What We Need Is A Living Guide.
As a Quaker, I am often challenged about the fact that I honor the Spirit of God as the ultimate Guide and final authority and not the church, (as does the Catholic faith) nor the Scriptures (as does the Protestant faith). The argument goes like this, “If you let only the Spirit tell you what is right, it could lead you anyplace, but if you are led by the Bible (Catholics say the church) it will lead everyone to the same faith in Christ.” But I must ask, why is the Spirit of God so mistrusted as Guide?
Many feel that unity is only possible if the rules (no matter their source) are laid out and enforced. When the reality is that everyone I know who gives free course to the Spirit of God share a unity in Spirit and faith and doctrine, while the people who have turned their doctrine over to men or printed pages of a Bible are divided on nearly every doctrinal issue! No, if we are honest in our evaluations, we will find that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is unity. That cannot be said about the greatest and most obedient members of churches, or about those most devoted to Bible study.
What makes people afraid to give the reigns of their lives to Christ? Why do they trust a book or a church full of men more so than they do the Spirit of God? Why will we believe what Jesus said and mistrust what He says? Why is it so difficult to accept a living, Spiritual Christ and readily accept a Christ of 2000 years ago? Why is it easier to believe what Jesus said, written down more than 60 years after he said it? We trust what was mouth to ear, and then copied out untold times in different languages, translated by people we do not know, printed, copied, and edited numerous times by people of questionable character, and yet we will accept that as a standard and not even seek the risen, living Savior for guidance for fear of being misled.
What an abundance of knowledge awaits the honest seeker, the pure of heart, the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness if only they were directed to the well of Living water, the Spirit of the living God! The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to teach and to guide; yet we go only by what we can understand – words on a page that we can point to and declare ourselves “right” and “just.” We gravitate toward the tangible and the controllable. We want only what we can manipulate and use to our advantage. The Holy Spirit is no such a guide. He is not manipulated or controlled and therefore…is not sought.
From early childhood we are anxious of what is beyond our dimension of understanding, and we fear what we cannot control. Whether this fear is learned behavior, a reasoned reaction or an innate response is debatable, but one thing is for sure, we are guilty of not turning seekers of God toward the Spirit. Instead, we send them toward churches and people, books and teachers, memberships, fellowships and rules and doctrines.
We should feel shame for teaching that Jesus is unreachable or only accessible through the intercession and efforts of men. Jesus is alive and well and fully capable of meeting with any and all who seek Him. He can guide and direct a man’s life with finer and finer precision. He can pilot our ship through this hostile atmosphere safely and accurately, but He must have the controls. He does not need to know the consensus of others who have flown here, nor does He need the manual read to Him as He flies, just let Him do what He does best – pilot us!
When the disciples thought that they had encountered Jesus as a ghost, they were astonished. They were frozen and wondered what it was that they were seeing. Fear gripped them and they soon were deafened and stricken dumb with thoughts racing through their mind. Thoughts of spirits and ghosts were now taking the place where there were previously only thoughts confined to the tangible, touchable and “real.” What caused this fear to grip them? The appearance of Christ had interposed another dimension in their thinking.
Peter and Cleopas had just returned with the news of the risen Savior.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:36-43)
It is obvious that Jesus wanted to prove to them that He was not a ghost. He, everything that He ever was, His mind, His body, and His Spirit, had risen to be Him again. He was not a spirit; He was exactly as they knew Him to be.
People are still afraid of Spirits
These men, however, were afraid when they thought He was a spirit. Much as we are when we find comfort in the tangible Christ, He who existed two millennia ago. Our fear of the Spirit of God as teacher comes from this fear of what we cannot touch and control. We all know that the Spirit goes where it wants to, and we hope to always end up with plenty of company around us, believing what can be considered orthodox, doing what could be understood as “normal” and living a life not too far from center. Well, forget it! The Spirit of God is not an option as your Teacher; He IS your Teacher. He is not one of several Guides; He IS the Guide promised by the Lord Himself.
Some think that the Bible says,
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the BIBLE will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send THE BIBLE unto you. And when THE BIBLE is come, IT will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…Howbeit when IT, THE BIBLE, is come, IT will guide you into all truth…”
But it does not say that.
Excerpt from, “The Questions of Jesus,” by Don C Harris, Q. 145 “Why are ye troubled?” (Luke 24:38, “And [Jesus] said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?“