It doesn't take the diligent student long to figure out that each teacher, professor, and instructor has their own set of quirks that are manifestations of deeply held values and ideals. The more deeply and fanatically these values and ideals are held by the instrutor, the more they will insist that the student adopt those values and ideals if the instruction is to be truly fruitful. Contrariwise, if the value systems of the instructor and student markedly differ in those ideals and values, it is best for both that the student seek a more compatible instructor. This is because maximal learning happens when the effort that the instructor expends in tailoring their instruction to the student is met with an equal diligence on the part of the student adopting, integrating, and following those ideals, goals, and values. The unity and mutual love and respect that develops between them are the major themes of many oriential martial arts epics and movies, a shadow of which can be seen in the "Karate Kid" movie series between Mr. Miyagi and his students.
Again, as it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual. One should not confuse the Holy Spirit Himself with His value system, which confusion I feel lies at the root of many current theologies that sound good in principle but bear little or no fruit in the lives of those who believe them. Being Deus, the Holy Spirit has inherent characteristics, powers, and abilities that have no analogue in physical nature and our human experience, rendering Him, and the other members of the Trinity, inherently and ultimately incomprehensible in those aspectss. Indeed, even His very name and the bewildering variety of His manifestations in scripture make pinning Him down more difficult than the Father and the Son.
However, this is not so with His value system that makes up His character. The Fruit of the Spirit are not values and emotions that are alien to us, but are those aspects of Deity that we share that gives substance to the statement that we are made in God's image. What is alien to us is the passion, fierceness, and persistence that moves and motivates Deus to hold them, practice them, and pursue them. Ultimately, God will not share the universe with those who do not share the same values to the point of opposing them and opposing those who embrace them and practice them.
When it comes to living Symbiotically with the Spirit I have come to believe that there are three values out of all the virtues and values that are taught in Scripture that are the most pertinent when it comes to receiving and profiting from His instruction. I will briefly discuss them here by way of introduction and expand on them as necessary in the next subject areas and in other essays, asking my readers to keep in mind that I discuss these because of their relevance, not ultimate importance. The values and virtues of Love and Justice are the supreme ones, but not necessarily the only ones worth pursuing to the exclusion of others of current relevance. Finally, astute readers may note that I have touched on their importance in earlier essays. Again, the process of research is rarely static or ever complete, and is full of uncertain probings and some blind alleys, so the treatment I give here should augment those other passages rather than replace them.
The first key value/virtue is Humility. A proud student cannot learn if learning requires admitting the inadequacy and/or incompleteness of that which they already know. Similarly, a proud instructor holds back instruction out of fear of being upstaged and surpassed by the student. A proud instructor is not focussed on the student, but upon himself and how he looks and appears to the student and others. Finally, some instruction, or the entire process of instruction, requires that the instructor "tone back" and "tone down" his capabilities or his dignity in the interest of the student. The proud instructor will "show off", while the humble instructor risks distain in the quest to improve his student. Pride never recognizes Humility, fears and envies Pride in others. They resent and begrudge the fact that someone does not find THEM the center of the universe. In contrast, Humility recognizes Humility and sees through Pride. Thus, the humble student recognizes the grace shown by the humble instructor, and grants him that respect that restores the dignity that was willingly sacrificed in the interest of their progress and advancement. That humility helps the student learn from what the instructor gives, thus honoring it by not turning it into a waste of time and effort. It is within this matrix of grace given and received that admiration, loyalty, and love are birthed and grow to maturity.
