Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In a famous musical, Julie Andrews sings that the beginning is a “very good place to start”—and we will follow her advice! Before diving further into the Holy Spirit’s work in the New Testament, it will be good for us to go back to the Old Testament, as the curtain opens on creation, where we are first introduced to the Spirit of God. Stepping deep into the past will help us see our present encounters with the Holy Spirit by the glow of a fresh, yet ancient light.
As the pen is ready in the writer’s hand, and the book of Genesis is about to come to life, heaven’s Author makes a choice. It is an artistic word-choice that God knows will frame for us his essential character—and will help us understand the ongoing nature of the Spirit’s work.
“In the beginning God created . . .”
Let that verb, created, ring in your heart. The Spirit of God is creative. For God to be creative means that God is a maker, a masterful, astounding, and even playful artist of the most magnificent kind. And when the beauty that God the Artist creates, like you and I, becomes blemished, distorted, shamed, confused, or shattered, he moves into the mess (John 1:14) to guide the process of restoration until all things are made new (Rev. 21:5).
Many years ago I was at a worship event where individuals were invited to stand if they needed prayer. We were encouraged to not just pray for these women and men out of our human compassion, but to first be silent, together, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us before any talking or praying was done. I went over to a man that I felt prompted to pray for, and asked if I could put my hand on his shoulder. He nodded yes, and as I looked into his eyes I could see he was carrying some very heavy burdens.
We waited together, as brothers in Christ, in silence. After a few moments, I shared a scripture or two, and we waited a few more minutes. Then an image began to form in my mind, a moving picture of a black stallion, running across a beach. I sensed it was from the Lord, so I shared it with him. He immediately began to cry. I took that as a clue that the Holy Spirit was doing something in his heart that neither of us fully understood.
After praying together for 20 minutes, guided by this image and the scriptures and metaphors it evoked, we finished. The man opened his eyes and looked at me, his countenance now bright and a wide smile on his face. “Do you know what I do for a living?” he said. I shook my head no.
“I work with horses!” He went on. “Do you know what my favorite movie of all time is?” I had a wild guess. He said, “The Black Stallion!” We laughed out loud together at the creativity of the Holy Spirit—opening his heart to receive healing by showing a stranger his favorite movie! We were both humbled as we stood together, thanking God for his grace and goodness.
Creating and re-creating is God’s way, the Spirit’s modus operandi. We can expect the work of the Holy Spirit of God to always be both beautiful and creative—in us and through us.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. Your creative work in my life can sometimes be confusing, but I have seen time and time again how it all comes together for my good. Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to partner with you in your creative and restoring work in my own life, and in the lives all around me.
What is your favorite miracle in the Gospels, and how do you see God’s creativity at work as he draws hearts to himself?
For the Awakening,