~ Counterfeiting The Holy Spirit ~
You'll probably agree that the following list is representative of what this world values and pursues: peace; love; self-worth; respect; recognition; security; and legacy. This looks like a listing that would be found in a basic psychology book; something we would teach our children; something we would expect our schools and even churches to espouse.
In a previous Reflection, we considered the folly and danger of the practice of many Christians of taking from the resources of Satan and God at the same time: a little from Satan, a little from God, depending on what is needed and wanted at the time and how fast it can be obtained at the least cost and sacrifice.
Back to the list... Christ said, "My peace I give you. I don't give you the kind of peace the world gives." (John 14:27) Worldly peace does not reconcile us to God and is too fragile a bond between people, so let's scratch that off the list of world values and pursuits that should interest us.
Worldly love is self-centered, producing no intimacy with God, and quite conditional. Scratch that off too.
Self-worth and self-esteem are the mantras of the past decade, the world claiming a good dose of both in our children will ensure emotional health and goodness of heart. Churches even buy that notion. Christians forget this is not Scriptural teaching. Rather, we are commanded to crucify ourselves, serve others, make our bodies living sacrifices, and esteem God before attending to our own. Scratch that one too.
How about respect? Surely we want worldly respect. But for what? Self-promoting accomplishments? Worldly respect is an even trade, too, and a necessary part of the game: You respect me, I respect you. Disrespect me and I disrespect you. This is not the teaching of Christ.
Then what about recognition? That is a form of self-exaltation, being recognized by other humans for how great we are. Self-exaltation, remember, was the sin that brought both Satan and humankind down from paradise into this corrupt world. Scratch that one too.
Worldly security? The phrase "false sense" applies here. As many of us can attest to personally or witnessed in others, security in perishable things is transitory; here today, gone tomorrow.
Well, legacy is left. Many want to gain some immortality by leaving their mark on the world through good (or evil) deeds, to "make a difference in the world" as so many college freshmen in the mental health field are apt to say as their motive. We want to live on in the memory of others or even in history books. This is taking out life insurance on the continuation of self-exaltation even after you are dead. We don't give up, do we? Scratch that one too.
These worldly items of value are satanic counterfeits of heavenly gifts. That there are counterfeit gifts or even counterfeit Christians isn't all bad. Only precious things are counterfeited, such as gems, original paintings and money. No one counterfeits candy wrappers. So counterfeiting is a recognition of those lacking that the real thing is valuable. Satan counterfeits God's gifts and many Christians "fall" for the counterfeits. Ultimately, Satan counterfeits the Holy Spirit today and will as a physical being in the antichrist of the prophetic future.
There is something extremely awesome about the Holy Spirit. The dynamic and mystery of the Trinity includes Christ as being the witness and personification of the Father. (John 14:9-11) When Jesus told His followers "I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you," He was not referring to His Second Coming at the end of time. (John 14:18) Continuing further in Christ's instructions just before His arrest, He points out the Father will send the Holy Spirit in His (Christ's) Name, reminding us of "everything I have ever told you." (John 14:26, 15:26) Then Christ declares that "It's good for you that I'm going away. If I don't, the Helper (Holy Spirit) won't come to you." (John 16:7) Christ told us that He had much more to teach, "but that would be too much for you now." He explains the Holy Spirit will continue to teach, "not on His own," but what "He hears," giving Christ the glory. (John 16:12-14) A critical verse is "You know Him (the Holy Spirit) because he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:27b) (emphasis mine)
All this amounts to the conclusion that when Jesus spoke of the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, He spoke of Himself. In that way He can abide in us and "make His home within us." Christ needed to ascend into the heavenly realm in order to send Himself back into His followers in His Spirit Person. So He instructed His followers to wait before doing anything. They had to wait for His Holy Spirit to be empowered, to know all Truth. It was indeed appropriate for Christ to wait until the festival of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days after Passover to celebrate the end of the spring harvest. (Exodus 34:22) Now we Christians celebrate Pentecost as the day the Holy Spirit first came into us, the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ, His Church, must have His Spirit giving it life, for a body without spirit is dead. His Spirit is His spring harvest of our souls.
There were times when I imagined the experience of walking and talking with Jesus as the apostles had. However, imagine God or a divine experience and what you have is an imaginary God and an imaginary experience. How different is the reality! His Spirit is real peace, love, worth, security and immortality, "not as the world gives." Regardless of the external circumstances, His Spirit Presence can make your heart burn with love for Him; make your body tremble and cry in joy!
Just the thought that the Person whose words I read in the Scriptures, the One through whom all things were created, the Way, the Truth, the Life, lives in me, puts me into a dizzying ecstasy and deeply sobering humility that cannot be further described adequately in written words. The redemptive gift, His unconditional love, His sacrifice, His Presence in the corporate Body of His Church and in us, is an incomprehensible reality that opens the floodgates of joyful tears and opens the arms and heart in a living gesture and prayer that cries, "Take me, consume me, my Beloved. You bought me, You adopted me as Your son; I am Yours, Your servant." Life doesn't get any better than this!
"Even though you're evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13)
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
Weekly Reflections © May 26, 2001
"God's Word" is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotation are used by permission.
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