Thus, I advise my readers who seek to be instructed and led by the Spirit to recognize that there may be times when you will be astounded at what appears to be God acting in a distinctly undignified manner to a degree that we would consider degrading. It is only when you yourself embrace humility that you will see the lessons being taught and the goals being attained. By embracing humility yourself, you will perceive the love motivating such behavior, learn from it, and re-grant to God, from your heart and mind, the dignity and reverence that such love merits. Jesus Christ perfectly reflects God, and in becoming a man and dying on the cross amid humiliations and degradation, he was consistenly displaying characteristics while as a man that he routinely practiced before his Incarnation and which the other Members of the Trinity practice as well. Conversely, if you do not adopt the spirit and practice of humility, then you will never see God sacrifice for you to get you to learn if your pride will keep you from learning. Like a teenage girl desiring to bind her boyfriend closer to her, God "puts out" to bring us closer to Him so He can help us. However, unlike the teenage girl who does not perceive the difference between being used and being loved for the offer of herself, God does not cast His pearls (i.e. the blessing of Himself and the (seeming) sacrifice of His dignity on your behalf) before swine, and does not expect you to do so either. And for your sake, please do not bleat "I am unworthy!" when He does: His Wisdom is too great for Him to make a mistake, and His Sovereignty too complete for you to entertain the delusion that He is being forced to do something He doesn't want to do. He not only knows what He is doing, but also fully wants to do it. (If you find this difficult to comprehend, then consider the fierce love that the American people have for their military. It was relatively absent when the draft was in effect, but grew as the reality of the volunteer army slowly seeped into the people's consciousness. Love is never seen if it is perceived that the actions it motivates are forced. But when those actions are seen as freely chosen and not forced, then the revelation of love comes and is keenly felt.)
The second value/virtue is that of Truth and its allied virtue of honesty. That Truth would be intensely valued by the Spirit of Truth may seem to be an oxymoron, but it is surprising that people expect to be blessed when they live lives that are not in accordance to the Truth. The plain fact of the matter is that the quality of the truth that one believes does matter to God.
This not only applies to error and falsehood, but also to incomplete truths. The very effectiveness of this website is based on the premise that "getting it more right brings more results." While I appreciate the obvious truths that my birth denomination taught me, their understanding of the Holy Spirit was wrong in several cases and incomplete in the rest. They would certainly deny that my inability to control my sexual compulsions was based on my believing their incomplete truths about the Holy Spirit. Certainly, there are many denominations that claim to have the truth but would deny that the inability of those who suscribe to them to overcome sin is due to the fact that those truths are incomplete or wrong. However, I regard such denials as false because the moment I "got" the implications of the truth of the symbiotic indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the temptations I had struggled with unsuccessfully when they had me under their wing evaporated. Indeed, I expressly remember that half of my subsequent (but brief) relapses were preceeded by a sincere, but false, doubting that what I had figured out was false, God's refusal to work when the truth was doubted further re-enforced, in my mind, the truth that "getting it right does matter". That God extends grace in this respect by working at times to help those who are in a state of ignorance does not mitigate the need to eventually get it right. Just as grace is given to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4), so grace is given to provoke us to seek for the whole truth. If the truth sets us free, then we are not totally free until we have the whole truth.
The flip side of the Spirit not moving or acting to re-inforce falsehoods or inferior truths is that He moves signally when the opportunity presents itself for the person to move to a more-true truth that won't take place unless He moves. The Book of Acts is full of statements where God did miracles to confirm the words of Paul and the Apostles, and this is the sole reason why conviction of sin does not come to the sinner apart from the preaching of the Gospel. Again, grace is often extended to get us moving toward the truth, as was the case of Cornelius who was allowed to interact with an Angel, but only to direct him to send for Peter to hear the Gospel from his mouth. The subsequent descent of the Spirit into the gentiles present when Peter preched the Gospel served to move the Jewish Christians from the less-true truth that the Gospel was preached to them to the more-true truth that the Gospel was to be preached to all men.
The third value is cooperation. It is manifestly true that God is perfectly self-sufficient and the only Being that is truly not in need of anything or anybody. In fact, the doctrine of the Trinity disposes of the vain belief that God created man because He was in need of company, since each member of the Trinity had the other two as glorious companions. If my pathetically weak experiences with the Holy Spirit are a guide, such company would prove quite delicious, satisfying, and complete. However, we must not let human-based preconceptions about self-sufficiency and Sovereignty blind us to the obvious fact that God, by His authority and His free choice (which is unconstrained and uncompelled), chose to react responsively to how we act and behave toward Him. The scriptures are replete with promises God freely made that pose a condition and promise good things for those who meet the condition. The entire Old Testament records a God who interacted with people and who responded to their choices to obey or disobey. The New Testament records a God who takes this cooperation to the next level by dwelling within believers. It is easy to command from a distance, but cooperation requires getting close and personal.
