The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
There’s something wrong in a lot of applied theology these days. Jesus speaks about it very clearly in John 15:26-27. Really? Wait. That first sentence used a term that isn’t easy to understand. I got all the words. But what is applied theology?
Many people will use a term like “practical theology.” It’s the way you live out the Christian life. I prefer to use the term “applied theology.” The word “practical” can suggest that some theology is impractical. The term “applied theology” makes a lot more logical sense. By the way, thanks to my friend Dr. Robert D. Jones, from whom I stole the term.
So what’s going on with applied theology and the work of the Holy Spirit? Much of the megachurch movement seems to have some sort of commitment to more or less spectacular gifts of the Holy Spirit. They want to see amazing things. The term “enthusiasm” used to be used to describe this. People seek out some sort of emotional and spiritual high. While we do want our worship to be full of the Holy Spirit, and we do expect that the truth of the free forgiveness and grace of the Gospel should move us, this isn’t always in the driver’s seat. Very often, we find church movements with worship which simply intends to grab people by their emotions and work them into some sort of frenzied excitement.
This is not the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, according to John 15:26-27, the work of the Holy Spirit will not have us as an emphasis at all. It doesn’t matter so much how we feel about ourselves. The Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus, not to us.
Do we want holiness? I sure hope so. How do we get it? By being wrapped up in ourselves? Not at all. It’s by being wrapped up in Jesus. The Holy Spirit points us to the Christ.
Granted, that should certainly inflame us. But may we have grace to be inflamed by the Holy Spirit shining the light of Jesus on us, rather than by ramping up our emotions.
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