Are You Afraid of the Holy Spirit?

Dr. Andrew Jackson

This question might sound odd to be asking of Christians. But I believe this is true. Many Christians–including Christian leaders and pastors–are afraid of the ministry and experiences of the Holy Spirit.

Why do I say this?

I say this because when you read about the life and ministry of Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament apostles, one is struck by the overwhelming emphasis that they put on the presence, power, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, many evangelical churches actually play down the direct experiences of the Holy Spirit.

The first reason for this can be theological, as some insist that the many-faceted experiences of the Holy Spirit of the New Testament church is no longer relevant for us. In other words, the all-out focus on the Holy Spirit was for then, but not now.

The second reason is experiential. They point to the weird and marginal abuses of emotionalism that allows them a way out. They infer that they are a church of order not disorder. But actually, I believe it is an issue of control. Many Christian leaders and pastors are very cautious and afraid of the free and sovereign ministry of the Holy Spirit to do what he wants in the church. Why? Because they can’t control things. They often say they need to protect Christians from their inability to directly experience the Holy Spirit without immature excesses. They actually feel very uncomfortable with taking the New Testament teaching and experiences of the Holy Spirit as something they need to model personally and facilitate in the church. Christians in general are afraid of direct experiences of the Holy Spirit because that is the attitude and teaching they receive from their leaders and pastors.

Why are Christian leaders and pastors afraid of the Holy Spirit? I think the underlying issue is they do not spend anytime really and deeply communing with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. They can talk about the Holy Spirit theologically, but they only shallowly have personal experiences with the Holy Spirit themselves.

Please do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit. For as Jesus said at the end of his ministry, it is the Holy Spirit that will reveal Jesus to us today. Once you deeply live in relationship with the Holy Spirit, you will actually surrender your control issues personally and corporately. When one communes with the Holy Spirit in prayer, you enter holy ground and you will feel safety not fear.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. We need you today more than ever.