Being Open to the Spirit

When we think of being a Spirit-filled church, images of emotionalism, people rolling on the floor, speaking in tongues, dancing in the sanctuary, and the like may come to mind. It is easy to be skeptical. It’s easy to dismiss.

It’s also easy to regulate the workings of the Holy Spirit to a safe, rational, and controllable understanding. It’s easy to close down the freedom of the Spirit and hinder certain spiritual gifts. 

Even so, our task is to be open to the Spirit and the gifts. Our calling is to discern where the Spirit is moving and to join in. We join the dance of the Trinity and extend love to the world. 

Being open to the Spirit involves putting aside our fears of the chaos the Spirit might cause in our peaceful and controlled lives.  

Growing up, my fear of committing to full-time ministry was that the Spirit would send me to Africa. The irony of that is that every one of us is already a full-time minister because God calls all believers to be witnesses to His kingdom. We all, as we are going, wherever we are, are to be making disciples.  

Clark Pinnock writes, “God justifies and saves individuals only to give them a vocation in the service of the kingdom. He awakens a knowledge of truth in people in order to conscript them into the service of mission.”  

We cannot live as if we have no mission because we do have a mission.  Thus, the question before us becomes a question of trust. Will we trust God? Do we trust God?

Our God is not a “God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).

Knowing who God is, we can lay aside our fears and trust in a God who loves us and whose love is being poured “into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

Then, as an act of trust, we put aside our will in respect for the mission at hand.  

We willingly give up our will into attentiveness and responsiveness to the Spirit’s presence and activity.  

May we willingly lay aside our own will and follow God. May we join the dance and trust in the movement of God’s Spirit. 


Being Open to the Spirit