(unless God “re-directs” me and I clue in to that)
So, I’m finishing off my project application as we speak, and I come to the ubiquitous question:
What is your understanding of the Spirit-filled life?
I’ve come to realize that project directors never read these answers (I think) – only Susan dos Santos does. I’ve slept in her office, btw (sorry, I can’t help mentioning that every time her name come up – don’t worry, it was a Spring retreat in the office and she wasn’t even there). So anyways, I decided to blog this answer down, because I want it to be
immortalized kept somewhere useful.
God sent the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Counselor, because unless we abide in Christ (i.e. in a love relationship with God), we will not experience God’s growth in our lives. In other words, the Spirit-filled life is a relationship with God where you are depending on Him (e.g. by asking to be directed and empowered by His Holy Spirit) and submitting to Him (by willingly surrendering yourself to Him and confessing your sin & sinfulness to Him). The alternative to the Spirit-filled life is to live on your own strength or to live for your own sinful desires.
The Spirit-filled life is lived by faith and dependence in God, but it is backed up by iniative, desire, and action in obedience to God. As 2 Peter 1 explains to us, we are to “make every effort” to supplement our faith with character qualities that will keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In other words, please don’t think that the Spirit-filled life is about following the spiritual breathing formula, or doing steps #1 through 3 (surrender, confess, ask to be filled), because really, that’s like saying loving your wife is about “going through the motions” of doing loving things, but if you’re not sincere, then you don’t have a good, connected, intimate (sounds kind of cheesy) relationship with her. Also, if you just buy her flowers but aren’t willing to take out the trash, or hold your tongue when she annoys you, then that’s just like asking God to direct and empower you by His Spirit and then not being willing to get up and get to class on time when your alarm clock goes off (because you’re too darned lazy). Or, in my case, getting into the lab.
But hey, if you’re not even asking God on a daily basis to be your strength and guide you by His Holy Spirit, maybe you should start by doing that, first. Asking shows desire. And God wants desire. (though Calvinists and Arminians will probably argue about to what extent God is responsible for the desire in your heart – I say as long as we ARE desiring God, then… well, that’s good enough for now)
Whoa, this blog post turned long. Stay tuned for (hopefully) more blog posts in the coming days.
Finally, go to Waterloo – http://sfu.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8303291006 – I think we could really use more students helping to drive innovation for the campus ministry (the Facebook group is looking a little sparsely populated). But honestly, why wouldn’t you want to join a project with such a cool promo card as this?
P.S. Deciding to choose Waterloo Project (or “LooP”) over NAP was a lot tougher than I’d thought it’d be. I think it’s because I needed to sort out why I wanted to go to LooP, and what I thought could really happen there, ministry and experience-wise.