“The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
In a power-culture, where we speak so much about empowering, skills, and success, it’s perhaps inevitable that we would default to thinking of the Holy Spirit in that way, too.
It’s common to hear people speak about the gifts of the Spirit, then read the Book of Acts and point to the signs and wonders He enables. Everybody is attracted to razzamatazz. The spectacular fascinates us. The extraordinary captivates us. But Paul takes us to something far more fundamental.
The first, and arguably the most significant ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives involves founding us in God’s love.
Apart from this foundation, we frequently minister for security rather than minister from security. We find ourselves seeking and needing the affirmation of others. We depend on the approval of others. And when we always need something from others we are never actually positioned to give fully to others. As you might imagine,this diminishes community.
The greatest need of our day is not empowerment, supernatural skills, wisdom, or words. The one thing that undoes many marriages, undermines many congregations, and destroys countless friendships is our insecurity.
We can’t take advice from each other. We’re always needing affirmation. Jealousy, envy, anger, impatience, fear. It all stems from insecurity. Suspicion, cynicism, criticism. It all finds connections with insecurity. Competition, gossip, slander. Yes, these are simply branches from the same stem; insecurity.
In this light, the work of the Holy Spirit to “pour out the love of God in our hearts” may turn out to be the true miracle.
In 1944, Betsie ten Boom and her family were arrested for offering assistance to Jews during the War. At the time of their arrest, the Germans also arrested about 30 Jews in the home.
In June of that year, ten Boom and her sister Corrie were sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, where she would later die. She was a constant source of faith and inspiration for others in the camp. In one particularly dark period for her sister, Betsie said: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”
In that darkest of hours, she did not need extraordinary ability, but extraordinary security. And the Holy Spirit poured it out upon her and within her and through her.
As we start another week of Lent, let’s pray for this above all else, in our lives and the lives of those around us.