Why would God do this? My experience tells me that this value springs from God putting His love for us into action. It is the fact that this cooperation was freely chosen by a God whose nature and providence are not compelled or constrained tells us that the love He has for us is of the purest and noblest sort. Those of my readers who are husbands should have already experienced something like this with regard to their wives, while those who are wives should be nodding knowingly as they read this: wives often ask their husbands to help them in tasks that they are obviously able to do by themselves, or they may ask to "tag" along with the husband when the latter engages in an activity that they know their wife finds unappetizing. Why does she do this? Why, to be together, of course!
So it is with the Spirit. If you feel that the Spirit is trying to get you to do something or undertake some action, never believe that you have to do it all by yourself. Never. Period. Full Stop. Conversely, if you think the Spirit should be doing something for you, never believe that you don't have to do a thing. There is always something the Spirit does with you, and there is always something for you to do. If there is a task to be done, rest assured there will be pieces you will need to do, pieces that the Spirit will do, and pieces that He and you will do together. Certainly there are benefits for you if you do your part and God does His part, but don't think that God gets the same benefit that you get, or that He is motivated by the benefits. What God gets out of whatever you and He do together is that you and He are together.
As an exercise to escape the "its gotta have a purpose" chains we think God is putting on His relationships with us, read the Song of Solomon, putting yourself as the Shulamite and God as Solomon, as many Christian mystics have insisted we do. We read of Solmon ("my beloved") sneaking to the window of the Shulamite's bedroom ("my love") to beguile her to run through the countryside to enjoy the coming of spring. The point of doing it was to be together. They are together at the banqueting table. They are together trying to catch the little foxes that ruin the vines. They are together when Solomon's Procession arrives at her ancestral home to impress her side of the family. Conversely, the times of pain for the Shulamite are when she loses track of her beloved and she has to hunt for him. Her worst such experience is when he begs to join her in her bed, and she makes excuses to delay getting out of bed, then delays some more trying to pretty herself up, only to come to the door and find him GONE (moral: when God calls for a specific act of cooperation, stop jacking around and get 'er done!) Finally, consider the repeated advice given to the Daughters of Jerusalem by the Shulamite to "not stir up nor waken love until it please". It actually is a polite way of saying "when I get around to being useful to the people and the Monarchy by producing an heir to Solomon is none of your business!" The question of how useful, productive, and fruitful the marriage is going to be is ultimately secondary to the primary concern of the two lovers to be together.
The essence of Symbiosis is cooperation. The biggest hurdle you will face as a new Host in your relationship to the Holy Spirit Symbiote is the mental transition from "me" thinking to "we" thinking. Trust me on this. I've been there and am still working on that. You. Have. Been. Warned.
These values can and do interact. For instance, I mentioned my speculation in the first essay of this stage of the book of Proverbs being the product of cooperation between Solomon initiating a cooperative process and the Spirit helping him write the boo, and earlier on this page of how the Spirit moves when the possiblity presents itself to move people from less-true truths to more-true truths, with the book of Acts recording the Spirit moving to reinforce the Word that was preached. We tend to believe that the Spirit moved only because it was the Apostles who preached, but the record regarding Stephen, Phillip, and Ananias of Damascus refutes this self-depreciating lie. We can just as surely invite the Spirit to move in people's lives with the certainty of a Marine in Afghanistan radioing in a call for an Air Strike. However, military personnel have reported feeling like being "The Hammer of GOD HIMSELF" when the bombs drop, and I must confess to the same feeling of momentary hubris when I cooperated with the Spirit in dropping condemnation and repentance on a Christian sister I met online who was torn between a life of dedication to God and her lesbian cyber-lovers. Yes, it can be done, but it must be handled with care!
The defense I adopted, and which I feel is necessary when we start tasting the powers of the world to come in this life, is to embrace and submit to the Spirit's teaching of the value and virtue of humility in our lives. That is, we must constantly recognize and appreciate who does what knowing that cooperation is essential as a initiating causative factor. And this is another good reason why Suppression, as a capability, should be the first to be developed in the life of the invididual: it can be used to suppress feelings of pride and hubris that arise when our actions create situations where God's moving is so strong that we forget the precise division of labor when it comes to the Salvation of the people in the world.
This is not the only aspect where these values work together to produce an effect. I will now discuss a very specific "instructor quirk" involving another aspect of that interaction that dictates the adoption of a specific lifestyle choice that the student of the Spirit must implement in their personal life. In implementing this specific character trait, there is no compromise and no release is possible since by it all other flawed character traits are corrected.
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