I have talked over the last two weeks about love as God loves, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding. We now come to Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The difficulty of this passage is that there was a physical manifestation of the Spirit, fire and wind. Then there is speaking in tongues. It is a great image, but can lead people to ask, ‘If I did not see flames, or feel the wind, or see a dove, and if I do not speak in tongues, have I received the Holy Spirit?’
How do we know we have received the Holy Spirit? How can we tell the people who have received the Holy Spirit?
Even Jesus says in verse 17, ‘The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.’ I believe this can lead to many living a faith feeling inadequate, unworthy, or incomplete in their faith.
We see Philip ask Jesus to show them the Father. Philip believes that this physical proof will complete them. Jesus’ response is to talk about his actions (v9-11). In all he has done, he has reflected the Father.
Jesus says they can be like him, and that, ‘… whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these,’
It is not just their belief, it is the Holy Spirit because, ‘… he lives with you and will be in you.’ (v17) The Holy Spirit ‘… will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’ (v26)
Many talk about the conscience. I talk about the Holy Spirit. The small voice in our head that tells us not to do something. There are those who do not hear a voice, and some who hear it, but ignore it.
We can do what Jesus did, be kind, honest, caring and I believe that God is there in those choices. For me though, to live Jesus’ way is to know I cannot do it Jesus’ way unless I do it with Jesus, and that means with the Holy Spirit.
No one can prove that you have the Holy Spirit, It is about giving ourselves over to want the Holy Spirit, and then to live trusting that when we ask for God’s guidance we will hear God in our hearts and minds because the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s will to us.
Like any relationship it takes time to hear and understand how God speaks to us. It requires us to let go of the control and to allow the Holy Spirit to work.