How does the Holy Spirit manifest in the lives of believers? In Jesus, Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You (Zondervan), Southern Baptist pastor J. D. Greear steps back from secondary debates surrounding specific charismatic gifts to emphasize how the Spirit enlivens our relationship with God. Her.meneutics contributor Jen Pollock Michel spoke with Greear, pastor of the Summit Church in North Carolina, about his hopes for ordinary Christians living Spirit-empowered lives.
How would you characterize your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
I had always been a little frustrated, because it just seemed like people in the Bible had a fundamentally different relationship with God than my own. There was a hollowness in my spiritual life. God was more a doctrine than a person. I also felt crushed by the amount of stuff that needed to be done in the world. There was always one more orphan, always one more unreached people group.
I began to discover that an understanding of our relationship with the Holy Spirit helps to soothe these anxieties. Instead of saying, “Look at all that God needs me to do for him,” the Spirit reminds us to say, “Look at what God is empowering me to do.”
In Luke 24, when Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, the first thing he told his disciples was to wait. No one cared more about the spread of the gospel than Jesus, but he knew they couldn’t do anything for him until the Holy Spirit came. The Spirit would do more through them than they could ever do by themselves.
You ask readers to move beyond theological debates over miraculous gifts (healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues). Why?
Too often, discussion about the Holy Spirit runs on two ...1