So I have begun my journey into Scot McKnight’s, soon to release, new book, The Blue Parakeet Rethinking How You Read the Bible. From the onset of the opening chapter my mind was set racing with various insights and questions, all circulating around the question: How are we to live out the Bible today?
McKnight begins by sharing the story from his youth when God truly gripped him, saying, “Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit.” I wasn’t particularly open to spiritual things, but for some reason I said that prayer…” (McKnight, 9). He goes on to share in some detail how this prayer changed and shaped his life.
This story begs the question, am I (are we) open to being filled by/with the Holy Spirit? Most likely many people asked that question would quickly respond with an emphatic, “Yes!” Yet to pray a prayer such as this ventures us to the edge of significant danger (in every sense). This is not a simple prayer by any stretch. It is however a dangerous prayer that I had to question myself if I was truly willing to pray.
Holy Spirit fill me (to use me). How quickly my mind turns to the Jonah-like aspects of my personality. I am confronted with the realities of my limited character, my fears and my judgements. Oh how I want to appear to say the right things, I would hope to want so much more to do the right things.
Is my (our) hesitation to fully pray this prayer a sign of our cultures weight bearing down upon us? Have we become impacted by our culture to such a degree that we are no longer agents of influence but rather receptors of influence? To pray, “Spirt fill me,” is to pray to be an agent of cultural influence. Here too, this affords a certain degree of risk on our part and one has to be willing or at least open to taking such a risk.
The question I will ask myself and you, is this; am I open (are you open)? Is the risk worth the reward? Is the potential dream of what might be greater than the comfort of what is?
Certainly how we live the Bible has a lot to do with our response and our willingness to pray such a prayer as, “Spirit fill me.” I have other thoughts from this first chapter, but I feel it best to leave them for now and offer them later in another post. So until that time, may you enjoy the holy wrestling in your spirit as you seek to live the Bible today.