By Bob Bunn
In my Dad’s house, an old grandfather clock sits in the hallway near the bottom of the steps. Every fifteen minutes, its majestic chimes go off. And every sixty minutes, it booms the appropriate number of times, so you never have to wonder about the hour.
When I was a kid, I loved hearing that clock. And if I kept my bedroom door open, I could even hear the pendulum clicking back and forth downstairs. It was steady, and, in a way, it was comforting. No matter how strange things were in my life as a child or teenager, the back-and-forth of the pendulum was consistent.
Of course, the swinging of some metaphorical pendulums can be disorienting—even disturbing. Instead of consistency, they create dramatic and confusing swings from one side to the other. That’s the image that comes to my mind when I think about the different ways believers approach the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
On one end of the spectrum, some Christ followers emphasize the Spirit’s gifts and power. On the other end, some give Him lip service but never acknowledge His impact on their daily lives. So, even within the body of Christ, the pendulum swings back and forth.
Scripture, though, encourages a holistic understanding of the Holy Spirit which honors His role in the Trinity. In his letter to the Romans, Paul pointed out that the Spirit works with the Father and Son to do what we could not do for ourselves (Romans 8:1–4). He plays an active role in releasing us from sin and setting us free to follow Christ. Moreover, He empowers us to live as Christ’s followers daily.
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus shared that the Spirit would come as a Counselor (John 14:15,26). The Greek term John used refers to a legal advisor, an advocate who walks alongside a defendant through every twist and turn of a trial. That’s what the Spirit does. He’s always there for us and provides the same wisdom and discernment that Jesus provided during His time on earth.
For believers, the Holy Spirit is the gift that keeps on giving. Even after more than two millennia, He continues to lead and direct God’s people. He’s the steady, reliable voice who gives us everything we need in this broken and fallen world.
For a lot of Christians, the Holy Spirit feels mysterious and unknown. But Scripture is clear that Jesus sent the Spirit to minister to His people until He returns. That means He is there for you, regardless of the stresses and struggles you encounter. You don’t have to swing to one side of the pendulum or the other to get your relationship with Him right. Walking in step with the Spirit through regular time in the Word, prayer, and community teaches us to trust His steady presence, knowing He will provide exactly what you need when you need it (Galatians 5:1).