When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to mind? We have a variety of answers depending on what branch of theology you come from or currently reside. I don’t think that the theology of the Holy Spirit is as complex as we think He is. I think some of it has to do with denominational standards and pendulum swinging.
What do I mean by those two concepts? Well, denominational standards are the set of theological ideals that a denomination promotes. If you deviate from that in some way, you will be sent off the farm. There are a lot of circumstances when this could happen. I am not advocating for every individual to have their own set of theological doctrines. At the same time, there are certain things that are concrete about the Holy Spirit, and other doctrines, which if you do not agree with, you will not be accepted by that denomination.
The second issue we have with the theology of the Holy Spirit, which happens a lot in American Christianity, is pendulum swinging. This is where one group, theologian, or Christian sees that someone has gone away from the truth, and instead of bringing the pendulum back to the center, which is Scripture, they swing it to the opposite side creating more theological error. This seems to have happened more with the Holy Spirit than any other doctrine.
One area misconstrued concerning the Holy Spirit is in how He functions in concerns to the individual Christian. First, it is true that the Holy Spirit does lead us individually as Christians. He does speak to us. He doesn’t always speak in Bible language, but does point us to specific things to do at specific times.
The issue that I have regarding this is that many people misrepresent the Holy Spirit with laziness. What do I mean by that? Some have taken the Holy Spirit’s leading to mean that the Holy Spirit speaks directly to them and is a stand-alone person.
Here’s what we need to remember. First, the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and therefore functions within the Trinity. What does this mean? It means that the Holy Spirit will never call you to do something that God and Jesus would not call you to do. It means that part of His work is pointing you to Jesus. I think that this concept is basic for most people.
Second, we need to remember that the Trinity and Scripture are in step with each other. John 1:1-14 teaches us that “the Word” which is Scripture, and Jesus are one in the same. Now by that I don’t mean that they are to be worshipped the same, but that they never will contradict each other.
What does this have to do with the Holy Spirit and laziness? Too often I run into Christians from a variety of denominations, who use the Holy Spirit for an excuse for laziness. Instead of digging into God’s Word when it speaks to something, they say, “The Spirit led me to do x” or “leads me not to do x.” How can I tell that this is not always true? Because there are times people do things they say that the Spirit led them to do which are against Scripture.
Now I want you to understand this isn’t Christianity’s only issue. I realize that people do the same thing in the name of Jesus. Others do it in the name of their denominational or religious expectations. But the Holy Spirit is the topic at hand.
My contention is that sometimes people use the Spirit as a form of laziness. It’s easy to say all of the time that the Spirit led you to do something. My question is, have you studied God’s Word? Have you used your mind?
Now some Christians say that people become lead away from God by their minds. This is true to some extent. There are times when we call truth a lie, and a lie the truth. We can think that we are being logical, and actually be against God’s decrees. That does not mean that we shouldn’t use our minds. In fact, I believe that logic is created by God and is universal, and can be used for His glory. You can read about that here.
How do I know that the Holy Spirit isn’t Someone who works just by a “feeling.” I know that because I know He works through our minds as well. Romans 8:5-8 is the passage I am specifically referring to. In this section which talks about “the Spirit of God.” It talks about the “mind” five times in this short passage.
This passage speaks to the fact that we have to have our “minds” set on the Spirit. Our minds are to be thinking and processing the things of God. In order for us to do that we need to know those things, which we do through Scripture.
I want to say that this does not mean that the Holy Spirit directly connects everything He guides us to to a specific passage of Scripture. There are times when He uses God’s general attributes of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, and spurs our hearts to give those things to others.
At the same time, we need to make sure that we know Scripture to know what God wants of us and others in detail. Don’t attempt to use the Holy Spirit as laziness for not studying the Word. He is one with the Word. He gives us the Word to know how to live the Christian life. The Christian life involves studying God’s Word, which takes work (2 Timothy 2:15).
We need to make sure that we are studying, and thinking through the passages of Scripture. Know that the Holy Spirit works in our minds just like He does our hearts. Don’t neglect studying Scripture and be lazy, saying that the Holy Spirit works through your heart alone. He is more complex than that.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.