Oh Lord have mercy, the Christmas decorations came out this year BEFORE Halloween! It makes one wonder what ever happened to being thankful during the month of November (which is becoming my favorite month of the year).
During my drive up to Atlanta for my 6 month contact lens check-up with my most excellent optometrist at Emory Clinic, I came up with a most satisfying "formula" for giving thanks to God. While I thank God all the time for my family, my church, and the many physical blessings I enjoy, one of the strengths of this Website is the emphasis on the specificity of truth as it relates to the Trinity: in considering the abuses of double predestinationist Calvinism, I have come to believe that one of the key causes is a munging together of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the anointing that made Jesus into Jesus Christ). I mean, can you really believe that God predestines some people to hell and all men to sin when it is rephrased as "Jesus Christ has decided that some people must go to hell for his own glory"? You can't, which is why Calvinists talk about God in general terms instead of specific actions of The Father, of Jesus, or of the Holy Spirit.
And it's not bad having a "formula" for praying, provided one uses it the way the Lord's Prayer is used as a "formula" prayer that is used as a scaffold around which one builds their specific prayers.
My particular formula is to thank the Father through and by Jesus Christ for the Holy Spirit.-
We know that while the Godhead is One, each of the members of the Trinity have a specific function that is acknowledged by the others. The Father is the coordinator and provider who oversees the grand plan of Salvation. All gifts that are given are given first by the Father and distributed by the Spirit, such as the spiritual gifts, since Jesus himself said that he was not going to give the Holy Spirit to the disciples directly, but was going to pray to the Father and ask the Father to give the Spirit to the disciples. We see the Father giving the Son to the world for the salvation of mankind as well. The Son ensures that the will of the Father is performed, either by ensuring that others get it done or getting His hands dirty and doing it himself. The Holy Spirit appears to function as Advisor, Scout, and co-distributor of the Father's blessings, as well as being a blessing and gift to the Church.
Thus, the formula starts by acknowledging and thanking the Father for giving the Holy Spirit to us. It recognizes that we must approach the Father through Jesus Christ ("in my name"), so we thank him "through" Jesus Christ. Thanks is also given to Jesus for asking the Father to give the Holy Spirit to us. Next, thanks is expressly given to the Spirit for all of His work in us. Finally, and most importantly, thanks is rendered to Jesus Christ for his atoning sacrifice on the Cross to pay for our sins and remove them from us: Jesus played the role of the sacrificial passover lamb upon whom all the sins of the people were transferred. Without his sacrifice, we would still be in legal possession of our sins, and thus not be able to receive the Holy Spirit to a degree that is superior to how the prophets of the Old Testament and John the Baptist received and held Him, since His presence within us would "blow us out" quicker than Christmas tree lights plugged into a high power transmission line.
I have found that building my prayers of thanksgiving to the Father and the Son as the key ones in getting the Spirit into me enables me to widen the range of my gratitude for the Spirit onto them. I plead guilty to being a cheerleader for Holy Spirit, but I do not apologize for creating annoyances in people when I point out the biblical truth that Jesus is physically up in heaven, physically seated at the right hand of the Father, not really and physically within us. James, in his epistle, had a lot of bad things to say about people whose expression of faith was in words only, while showing approval of those who put their faith into practical action doing what God wanted them to do, so should I be criticized for admiring and emulating the member of the Trinity really getting their hands dirty down here dealing with the most stubborn of the clowns that comprise the Bride of Christ?
As for emulating the Holy Spirit: If Paul, a mortal fallible human being, could justifiably say "be followers of me as I am of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1), then following and emulating the Holy Spirit is even more justified. Besides, my biggest shortcoming is not having patience with people, and Who on the planet is more accessible and has demonstrated more patience with people than the Holy Spirit?
2010-11-11 06:25:41 by Gerald