I grew up in a traditional church where every Sunday at the end of the service, I joined the rest of the congregation in singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. Yet, I had no idea of who the Holy Ghost (another name for the Holy Spirit) was. He seemed, indeed, like a ghost, hiding somewhere in the church. In some mysterious way he was related to God, but I did not think of the Holy Spirit as my personal teacher.
However, in the Gospel of John, Jesus said that that is exactly who the Spirit is for those who follow him. These are his words: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name . . . will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
Over the years, I’ve gradually learned to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice, and I’ve discovered that he is an amazing teacher, wonderful friend, and ever-present helper. It is impossible for us to develop the character of Christ without his assistance.
With his x-ray vision, he sees the abscess of unhealthy thoughts and destructive behaviors that we hide from ourselves and others. A true friend, he loves us enough to speak the truth even when it’s painful for us to hear it. A compassionate physician, he offers help but does not overpower us and force us to comply with his directions. A wise counselor, he does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but he gives us the power to do impossible things.
In my book, Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make, I describe cooperation with the Holy Spirit as a dance and I describe it in this way:
The concept of dancing with God delights me. I call this dance with Jesus “Choosing Grace.” It has two basic steps—grace and responsibility. Grace is God’s step of love toward me. Responsibility is my step of love toward God. Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15:10 MSG).
Choosing grace is about dancing in such a close relationship with Jesus that his nature becomes a part of us, motivating our decisions and empowering our behavioral changes. Here is a clear Biblical statement describing the interaction between grace and responsibility: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12–13 NIV).
My poem, today, is a tribute to the Holy Spirit and an expression of gratitude to Jesus for this wonderful gift.
The Holy Spirit is your gift
He helps me so I do not drift
From the pathway you’ve laid out
Into lanes of fear and doubt
He tells me things I do not know
And he’s patient when I’m slow
Allowing me to try once more—
When my performance has been poor
Never does he leave my side
From his eyes, I cannot hide
For this, I’m thankful everyday—
Here I laugh and here I play
Songs of joy and hymns of praise
Reflecting on your splendid ways
Jesus, you are purest Light
In your presence, I delight
Of your goodness, let me tell
In every virtue, you excel
Beyond measure is your grace
How I long to see your face
Lord, in my remaining days
May what I do reflect your ways
May who I am resemble you
Holy Spirit, keep me true
1/12/2018 Jane Ault
Questions for Reflection
- In your “dance of choosing grace”, which step are you stronger in? receiving grace or accepting responsibility
- If you have difficulty receiving grace, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the barriers might be.
- If you have difficulty accepting responsibility, ask the Holy Spirit to show you who he might have in mind to help you.