So last Sunday night, we are at church and singing this song, I’m usually a bit allergic to songs that invite God round and tell him he’s welcome and offer him Victoria sandwich and a cup of tea. As if you would. As if. Still this is alright.
I remember once that a girl told me that she never sang songs about inviting the Holy Spirit to meetings and asking him to overwhelm us and fill us and things – just in case the Holy Spirit took up the invite. She told me that the last thing she wanted was the meeting to be all full of “happenings” and people falling over and BOOM – Benny Hinn’s your uncle. You get the idea. Because of this, she didn’t really bother much with the Holy Spirit.
Now that’s an opinion you may or may not agree with. If I’m brutally honest, I have to say that I have been in meetings when I can hear Mrs Sketchley’s voice rising an octave and I know we are going to be there an extra half an hour because that seems the polite thing to do, although really most people would be happier if we just put it to bed and went home. However, I think it is also essential to give the Holy Spirit some elbow room in our meetings and supply an atmosphere which allows receptive listening to anything God is trying to say.
I think what is even more important is that this approach to the Holy Spirit sells him a bit short. It’s all about much more than bouncy, singy meetings. Being overwhelmed by the Spirit is about much more than Sunday at Seven and lying down. I think that we need to be overwhelmed to function as any kind of half decent Christian. Left to my own devices, I will never be kind enough, or love enough or have enough self-control. Yet they are fruits of the Spirit and only with enough Spirit in me, will I begin to show them. So even if you struggle with what someone with a stern face once called the “new performance culture around the Holy Spirit” Christians need the Holy Spirit – on Mondays, when work is making you entertain axe-murderer fantasies, On Wednesdays, when that woman won’t get off the phone and on Thursday night when sleep won’t come because you are so worried. Without the intervention of the Spirit – even in the most undramatic way – I know I have no chance of living the God filled life.
- Galatians 5:22-24
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.