In what ways has the Holy Spirit been involved in your life?
When did you last hear a sermon discussing the work of the Spirit?
For many of us, perhaps the Holy Spirit is the most overlooked Person of the Triune God?
In this chapter, Dane Ortlund corrects that imbalance. He first summarizes the orthodox teaching about the work of the Spirit.
And then, wonderfully, he plunges in to show us the ways in which the Spirit awakens us to the reality of Christ’s love for us. As he writes, “the Spirit causes us to actually feel Christ’s heart for us.”
In doing so, Ortlund frees our imagination of the Spirit from the limits of a merely academic or factual understanding - which is necessary and important - to understand in our hearts that the Spirit is a person who relates to us with loving kindness.
Remember, the Spirit is a person. He can be grieved, for example (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30). What would it look like to treat him as such in our actual lives?
This chapter raises the question: as we encounter the Holy Spirit as a person, what does the Spirit communicate to us?
The Spirit simply causes our apprehension of Christ’s heartful love to soar closer to what it actually is.
But the Spirit takes those words of Christ’s and interiorizes them at the level of personal individuality. The Spirit turns the recipe into actual taste.
Paul is saying that the Spirit has been given to us in order that we might know, way down deep, the endless grace of the heart of God.
The Spirit’s role, in summary, is to turn our postcard apprehensions of Christ’s great heart of longing affection for us into an experience of sitting on the beach, in a lawn chair, drink in hand, enjoying the actual experience.
These are wonderful truths!
At the same time, we might ask ourselves whether or not we want the Spirit to do this work in our lives? Are we willing to give up our idols? Are we humble to follow his prompting and guidance? Will we accept the need for change and redirection?
We also might wonder if this is ‘for real.’ In seasons of discouragement or great trial, we might sense the absence of God. How do we navigate the experience that God is not with us when the Scripture tells us of the heartwarming, affectionate love of the Holy Spirit?
Finally, we might consider why it seems that so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are trying to follow God without the aid of the Holy Spirit. (Or why we have made the same mistake!) How did it come to be that we could desire religion without the work of God in our hearts?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this chapter too!
How have you experienced the Spirit’s love in your own heart?
What are the ways you are resistant to a deeper friendship with Christ through the Spirit’s work?