Disclaimer: When I speak of “wizards,” I specifically mean the kind portrayed in the Potter series.
As I was watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace last night, I realized there is a striking commonality between young Jedi and young wizards—there is some force or power in them from very young that can be sensed by those more experienced in their craft. This, of course, got me thinking about my faith, the Christian faith, and how we too have a force or power within us. We aren’t necessarily born with it; rather, we have a choice to invite this force/power into ourselves at whatever age. The force/power has been referred to as different names throughout history, but today we usually call it, the Holy Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit? Well, to put the matter simply, the Holy Spirit is God. Specifically, one of the three aspects of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When Christ ascended to Heaven after his resurrection, God didn’t leave us alone. He sent His Spirit to dwell in those who placed their trust in His Son. This way, wherever they were, whatever they were going through, God could be (can be) right there with them (us). Christ even said that it is better for us that he leave and God send the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit can be with everyone who invites him into their hearts wherever they are at all times.
I know this concept is hard to grasp—it’s hard to explain. Here is what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and what the Spirit provides for us when we invite Him in:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ~ Jesus, John 14:26 ESV
…The Holy Spirit teaches up and helps us to remember.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ~ Romans 8:26 ESV
…The Spirit helps us when we are weak. He prays for us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
… The Spirit slowly grows us and makes us into better people.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
… With the Spirit we are set free. From what? Well, many things. Things that are holding us back or destroying us. Ultimately, eternal death because when we invite the Spirit in, it means that when our bodies die we will go on to live forever.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ~ Acts: 1:8 ESV
…The Holy Spirit gives us power.
So, if we want the Spirit in us, how do we go about “inviting him in”? Here are two verses that may help us to understand this process and then I’ll tell you what I did:
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 2:38 ESV
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! ~ Luke 11:13 ESV
This is how it worked for me in the CliffNotes version:
When I was 19, I felt broken and lost. I wasn’t so sure life was really all it was cracked up to be or if I could ever really have lasting joy. A friend persistently invited me to church despite my not believing in God. That first day I felt a jolt of joy in my heart, so I went back the next weekend to get another jolt, and then the one after that. The third weekend the pastor told his story. I connected with the story. When they asked for those who wanted to “repent” (a fancy word for “change your life”), and go Christ’s way, I went up. What I was doing wasn’t working, and I really felt something different in this place. I prayed what is referred to as the “salvation prayer,” which is basically asking forgiveness for our sins (every bad thing we’ve ever done) and telling God we believe in Christ and that we are going to do our best to follow His Ways instead of our old ways (we are going to change the way we live to slowly but surely match more and more up with the way Christ lived.)
Okay, so I did that and then…. Crickets. Things did change. I did have more hope now that I had faith, but I wasn’t really changing the way I lived.
Fast forward to a few months before my 22nd birthday. I’ve hit rock bottom again, only now I know the answer and thankfully a friend reminded me of that answer. I went back to church, where I was volunteering but not attending, and sat in on a YA Bible study. I loved it. And then the people in the group invited me out to dinner. I got to see how they lived. How tight they were as friends. The joy in their lives. I wanted that.
I don’t think I missed a week. I started reading my Bible and learning a lot. I made a ton of new friends, and brought my old friends to the group as well. Eventually I realized I wanted and needed to get baptized, but every time the church was having baptisms I was out of town visiting law schools to see where I wanted to go. Frustrated and knowing I wanted to take this step, I called in and special requested a baptism on August 12, 2007—one week before I left for law school. The pastor baptized me in the “name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” I can’t explain how, but from that moment on things were different. I’m not saying I didn’t have the Spirit in me from that first prayer; but I sure did feel like the Spirit was with me after being baptized.
Note: I’m not saying the only way to receive the Spirit is through baptism. This is my story of how things worked for me. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
So if you want to be part of this Christ-thing like Luke was part of the Jedi-thing and Harry was part of the wizard-thing, my advice is to pray to God and ask Him for His Spirit and then go from there. The thing is that though Jedi and wizards are born with their power, they have to go to school to cultivate it so that they can benefit from having powers. What I’m trying to say: What use is it to have the Spirit if we can’t use it because we don’t know how to? So, get the Spirit and then get the text book (Bible) and go to work on becoming a Christian Jedi. 😉
P.S. ~ From what I’ve learned “Christian” was a name persecutors called Christ followers. It means, “little Christ.” Meaning not that the people just believed in Christ but that they strove to emulate Christ in the way they lived. Many people today call themselves “Christians” but they aren’t necessarily trying to emulate Christ in their lives. Don’t let their actions push you away from Him. He is not them. I can call myself Batman, but that doesn’t make me a lick like him if I don’t try to emulate the way in which he lived out his life.