“We rejoice in the – of the Spirit. Fill in the missing word!” I have some times played this little game in Christian young people’s meetings. It is interesting, but not unexpected, that virtually everybody adds the word “power” to the sentence. Of course as Christians we do indeed rejoice in the glorious power of the Holy Spirit. In the Book of Acts we note the reality of the miracle-working power of the Spirit.
But the Book of Acts is not the only biblical book to reveal the nature and working of the Holy Spirit. We need to stick firm to what we learn from Acts, but we also need to widen our understanding of the Spirit. In John’s Gospel ‘truth’ is repeatedly underlined and stressed. And the Spirit is shown to be “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14.17), so why don’t some of our young people ‘rejoice in the truth of the Spirit’? And we should also never forget that the Spirit is called the “Holy Spirit”, so surely some of our young people should add the word “holiness” to that sentence – “we rejoice in the holiness of the Spirit” – moral righteousness and holiness are badly needed in our society today and as Christians we need the holy working of the Spirit in our churches and personal lives.
“Truth – what an interesting word! I don’t think I have heard that word since I was a boy”, exclaimed a young agnostic businessman when I used the word “truth” in a conversation with him. Relationships and society in general (and marriage very particularly) depend on truth and therefore trustworthiness. As Christians we rejoice that the Lord is not only the unique way to the Father and the source of resurrection life abundant (John 10.10 and 14.6), but he is also the Truth. His word and promises are therefore utterly trustworthy. He will never let us down and we can trust him even unto the grave. God’s eternal love is faithfully and fully given to us in grace by the Spirit.
So we rejoice in the gracious loving power, holiness and truth of the Spirit!