We have talked about God, the Father in ‘Reverent or Irrelevant: Have we lost respect for God?’ We’ve addressed God, the Son in Jesus is NOT my homeboy. But before we move in to a different subject, there is One more that we’ve not yet mentioned. Yes, another God that seems to be quite mysterious. Is the Holy Spirit really the ‘Forgotten God’?
In 2009, Francis Chan published the book Forgotten God to explain the unknown, secretive Third Person of the Trinity. I was able to get a copy of this interestingly titled book earlier this year, and I was excited to find out what exactly was a ‘Forgotten God’.
Was God really forgotten or was Chan reaching just for sales?
This God is often the topic of talk amongst numerous religious circles, but these debates often raise more questions than they answer. Before we go any further, the goal of this article is not to begin any type of theological or doctrinal debate about the Holy Spirit. But the questions must be raised, how did we allow the Holy Spirit to be overlooked? Who let this happen?
It is not uncommon at all to hear sermons and talk about God and Jesus, but more often than not, there is very little teaching about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit seems to be some mysterious, mystical portion of God that is left alone. The Spirit seems to be avoided throughout the mainstream Christian culture, and only embraced by radical churches who seem to do off the wall things. Right?…Wrong!
As I read more of the book, I was very much so enlightened about how we as Christians have literally forgotten the Holy Spirit and His purpose. After reading, I realized that there 3 basic questions every believer needs to ask in order to know the Spirit.
1. Who is the Holy Spirit?
Chan explains that the Holy Spirit is a Person. Not an untouchable power, thing, or ‘it’, but a Person. The Spirit is not beneath than the Father or the Son in any way because the Spirit is God. He is eternal (John 14:16), all-powerful (Zech. 4:6), all-knowing (1 Cor. 2:10b), and everywhere (Ps. 139:7-8). This leads us into our 2nd question.
2. Where is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit not only everywhere, but resides within every believer. (John 14:17) Because the Spirit also has His own agenda and resides within us, He doesn’t do things we want. Instead, He directs us and guides us to do what He wants by giving us all various gifts and abilities. (1 Cor. 12:11) Not only does the Spirit give gifts, but by being inside us, we cannot stay the same. When we have the presence of the Spirit, we show change, aka fruits. (Read ‘Are you fruity?’)
3. What does the Holy Spirit do?
One of the main jobs of the Spirit is to empower and teach us to do the works of Christ. (Ps. 143:10) Chan says ‘The Holy Spirit has given you a supernatural ability to serve the people God has placed around you.’ Whether people see our lives or hear our testimony, the ability to reflect Jesus comes directly from the Holy Spirit. (Luke 12:12)
Also, it was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead. (Romans 1:4) Yes, the same power that got Jesus out of a grave, dwells inside you as a believer! Now that’s power!
In Forgotten God, Chan says ‘We would expect our new life with the Holy Spirit to look radically different from our old life without Him.’
We cannot embrace a God we do not know exists, where He exists, and what He does.
Because the Spirit does give us undeniable boldness and courage to enter places and do things we would not normally do, truth is, many don’t want to be led by the Spirit. For some of us, our comfort zones are more important to us than the will of God. Those people have now allowed fear and pride to become their god.
For others who choose to let obey any instruction from the Spirit, get to experience unexplainable freedom and victory. These people have chosen to allow the Spirit to change them into the person God wants them to be. (Rom. 8:10-11, 2 Cor. 3:17)
Francis Chan was absolutely right in the fact that today’s Christian has neglected the Holy Spirit. I pray that we no longer belittle the Spirit by ignoring His power and presence, but grow in relationship with Him.
Do you think that the Holy Spirit has been treated as a Forgotten God?
Purchase Forgotten God (affiliate link).