The Crucified Life Makes Room for the Spirit
Yesterday I argued that uncrucified Christianity is a hot mess.
As I was writing yesterday, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me a little bit about the idea that taking up our cross is the way that we make room for the Holy Spirit.
This should be obvious: Most of Galatians 5 talks about how the flesh and the Spirit are at war with one another within us. Paul goes on to say that those who belong to Jesus “nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there,” (Galatians 5:24).
If you go back and read Galatians 5, Paul is almost circular in his reasoning: “Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Then You won’t desire the things of the flesh. But you have to have crucified your fleshly desires. So walk in the Spirit.” As you read it, you see this divine cycle where we both get help from God and we partner with God in this fight against our uncrucified selves.
My point is this: Taking up our cross opens a realm of activity for the Spirit. It’s not an accident that Jesus’ death on the cross opened up Pentecost for the early church. So if we desire greater activity of the Holy Spirit, we have to (by His help) appropriate the crucifixion in our own lives.
Friends, I am about as charismatic as they come. I desire more of the Holy Spirit moving and operating in my life. But there is some of the flesh, some self-glorification, some level of selfishness that has tainted much of the Spirit-empowered work at least in many parts of the world where I have witnessed it.
But I have also seen parts the work of the Spirit where people are laying down their lives for Jesus and the Gospel. In these places, the men and women have a purity like I haven’t seen. They aren’t flashy. The Gospel spreads. Miracles are common and Jesus is glorified. And this is what I’m hungry for in the West. Not just miracles. The fullness of the Holy Spirit that comes when we lay our lives down.
Today, I’m sort of just ranting. But I hope I’m right about this reality and I hope we all together can pursue this and encourage others, so that more and more of the church can be swept up into this reality.