Pastoral Care, Chapter 10: Live in The Spirit – Part 1

An old sailor and a small boy were standing on the dock at a lake watching sailboats. The boy asked the old sailor how the boats were moving so fast. The sailor said, “By the wind.” The boy then asked, “What is the wind?” The old sailor scratched his head a bit, then said, “I don’t know if I can tell you what the wind is; but I know how to hoist a sail; to catch its power so it can help me get where I want to go.”

I don’t know that I can describe the wind. It is the same word in Biblical language as the word for “breath” or “spirit.” So I am also saying that I don’t know if I can describe or explain living in the spirit. I remember Jesus told Nicodemus “It is like the wind. It blows where it wills and you hear the sound of it but you do not know whence it comes or where it goes.”

What we must consider, then, is not an explanation, but the evidence of its presence; and the experience of what it can do for us. In the stories of creation in the book of Genesis, in the Bible, we read that God breathed God’s breath into Adam and Eve and they became living human beings. As I pointed out earlier, in the languages in which the Bible was originally written, the word for ‘’breath’’ and ‘’spirit’’ are the same word. What we can believe, then, is that it was the gift of both breath and spirit which made Adam and Eve come to life; and to be in the image and likeness of God. What that means is that having the Spirit of God within us was a part of our creation. It is not something, or some experience for which we have to seek outside ourselves. It is inherent to our being who and whose we are.

At issue, then, is not finding or getting the Holy Spirit, but recognizing and cultivating the Spirit which is within us. It is putting ourselves in an attitude, or a position in which, as Jesus suggested, the Spirit can guide us into all truth. To live in the Spirit requires that we first recognize this gift of our creation, then allow the Spirit to confirm us in who we are and whose we are.

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