June 9 :
One of the important things to realize when thinking about healthy inter-personal relationships is that spirit can unite with spirit in love without losing its own identity. One person bonds with another without seeking to dominate or to smother the other. When Jesus said to his disciples, “Abide in me as I abide in you”, they were being invited to express the Spirit of Christ within them through their own personalities and life situations. Each one of us has our own way of being Christ to our neighbour. Similarly, when Jesus said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” he was referring to the fact that God the Father was being expressed through his personality, character and beliefs, with his cultural and historic roots – through him as a unique individual. So it is with the Holy Spirit – the Counsellor, Advocate, Friend and Helper that abides with all who love Jesus and keep his commandments. God’s Spirit makes the divine power and presence a living reality, influences our attitude and activity, helps us to pray and to worship, prompts us to bear witness to what God has done in Jesus and is doing in the world, but not in such a way as to over-ride our intelligence or personality. It is significant that in Acts 2 we are told that the on-lookers heard the Gospel in their own native language. That’s the way it always is. The Spirit of God speaks to each of us in our own language, and since language is intimately related to history and culture that means that God’s Spirit speaks to us as we are in our particular life situation. God speaks to Swahili-speaking people in Swahili and to Italian speaking people in Italian as God speaks to English-speaking people in English, and even to Australians with an Australian accent. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a take-over and colonization of our spirits, but rather it is God’s Spirit and our spirits working together in harmony to fulfil God’s purposes in and through us.
- Why is it important to understand that, in healthy inter-personal relationships, there is a spiritual bonding where neither person tries to dominate or to suffocate the other?
- Why is it important to recognize that the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives does not override our own intelligence or personality?
- What is meant by saying that the Spirit of God speaks to each of us in our own particular language and life situation? Does this mean that God says different thing to different people?
- What purposes may God seek to be working in and through you?