Does the Holy Spirit Want to be the Center of Attention?

June 2017

A dear friend of mine is an excellent teacher and much-loved by our community, but he is also a very humble man who does not like it when people make a big fuss over him. In some ways, he’d like to be able to do his ministry and fade away without being praised. His being dragged into the limelight against his will recently, paired with the arrival of Pentecost, brought me a new insight about how the Holy Spirit might feel. The Holy Spirit is known as “the shy member of the Trinity”[1], but He is often fêted these days by those who tend to a more Charismatic or Pentecostal bent; and our more Spirit-focused siblings have brought Him to the attention of the rest of us. But the question is, does the Spirit really want to be the center of attention?

Consider, when Jesus introduces the Spirit to the disciples in John 14, Jesus makes the following statement: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.” (Joh 16:13-14 – HCSB) In speaking on this passage, C.H. Spurgeon makes the point that, “It is the chief office of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ.”[2] These statements make it clear that the Spirit, for all His indispensable ministry and power, prefers to be out of the limelight. It is also of note, that there is no prayer recorded in Scripture for the Holy Spirit to come to us. Neither is there any prayer in Scripture where anyone specifically asks God to send the Spirit on people; courage, yes, wisdom, yes, power, yes, but not the Spirit (see here the prototypical “Spirit prayer” in Ac. 4:23-31). Perhaps we need to rethink how we pray and how we glorify the Spirit, giving primacy to the One whom the Spirit glorifies and thanking Him for His silent, hidden ministry while allowing Him to stay out of the limelight.

Image credit: J.M. Diener | Easter Sunrise 2017 with Baloons from Cappadocia 
This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  • [1] Frederick Dale Bruner and William Hordern, The Holy Spirit: Shy Member of the Trinity. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984.
  • [2] Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Holy Spirit’s Chief Office”, The Spurgeon Archive < http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2382.php > (accessed 2017-05-30).