“We don’t need the Holy Spirit. We have technology.”
Yes, someone actually said it. They said it in a church I attended years ago in a pre-computer, pre-Internet age when technology wasn’t all that it is today. And yes, I’m certainly hoping they said it tongue-in-cheek.
But the sentiment behind that statement rules in many of our local churches, district offices, national denominational headquarters, parachurch organizations and mission agencies. We are self-sufficent. We can do this. We don’t need help.
This Sunday morning our pastor referenced Judges 16:20 (italics added)
He [Samson] awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
Samson, who is more of an anti-role model in scripture, has had his hair [the source of his great physical strength in conjunction with his Nazarite vow] shaved off, and once again has been tied up as he has been in two previous tests of strength. This time around however, he’s not going to be able break free. Matthew Henry writes about this (paraphrased)
He couldn’t help but notice his missing hair as soon as he awoke, and yet said, “I will free myself as I always did before after waking up…” …Perhaps he thought to shake himself free even easier than with the previous tests, and that his head would feel lighter, now that his hair was cut, little thinking how much heavier the burden of guilt was than the weight of long hair. He soon found himself in a never-before-experienced predicament …and yet even then doesn’t have awareness that the Lord had departed from him: he did not consider that this was the reason for him being in a different state.
Many have lost the favorable presence of God and are not aware of it; they have done something that provoked God to withdraw from them, but are not aware of their loss, nor ever complain of it. Their souls atrophy and grow weak, their gifts fall into disuse, circumstances starts going wrong with them; and yet they don’t credit this to the right cause: they are not aware that God has departed from them, nor are they in any hurry to reconcile themselves to him or to gain back his favor. When God has departed we cannot continue in a ‘business as usual’ mode.
Pastor Jeff also shared this quotation from A. W. Tozer (emphasis added)
If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on, and no one would know the difference.
That’s a rather sad commentary. Does this happen? Is it possible that “God has left the building?” In Romans 8:38-39 Paul tells us,
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But there are things we can do to impair the relationship between us and Him. In a long article — that’s worth seeing — George Kirkpatrick lists some of these things:
1 – Grieving the Holy Spirit
2 – Wrath
3 – Clamor and Sowing Discord
4 – Evil Speaking
5 – Unbelief
6 – Following false prophets and false teachers
7 – Sexual sins
8 – Free thinkers
9 – Jealousy and Anger
10- Unequally yoked to unbelievers
11- Rebellion against God’s authority
If the Holy Spirit was taken out of your situation, your family, your community, or even your church, would anyone notice the difference?