Chapter 8: The Holy Spirit and You

My dad was a fanatic with jigsaw puzzles

He refused to look at the picture on the box, but plunged right into the pieces, first assembling the frame and then going for the dominant color. He trained me to recognize the nuances of sky and the gradations of grass. He knew the contours of the pieces, too.  I often saw him reach across the table for just the right piece. When I voiced surprise at how easily it slid into place, he protested, “Isn’t it obvious? It was the only one that would fit.”

Yesterday was his birthday. He would have been 89. Let’s do a puzzle together in his honor.

The Big Picture. Our puzzle is Romans 8. We get to spend a whole week on it. We hardly need to sneak a peek at the picture on the box. This is familiar territory. We know this chapter almost as well as we know Psalm 23.

We quote this chapter. In fact not too long ago Mark preached a sermon on the top three verses in this familiar chapter. Romans 8:28. Romans 8:32. Romans 8:38-39. I bet you can say them by heart.

We reassure ourselves from this chapter.  And no wonder. It starts with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation from his love.” In between those peaks it dips into our union with Christ, our adoption, our suffering, and our coming glory. This puzzle top shows a panoramic picture.

The missing piece. But have you ever read this chapter looking for the Holy Spirit? I haven’t. He is in there 19 times, but I never really noticed how pervasive he is, like the color red in a picture of a Swiss village in summer.

In some ways my failure to notice him is a symptom of the neglect he has  faced in the history of the church. That’s why Francis Chan’s book on the Holy Spirit is titled, “Forgotten God.”  The Holy Spirit can blend into the background of our Christian lives. We don’t deny him but some of us don’t really see him either.

Others of us have pulled the Holy Spirit piece out of the puzzle and placed him in a special place all by himself. We give him a lot of attention, but he’s not integrated with the rest of God’s picture.

Reassembling the puzzle.  This week we get to take the Holy Spirit piece out of the puzzle, study his contours, see his colors, and then put him back in the picture. I think we will be amazed at how he connects the dots for us. So many things we hold dear in our Christian life are a result of his Presence.

This week’s meditation verses. Romans 8:10 or pick your own.

Enjoy doing your puzzle!

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