When I said I was going “beyond the book review,” I must have really meant beyond, way beyond. Here we are many weeks later and I am still discussing Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman.
Yes, it is just that good.
In Chapter 6 we get to discuss the third part of the Holy Trinity: Holy Spirit. God and Jesus are easy to discuss, but often times discussions regarding the Holy Spirit get uncomfortable. I just have to share how Kyle explains this discomfort as I found myself literally “laughing out loud” as I read it. The people in my office thought I was losing my mind.
“When you read ‘Spirit-filled ” you got a little bit uncomfortable. Fans tend to be comfortable talking about God and Jesus, the third member is like the Cousin Eddie of the Trinity; you just don’t know what to do with him. It reminds me of how I’m treated by my in-laws. I married a girl from a small Kansas town……Her family tries to make me feel welcome, but whenever I show up I can almost hear that old Sesame Street theme song in the background, One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.
The rest of the men show up for Thanksgiving wearing camo sprayed with deer urine ready to go hunting after the big meal. I sit at the table in my designer shirt that is referred to as a ‘blouse’ behind my back. I eat in silence as the men take turns telling about the deer they shot and the buck that got away. About a half hour after lunch, I look around and realize that I’m the only grown man in the house. I walk into the kitchen, where the ladies are making pies, and ask, “Do you know where the men went?” My mother-in-law says, and I quote, “All the men are outside.” Hello? Um..clearly they’re not all outside. Apparently they got on their four-wheelers and went to build a deer stand together, but no one thought to invite me. Now, I know they believe in my existence. I would even say that most like me. But they are not sure what to do with me. I think that is how fans tend to approach the Holy Spirit. But the truth is you cannot be a follower unless you are filled with the Holy Spirit.” (p. 87-88)
How’s that for some real honesty?
Ephesians 1:13: And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.
It is clear to me from scripture that we receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. So, if that is the case, why is there such debate about being “filled with the Spirit” and “baptisied by the Holy Spirit”?
Well, even though we are given the Holy Spirit upon salvation, many of us do not accept and understand the powers and gifts of Holy Spirit and therefore don’t walk in the Spirit or operate under its full capacity.
“When you become a Christian you receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s his promise to all who put their faith in him. So it’s not a question of whether or not you have access to this power of the Holy Spirit, the question is, have you accessed it? Fans may have received the gift of the Holy Spirit but they aren’t being filled with the Holy Spirit.” (p.92)
This is why fans who try to follow with Jesus without calling on the Holy Spirit will reach a point where they become frustrated by their failures, and many fall away. Why? Because they are trying to do it on their own, in their own strength.
I did not grow up in a “spirit-filled” church. I grew up in a regular Methodist Church and spent most of my twenties in a Baptist church, and even went to a non-denominational church for a bit. I am now back at a Methodist church. My point is that I didn’t grow up being “brainwashed” When my current pastor started teaching me about the Holy Spirit, I was hesitant and cautious. My Baptist teaching regarding the fact that spiritual gifts (prophesy, tongues, etc.) were null and void upon the completion of the Bible still laid heavy on my mind (not to mention that fact that my new pastor was a woman). However, I am beyond grateful for this pastor because she opened my eyes to the truth. [Please note that not all Baptist churches have this theology-just the one I was attending.]
Once I started operating in the Spirit, my walk with the Lord grew to a much greater depth. My circumstances didn’t change, but my whole outlook on life changed. I finally found that “peace that surpasses all understanding” I had been looking for all my adult life.
Holy Spirit is real. Holy Spirit is just as important in our lives as The Father and The Son.
I’ll admit it, I used to be jealous of the people in the Bible. I used to think they had an advantage over us because they could actually see and talk with God and Jesus. Then one day I read something that made me realize that we are the ones who have the advantage because we have God living inside of us.
“We are glad for the Holy Spirit, but we tend to think of him as being on the JV team of the Trinity. But that’s not how Jesus portrayed the Holy Spirit to his followers. In John 16 we read one of the last conversations Jesus would have with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion…
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (Jon 16:7)” (p.90)
Did you catch that? Jesus, God in the flesh, says the Holy Spirit is better!
“There is a subtle but critical prepositional change from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In the Old Testament it says “God with us”-but in the New Testament it’s “God in us.”
Once again meaning, it is good to have God with you, but it is better to have God in you.
The Holy Spirit is God in us! If only we would all open our eyes to the scriptures and stop worrying about denomination loyalty. I believe this is one of the greatest areas our churches are failing: we are not teaching on the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When did the disciples step up their game and start truly falling Christ? It wasn’t until after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven that they began to start leading and teaching. Why? Because when Jesus went back into Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit, and once the disciples were filled they could operate on the strength of the Holy Spirit and not of themselves.
The Holy Spirit is real. Just as real and important as The Father and Jesus. Don’t let fear stop you from going to that next level. Study the scriptures. Do your own research. Get with fellow believers who are spirit-filled so they can give you their perspectives.
One thing I did as I was putting my big toe in the water was pray:
Dear Lord, if this is of you I want it; but don’t let me fall to false teachings. Protect me from the enemy Lord. It is my desire to have everything you have for me, to be the person you made me to be. If this is real, fill me Lord, fill me Lord.
Mr. Idleman goes into further detail on this subject and if you found this helpful or interesting, I encourage you to get a copy of the book and read it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.