December 20, 2016


Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

Many people are hazy about the Holy Spirit, but here we have a description. Some people look at Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians and imagine the Holy Spirit as wild and weird, but that’s hardly the case. Right off the bat this says that He is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. That sounds pretty desirable. Then it says that He is the Spirit of counsel and of power. The Japanese expresses that as the Spirit of decision making and ability. Who hasn’t felt indecisive at times, and we would all like more ability! However, it’s the last part of the description that is actually the most fundamental. The English isn’t wrong in how it expresses it, but I like the way the Japanese breaks it down: the Spirit of knowledge of the Lord and of fear of the Lord. We cannot have the Spirit of God without knowing God, and when we know Him we will fear, that is, fundamentally respect, Him. I think one reason the devil attacks families, and especially fathers, so hard is that it is through our human fathers that we gain our first understanding of Father God. When fathers fail to both love and discipline their children, those children grow up with a badly distorted image of God. The only real remedy for anyone who has emotional/spiritual scars in that area is the Holy Spirit, because He can teach us from within what we failed to learn from our circumstances. There are some people who would like the Holy Spirit to come on them if it meant only the first two pairs of descriptors in this verse, but we can’t have any of it, really, without the last pair. As it says in Proverbs 9:10, and with variations in many other places, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” That’s what the Spirit of God is all about.

When I first started learning about the baptism in the Holy Spirit I got this wrong. I started seeking the ability to speak in tongues, rather than the Lord who gives that ability. It’s all part of the same package! There was a little chorus back then that said, “I want more of Jesus, more and more and more.” The last line said, “and He wants more of me.” A missionary friend told me my father changed that last line to, “so I’ll give Him more of me.” I have indeed learned that if I want more of God, I have to surrender more of myself. That doesn’t make me any less me, it makes me more like Him. That’s what the Holy Spirit is all about. God will fill me with more of His Spirit when I press into Him with more of me. My grandfather Carver used to say that when we are saved we give Jesus the key to our heart, but like a large building, there are many doors inside as well. Spiritual growth is giving Jesus the keys to more and more rooms. Sometimes we are successful in giving Him a master key that opens many doors, but most people have one or more rooms that require unique keys, and we can be very possessive of those keys. I need to seek constantly to leave the whole set of keys in God’s hands so that the Holy Spirit may come in and clean house as I need it, for my blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Helping someone move has been a reminder of how much stuff we allow to accumulate, spiritually as well as materially. Help me be totally open to your house cleaning on every level, not hanging onto anything You say I don’t need, so that in its place I may indeed receive more of You, for that is the desire You have birthed in my heart. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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