If you’re looking for a light read, pick up a copy of FORGOTTEN GOD: REVERSING THE TRAGIC NEGLECT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT by Francis Chan. No, I’m not intentionally trying to be sarcastic or facetious by calling it a “light read;” I added up the amount of time it took for me to read this book cover to cover, and it came to about five hours total reading time. While that may be a sizable time commitment for some, given some of the other books I have read, five hours is a comparative walk in the park. Additionally, the contents of the book itself is kind of…light…given the subject matter. Granted, the author stated time and again that he was not going to take a polarizing or intentionally controversial stance one way or the other regarding the interpretation of the Holy Spirit (which, for some, may in fact be polarizing or intentionally controversial) but instead to give a broad interpretation of Who and What the Holy Spirit is.
Right now, I’m sure that someone’s head is spinning as they try to internalize or even diagram the above sentence. Trust me: to some people, it’ll make sense. If it doesn’t to you, just relax, take a sip of hot cocoa, and chill.
Anyway, I came not to praise or to bury FORGOTTEN GOD. It is what it is (and yes: it does contain some pretty cool ideas and original thoughts). Instead, I just wanted to make note of some moderately cool synchronicity on the part of this “God” individual.
I’ve been recently transcribing, going through, and editing quite a bit of what I have written down in the various journals scattered throughout the house, prepping them for…something…to come. I was making note of the subjects covered, the rants contained, and the deep-ish thoughts buried beneath the scribbles when I noted that – funny enough – this particular entry struck a moderately resonate chord with FORGOTTEN GOD…even though it was written almost four and half years ago. What on earth precipitated me writing this on New Year’s Eve in 2005, I couldn’t tell ya. But, here’s the original content, unedited version.
When we talk about “the presence of God,” do we really know or understand that the Presence we are referring to is the omnipresent Spirit of God?
I don’t think that I ever did – at least, not until early this morning.
We always associate God’s presence with something positive; we will comment on how God’s Presence, His Spirit, is with us when we worship at church, when we’re in prayer, or in times of trouble. When we need comfort, just as Jesus promised, there is a Great Comforter available.
As for me, I sometimes think of the Holy Spirit as a totally separate (yet still undescribed or vague) part of the Trinity. That It is here to report back TO God, or to be some kind of glue that holds believers together, but have I ever really wrapped my mind around the fact that this is Spirit of God? That this is not some undefined “spirit” that is nothing but ethereal and has no real great place in the food chain of heaven?
This is God’s Holy Spirit. God’s Just as Christ and God are One, so is the Spirit: the three are truly One. One thought. One insight. One mind. One everything.
When David asked “Where can I go from Your Spirit,” this was not a question of someone asking out of shame HOW to hide, but instead is it even possible TO hide?
And if God is indeed omnipresent, then that means He is here, via His Spirit, at all times.
Even when we sin. In the midst of the sin, God is there.
For example: when you start to tell a lie, even as the lie is formulating in your mind, God is there: in your mind, your mouth, heart, and even standing between you and the person you are lying to.
God is always there, permeating through you as you commit any and all acts. You may not be aware of Him, or more likely, you may consciously choose to ignore Him, but He is there.
It’s not as if when you confess a sin that burns your soul that God is surprised by what you’re telling Him. He already knows about it, because He was there. You’re not confessing to Him to tell him ABOUT the act, but instead to own up to it. To tell Him, “Yes: I am aware of what I have done against me, against You, and probably against quite a few other people.”
No barriers ever exist between you and God. None. Ever. It is the ultimate in an open and honest relationship. God wasn’t surprised by the acts committed in the Garden of Eden: He was there, physically and spiritually, communing and in relationship with Adam and Eve just as He is today.
Our senses have just dulled to His Presence. God has been reduced to the white noise in the background of everyday life. And we let it happen. He has promised that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His presence, his communal nature, hasn’t changed since the time he first welcomed us as a species to the planet.
We’ve changed. It’s the most extreme example of “It’s not You; it’s me” in a bad relationship that could ever be presented.
This is one of the reasons why the act of redemption feels so cool. When your sin is forgiven, you reconnect with God’s Spirit in such an open manner that it defies words. Nothing separates us, just as is stated in the Bible. You do not repent and then the Spirit is invited in; you acknowledge the presence of God that you have ignored or brushed aside, and recognize where He is at work in your life. And in that moment, your soul remembers this divine joy, this divine connection, this communion with the Creator.
It is the reason why it extends beyond an emotional high, why you feel grounded when it happens, and why you feel a welcoming, as if you’re not leaving behind anything but instead coming home.
It is the ultimate shared experience.
It is the ultimate racial memory.
It is. It simply is. Just as God is I AM, this simply…is.