At church last week, the pastor preached about being filled with the Holy Spirit. I am in a bit of a hurry, so here are some thoughts:
A. The pastor was saying that a barrier many Christians have when it
comes to being filled with the Holy Spirit is that there are a lot of
other interests and preoccupations taking up space in their hearts. A
question that enters my mind when I hear this is: “Okay, so are you
saying we need to be totally occupied with religion?”
I wonder the same thing when I read the Bhagavad Gita, As It Is,
as Swami Prabhupada’s commentary encourages people to be totally
occupied with Krishna. At the same time, the Swami also says that we
can go about our daily lives, doing our daily tasks, and yet we can and
should be doing those things in a state of Krishna-consciousness. That
may have been what Paul was getting at when he said: “Whether therefore
ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I
Corinthians 10:31). (Paul, though, was talking about the biblical God,
The pastor was probably talking about focus: we should put more focus
on God. Perhaps one can be conscious of God and one’s identity in God,
though, while paying attention to other things.
B. The pastor was saying that, when we are filled with the Holy
Spirit, others will look at us and see something that they want and thus
will become Christians.
The question in my mind is: “Do I look at Christians and see anything in them that I want?”
Here, I am not talking about hypocritical Christians, but those who sincerely believe and try to walk the walk that they talk.
Well, I can look at other people, Christian and non-Christian, and
see things that I want in terms of personal characteristics. I wish my
social skills were better, for example.
Looking at Christians specifically, I can admire their joy. That
does not necessarily make me want to be like them, however. I know a
Christian who is enthusiastic about the Lord, for example, and that
gives him joy and peace through life. But he is also somewhat of a
zealot, and he is very dogmatic. I doubt that he has even thought much
about, say, what someone with a homosexual orientation goes through. I
wish this Christian well, but I cannot say that I want to be like him.
And that’s not necessarily a horrible thing: I am where I am, similarly,
and I do not expect people to want to be like me.
C. I guess what I am saying in (B.) is that there is a part of me
that considers Christian joy to be an uninformed joy, or a joy that
comes with tunnel-vision. The pastor, though, was emphasizing that the
Holy Spirit gives us wisdom.
I struggle with that, albeit for other reasons than what I mentioned
in (B.). I can look back at foolish decisions I made, and I do not
recall the Holy Spirit attempting to dissuade me from those foolish
decisions. Some may say that he was and I was not listening!
Actually, even now, when I look inside of me, all that I see is
myself, rather than some other voice speaking to me and guiding me.
There’s just me in there! Nobody else is home! Or so it feels.
D. The pastor was exhorting people to be patient with God. God may
be waiting until we are ready before God fills us with God’s Holy
Spirit. Maybe foolish decisions can make one receptive to the Holy
Spirit: the pastor indirectly refers to foolish decisions that he made.
The pastor also talked about the importance of prayer that includes
praise, not just requests, and Bible reading that seeks understanding
rather than simply plowing through verses.