Thursday

“All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (v. 15)

John 16:12-15 Thursday 31 August 2017

Psalm: Psalm71:1-14


Background

In recent years, some thinkers in the Christian'West' (as opposed to the 'Eastern' or Orthodox Christian world)have begun to ask whether Western Christianity has a less thanfully-developed theology of the Holy Spirit. This may in part bedue to a new engagement with 'Eastern' Christian thinking andspirituality. Part of this thinking has been to ask whether thereis a need to balance some of the ways we understand the Spirit'sactivity as associated with the extraordinary and the episodic witha way of thinking about the presence and work of the Spiritbelonging in the ordinary and everyday.

The Spirit is referred to infrequently in the OldTestament, as a way of pointing to the presence and the power ofGod (eg Exodus 36 where it is seen as inspiring theartist in her work). In the New Testament, in this passage aselsewhere, the Spirit is spoken of in connection with Jesus. Forexample Galatians 4:6 refers to God sending the "Spiritof his Son into our hearts"; and here in John 16 the Spirit oftruth will come from the Father to show us the truth aboutJesus.

Another way of putting this might be to say thatwhat the Spirit does and shapes in the world is Jesus-like. ie thatGod at work in the world as Spirit generates Christ-shaped livesand actions. And if the Church is Spirit-filled, then it will bepointing, in its life and actions, to the possibility ofChrist-shaped life.

'Growing towards Christlikeness' might simply beanother name for the Christian life, in the church and forindividual believers: the work of allowing more and more ofourselves to be exposed to God's transforming grace in our dailychoices and interactions and reflections from minute to minute. Andthis can involve patience and trust. It can also mean regularlywrestling with impatience and disappointment that we don't seem tobe 'getting anywhere'. But likewise, it can offer transfiguringglimpses of everyday living as 'holy ground': the theatre of God'spresence and the place where God is at work for the redeeming ofall things.


To Ponder

  • What has helped you in your understanding of God the HolySpirit?
  • To what extent is 'growing towards Christlikeness' a useful wayof thinking about the Christian life? How would you characterise'Christlikeness'?


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