Part I (continued)
The Partial Presence Of The Holy Spirit
There are two ways we have of looking at a person who is in the same room with us. On the visible level, we acknowledge that either a person is entirely in the room with us, or he is not in the room at all. If any part of the person is in the room, then all of him must be. But on a more subtle level which recognizes different dimensions to the same person, we often say, "He's not all there!" What we mean is that, though a person's body is physically present, his thoughts are off in another place.
I offer this illustration to reveal the next critical truth about the Holy Spirit. For not only does the Spirit embrace two natures, but it is entirely possible for the Spirit to be present in only one of those natures. Just as with a man we may acknowledge that part of him is there but his heart is somewhere else, so it is true that the Holy Spirit may be present in our midst, but only in part. He may not be "all there." He may be ministered in part, and He may be received only in part. It is possible, say, for the Spirit to be manifested or received as the Comforter, but not as the Spirit of Truth. It is also possible for Him to be received or ministered only as the Spirit of Truth, but not as the Comforter.
Now if we accept that the Spirit's mission is to conform us to Christ's complete image through both purging and comforting, then it goes without saying that the Spirit does not will to be ministered or received only as the Truth or the Comforter. He wills to be "all there"He wills to be ministered and received and understood for all that He is. But then how is it possible that the Spirit may indeed be present only in part?
- "According To Your Faith Be It Unto You"
To understand how this can be possible, we have to begin considering the human factor in relating to the Spirit. For though the Spirit is entirely complete and undivided within Himself, the limitations of our nature put the Spirit into a position where He may only reveal Himself for part of who He fully is. This is easier to grasp if we think in terms of, say, radio waves and receivers. Invisible radio waves cover a wide band of frequencies. But the radios that convert these waves to audible sound are limited in the bands they can pick up. There are "FM" radios and "AM" radios. Radios geared only to FM frequencies do not pick up AM frequencies, and vice versa.
So it is with the Holy Spirit and the human heart. As the Comforter and the Truth, the Holy Spirit embraces a wide spectrum of spiritual frequency. But where the human heart's faith as a receiver is limited through immaturity or willful unbelief, the heart is blinded into partiality toward receiving only one nature of the Spirit or the other. In turn, because the Spirit has agreed to limit His manifestations to the parameters of human faith, He is willing to manifest Himself only partially.
Amazing as it may sound, the Holy Spirit is willing to be revealed on whatever basis men are willing to receive Him. In whatever way we want the Spirit, in that way He will come to us—whether as Comforter only, or Truth only, or both. Though you or I might say, "Either take all of me or don't take me at all," not so with the Spirit. The Spirit is received according to the quality and level of faith of the believer, however incomplete his faith may be. What you want of Him is what you get of Him. As Jesus so often said, "According to your faith be it unto you." But woe to us if we are open to only one part of the Spirit's nature.
- A Divided House
Our surface view of the Spirit's presence mixed with our partiality toward Him lies at the heart of the tumult that has dogged this spirit-filled century. Instead of distinguishing the subtleties of the Spirit's presence like we do with people, we take the superficial view that sees Him as either all there or not there at all—whether in a meeting or in someone's life. We begin with a false assumption that says: if we have encountered the ministry of the Holy Spirit at all, then we have encountered all of the Holy Spirit there is to have. And since our sense of the Spirit is one-sided, we judge the validity of our encounter by whether the nature of the Spirit with which we are most familiar is manifest. If that nature is not manifest, we conclude we have not encountered the Holy Spirit at all.
This combined superficial and partial thinking leads to blanket conclusions and broadbrushed assessments about what is and is not "of the Spirit." We interpret all spiritual events in terms of the Spirit's nature which we favor, while minimizing, trivializing or rejecting the events out of character with that nature. Division ensues between those partial to Him as the Comforter and those partial to the Spirit of Truth. Meanwhile, we all fail to grow up into the complete image of Christ, acquiring instead skewed and distorted personalities.
Part I cont.... The Truthless Comforter