Summary: A message on the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives
Learning to Dance
Theme: Showing the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Text: John 16:7 – 14
Opening Illustration and notes from Max Lucado. A Gentle Thunder - Hearing God Through the Storm (Kindle Locations 731-754). Kindle Edition.
Let’s imagine that you want to learn to dance. Being the rational, cerebral person you are, you go to a bookstore and buy a book on dancing. After all, a book helped you learn to program a computer, and a book taught you accounting—surely a book can teach you how to shuffle your feet. You take the book home and get to work. You do everything it says. The book says sway; you sway. The book says shuffle; you shuffle. The book says spin; you spin. You even cut out paper shoe patterns and place them around the living-room floor so you’ll know where to step. Finally, you think you’ve got it, and you invite your wife to come in and watch. You hold the book open and follow the instructions step by step. You even read the words aloud so she'll know that you've done your homework. “Lean with your right shoulder,” and so you lean. “Now step with your right foot,” and so you step. “Turn slowly to the left,” and so you do. 2 This story was also told by Gary Thomas in “Wise Christians Clip Obituaries,” Christianity Today, 3 Oct. 1994, 24-27.
You continue to read, then dance, read, then dance, until the dance is completed. You plop exhausted on the couch, look at your wife, and proclaim, “I executed it perfectly.” “You executed it, all right,” she sighs. “You killed it.” “What?” “You forgot the most important part. Where is the music?” Music? You never thought about music. You remembered the book. You learned the rules. You laid out the pattern. But you forgot the music. “Do it again,” she says, putting in a CD. “This time don’t worry about the steps; just follow the music.” She extends her hand and the music begins. The next thing you know, you are dancing— and you don't even have the book.
We Christians are prone to follow the book while ignoring the music. We master the doctrine, outline the chapters, memorize the dispensations, debate the rules, and stiffly step down the dance floor of life with no music in our hearts. We measure each step, calibrate each turn, and flop into bed each night exhausted from another day of dancing by the book.
Dancing with no music is tough stuff. Jesus knew that. For that reason, on the night before his death he introduced the disciples to the song maker of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. When I go away I will send the Helper to you. If I do not go away, the Helper will not come.
Matthew 11:27-30 (The Message) Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen. (28) "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. (29) Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. (30) Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
If I were to ask you to describe your heavenly Father, you’d give me a response. If I were to ask you to tell me what Jesus did for you, you’d likely give a cogent answer. But if I were to ask about the role of the Holy Spirit in your life ... ? Eyes would duck. Throats would be cleared. And it would soon be obvious that of the three persons of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit is the one we understand the least. Perhaps the most common mistake made regarding the Spirit is perceiving him as a power but not a person, a force with no identity. Such is not true. The Holy Spirit is a person. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you (John 14:17, emphasis mine).
The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” He is a person. He has knowledge (1 Cor. 2:11). He has a will (1 Cor. 12:11). He has a mind (Rom. 8:27). He has affections (Rom. 15:30). You can lie to him (Acts 5:3-4). You can insult him (Heb. 10:29). You can grieve him (Eph. 4:30). The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. He is not Popeye’s spinach or the surfer’s wave. He is God within you to help you.