel @ 4:17 AM  
6 Comments:
  • At 9:41 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    This is where I've been the past year, struggling with submission to Him. Not obedience, but submission, which must come first in my mind. Or maybe they're simultaneous, but I myself can't really obey Him until I submit, and I've been desperately holding onto self and sinking all the while.
    I'm not a "newbie" Christian either. I was raised in a Christian environment (not really a practicing Christian home), but didn't commit myself to Him until about five or six years ago and dived into the deep end. I couldn't get enough. Studying my Bible and reading it over and over. Commentaries, Bible studies, books, books, books...
    But early last year, I started slipping away. And it annoyed me to no end. Was my love for Him just "feelings" and nothing more? So fickle are our hearts!
    I pleaded with Him to fill my heart with love for Him again, but as you wrote in an earlier post, I wasn't broken and empty so as to give Him room.
    Interestingly, some others from our church were going through the same struggles last year. At a Bible study one night, as we were talking about it, one woman remarked, "No, you're not baby Christians. Sounds more like teenage Christians - you know the Truth, but you don't want to obey. You don't want to let go of what you want for Him. You want what you want."
    Zing. Straight to the heart of the matter, as your post does.
    Thank you.
    God is so graciously drawing me back. And I know it's His doing. Nothing in myself can do this. Nothing.
    I don't want to fight back and forth about Calvinism, Arminianism, and all the -isms out there.
    But I must say, the sovereignty of God is something on which I take joy in falling upon. I can rest there. Many Scriptures take on greater depth of meaning to my soul knowing His control extends even to me - if I am willing.

     
  • At 10:58 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    Incidentally, I'm thinking as of late that we need to be praying for our brothers and sisters who we 'meet' on the Internet, especially those with whom we disagree. And those who may seem to be pointing fingers and speaking in somewhat inflammatory tones. I'm not saying everybody has to agree about everything, but I think instead of intellectualizing (like good "religionists"), we need to be praying for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. I think if each one of us did that for one another, we'd see the tone on the websites change.

     
  • At 3:05 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said…

    Daniel, are you saying we should pray to the Holy Spirit? Is that Scriptural?

    God Bless

    Matthew

     
  • At 5:07 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Matthew, Yes I am saying that. The Holy Spirit is as much God as Jesus or God the Father. It is very appropriate for a Christian to pray to God.

    I see no reason to imagine that it is anything but scriptural to pray to any member of the Trinity (providing of course that that all members in the Trinity are in fact, equally God.)

     
  • At 9:05 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Good thoughts Daniel, I have been feeling some of those very same ones. We do forget that the Holy Spirit actually resides within our spirits and is yearning to minister life and healing. Hallelujah, our Lord is one God. We have the triune God residing within us. Talk about a treasure in earthen vessels!

    The more we taste the riches of Christ, the more we will desire to fully surrender and walk by the Spirit in full obedience.

     
  • At 4:02 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger marc said…

    Daniel and Matthew,

    I've found John Owen's "Communion with God" to be a wonderful instruction on how to fellowship and pray with each member of the Trinity. The Banner of Truth Puritan Paperback version edited by RJK Law is a good place to start. Just a thought.

     
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