Pretty much every time I sit down at my retro Mac to write a post for "Blog In My Own Eye," I pray that God will inspire me through His Holy Spirit; that He will not let me mislead others; but instead that He will use me to draw others closer to Him - and me along with them.
It's something I've done for about the last year year and a half of my blogging endeavors, after a time when I was wistfully remembering how Mike Cope would begin each of his sermons during our tenure at Highland with the prayer that God would "pour through me the gift of preaching."
I don't believe that such a prayer - for Mike, or me, or anyone else - is a solid guarantee that God will answer with a sudden earth-trembling wind-stirring inrush of holy inspiration and an infallible prevention of error and an inarguable gift of persuasion.
But I do believe it's a good place to start.
I think it'd be a good place for everyone who shares The Story to start. I'll go further than that. I think it's dangerous for anyone to speak, ostensibly on God's behalf, without the assistance of His Holy Spirit.
We make His indwelling such a thing of ultimate mystery; of fear and even dread - perhaps that we'll somehow lose control of ourselves and become scripture-spouting lunatics, or glossalalic-babbling weirdoes, or just some of those glassy-eyed people who murmur intense blessings on you when you check out at their register at Lifeway Book Store. Or the notion of His home in our hearts may be a thing of doubt - maybe that we're not sure when we are or aren't indwelt by Him or whether we're speaking by His inspiration.
While there is certainly an element of mystery and depth to the Spirit that we may never understand, I believe that what scripture says of the way He lives within us is fairly simple and direct.
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. - I Corinthians 12:3-7
The mention of the name "Jesus" is no guarantee of the Spirit's inspiration. (I hope you can deduce that by watching Televangelical TV.) But no one who tells The Story and proclaims Him as Lord and lives out that Story in service can do so by any other means.
I believe that the Spirit's inspiration is no more complicated than that.
People today are inspired as were people of century one A.D. It's expressed in their writing, their speaking, their art, their music ... now just as it was then.
I haven't seen the manifestation's of the Spirit's presence that most folks call "miraculous." I haven't seen the blind made to see, or the deaf to hear, or the lame to walk, or the dead to rise. I do see in scripture a tapering-off of those incidents as years pass in century one. But I also try to keep an open mind about century twenty-one.
What I do see are miraculous results of the Spirit's residency.
People are still persuaded that God loves them enough to have sent His Son to live and die and live again for them, so much so that they resolve to die to themselves and live for Him and for others.
Isn't that miraculous?
And the effects - unlike a wonderful but temporary healing of the body - are an eternal healing of the soul.
I do see and hear and read extraordinary insights into the deeper meaning of scripture - some of those insights already centuries old, but later than century one; others in blogs written and sermons shared and lives lived in the past few months and weeks and days. I believe they are inspired by the same Spirit.
Should they be in the canon of scripture?
In a sense, I believe they are. God remembers them. And I think He wants us to share them, just as Paul did before judges and governors and kings. Our stories as believers are part of the ongoing Story of Christ; the way He works in and through our lives. Now, I believe the canon to be complete due to its sufficiency of truth. (Scripture was never intended to convey all truth - the atomic weight of artificially-induced elements, for instance; or the meaning of a half-smile on your beloved's face.)
Yet Christ living in us is a story that has great power, and is a worthy supplement to the gospels of scripture.
Just like the epistles.
And, like the subtitle of my blogging buddy Matt Elliott's blog says: "Every day I write the book."