Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father... I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:8-9; 16-17; 26)
The Holy Spirit is a special gift from our Heavenly Father that is unlike any other gift. He pours himself into us (Spirit baptism) when we recognize him as God of our lives and accept his grace in Jesus Christ our Savior. The Spirit changes us and marks us with his presence. He shares himself with each of us in a more intimate way than a man and a woman could ever know together. He knows and sees every bit of us and loves each of us completely.
Like a husband and wife who have been together over a lifetime and have grown to look like each other, finish each other sentences and just enjoy the silent company of each other – our relationship with God grows over time and through interaction with his Spirit in prayer, meditating on His Word, and in giving of ourselves in helping others. We begin to exhibit Christ-like behavior, to truly know God’s word, not just by rote, but as if finishing his sentences, and we find ourselves longing for and enjoying those quiet moments alone in his presence.
This is not an overnight occurrence, but a lifelong process. Spirit baptism is the birth of our spiritual beings brought to life by the Breath of God which then flourishes into a lifetime of growth, education, and transformation occurring in the rhythmic ebb and flow of everyday life. His character influences our character. His desires grow to be our desires. If we are to have the relationship God desires us to have with him, we must seek to be with him daily and allow the relationship to form and develop over time. We can’t force it, rush it, or bypass the parts we don’t like. God designed the process and we need to trust him even when we find ourselves questioning his wisdom. We must give to him what we would want to take control of in our own effort to hasten the results.
I find this to be a great comfort on those days when I feel like I haven't been doing my part, pulling my weight in the relationship, so to speak. God created me. He knows me. He sees me – weaknesses and all, and he loves me still. His patience is unending and his determination to walk with me again in the garden is stronger than all of my Irish stubborness, Itailian temper and human arrogance put together. His grace and love has already triumphed over my sinfulness. All that remains to be done is to learn to live into the victory with him day by day.
About the pictures:
Pittsburgh, PA (June 2010)