Sometimes, no, often times we are running and running and running way ahead of ourselves. And I think God's trying to tell us something. To slow down, to walk with Him because He's not going anywhere and He will lead us. But these slow movements for us are foreign. And it's this strange thing to realize you've completely forgotten to do something innate, something so human: to simply walk.
As I entered into the bounds of this conference, days set aside to dive into the depths of understanding the Holy Spirit, I found myself gravitating towards three key ideas with a posture of raised hands beneath the stars.
Love is a cosmic concept. I think the beauty of it is that love, at the core essence of it, is an ever-growing collection of definitions. And the more we delve into the myriad of meanings, the closer we get to God's love for us, because His love mysteriously and wondrously overwhelms our human grasp of it.
Glenn Packiam's session of "Understanding the Gifts of the Spirit," revolved around its central theme: that the gifts are signs of the grace of God for the sake of others. I was intrigued by the fact that Pastor Glenn chose not to list the gifts. It laid the foundation of understanding that the gifts of the Spirit are just that: things that are given to us, not from us. His emphasis was on the internal desire for the external demonstration of God's work and His heart to be revealed to others. He urged us to declare more of a "yes" in our lives, that these proclamations of ours would first and foremost recognize the Holy Spirit moving us so He can multiply us.
If we love God, we must love His children, and that means celebrating the diversity of the body. Whether it's recognizing gifts, ethnicities, cultures, languages, passions, etc., when we celebrate the cache of contrast, we are nearing closer to loving God with our entirety next to one another.
Peter David Gross participated in a Q&A session on the topic of spiritual maturity. At first, I was confused. I've always been keen on pursuing an idyllic ideal in my relationship with God, one that is filled with childlike awe and wonder. The one with a sparkle in the eye, the big open field that illustrates intimacy with the Father, the poignant beauty of claiming joy in the midst of sorrow. So how can we reconcile childlike wonder with spiritual maturity? I learned, in fact, it's not impossible considering Christianity is a paradox in itself.
The art of growing up perpetually falls, fails, and follows into eternality. The word "growth" means "the process of increasing." It is a process. Growing up takes time, it remembers the past, but it looks to the future. And it experiences change. In creating us, God revealed His intention with us: to be cultivators of the good things He had created. When man fell, that became an impossible standard. However, as Gross said, "to be like a child, to be like Jesus, means being something different from it." In order to be like God, we need the Holy Spirit. Only by Him will we be able to move into greater maturity while making movements like a child who is eternally enthralled by the work of God.
"Walking Witnesses," by Glenn Packiam nearly had me in tears. He said, "our walking in the Spirit is how we witness." It seemed to tie in all the ideas together. We must love God to love others to live a life of witnessing. However, we cannot do it without walking in the Spirit. Uncovering the role of the Holy Spirit as the Giver of Life leads us into an epiphany: that the life the Spirit gives us, is the life of God in us.
Wednesday night, Pastor Glenn reminded us to keep in step with the Spirit. To not grow weary. To walk to become witnesses of God's work.
And that work starts in us.
Whether you've been awakened from a state of idleness and numbness, or are catching your breath from running too hard, let's try to walk. Let's focus on putting one foot in front of the other, matching the rhythm of our God. And let Him lead us.
Let's allow Torrey Conference 2017: PNEUMA to remind us of our first steps. To love. To grow up. To walk.