Much of what we call the conversion experience is psychosomatic. There is a great danger in calling these feelings the Holy Spirit. What I mean is it is like the excitement of anything new. It carries with it a proportional excitement.
It is like marriage; the honeymoon, is exciting. Some people, after the early excitement of marriage wanes, think the love is gone. This is because they are not experiencing the same enthralled passion of the first days. They misunderstand love and marriage.
We all remember our first experiences of becoming a Christian. I remember being happier than before. Hugging people became a natural desire. It was great and a funny new experience. I had to bear in mind to repress the hugging urge in the office.
I became aware that God was present and was dwelling in me. Anticipating Him speaking to me, I moved through my days with great expectancy. It was an amazing new reality that I was eager to experience to the max.
More mature Christians told me how they had felt the same experience. They liked being around this new flame. But at times I recognized the guilt and envy in their words. The condescension wasn’t easily covered by their smiles. It was like they were saying smugly “Now I’m more mature.”
In my youthful pride I assumed they had lost their first love. They were sell outs. “I would never be like them.” I promised myself.
Well, 24 years later, I think that I am more mature. And I fear I’ve become one of them. Funny huh?
Am I a sell out or more mature? Have I lost my first love? Was it real spiritual stuff of the Spirit or emotionalism? These are worthy questions best asked and answered by me 24 years later than me six months into the faith.
Now what is real? What is just plain new excitement and wonder? What is actually the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit leads and indwells all believers. This happened and is still true for me today.
In my maturity I am not operating as I was in my former experimental state. It was natural to be extra aware and sensitive in those days. Why not? If God was newly in me, it must be dramatic I thought.
Everything that happened in those days was expressed in the most theatrical spiritual language.
But look, nothing has changed except me. The Spirit is the same.
He is always at work. The Spirit doesn’t need the help of a highly tuned spiritual ear. He moves powerfully. No one can stop Him. Even if I do not feel something, He is at work. Although I haven’t had a spiritually induced endorphin rush lately it doesn’t mean He has left me.
I confess I have lost some wonder in it all. I’m certain of this. The honeymoon is over. But I’m still married. I have a determined faithfulness until death do us part. The relationship has changed, matured, yet I can see better than in the beginning. I’ve matured and He hasn’t changed.
I’m certain I take a lot for granted. When God moves I tend not to get excited, knowing it will be followed by pain and disappointment. And in the subsequent valley I will not despair, because it will not last forever.
With patience I await His coming. Soon I will see what I’ve always known.
I know; this is stronger than simple emotion. The facts supersede all the weakness of mere mutable emotion.
I am around new Christians and their response to the mysterious indwelling of the Spirit. I understand the process of discovery. I do not despise it and will not put out the Spirits flame. Yet I must guide it as a spiritual leader.
As I have been in the process of writing this blog another young person came to the Lord. No one invited him but the prompting of the Spirit through the presence of His people. His face smiles, the burden is lifted and it appears he has new hope. It is cool. We will move him past the honeymoon to maturity; the practice of righteousness.
What is called the Spirit is just a psychosomatic emotional response to my first realizations of God. Some never outgrow this and are junkies looking for a spiritual fix. I understand. It is a rush! I like it. I have really enjoyed this natural high and hyper-sensitivity. It was a lot of fun.
But the truth is I’ve had similar hormone slams from watching a triple jumping motocross racer, live jazz, and my first kiss. This takes nothing away from God or the experience but simply puts it in proper perspective.
It is all good, don’t you think?
Jesus is real and soon we will see Him….this will be a full on rush I suspect! I can’t wait!