I recently read about a missionary couple sent to Israel. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem. After a few weeks, they noticed that a dove moved in the eave of the roof of their home. They took this as a sign of God’s favor over them in Israel. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they slammed the door or yelled at one another.
The dove is a shy, sensitive bird and in order to keep it at their home they needed to live peacefully and therefore adjusted their behavior in order to keep the dove as their houseguest.
R.T. Kendall writes about this story in his new book Holy Fire. I would strongly recommend it as a balanced, Biblical view of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. This past Sunday Pentecost was celebrated–the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the early church. On that particular day the believers received the Holy Fire of the Spirit and the Gospel went forward with signs and wonders from heaven. How I long to see Fire fall again on my needy soul and the struggling Bride of Christ.
But I wonder, perhaps before the Fire will descend, maybe we need to attract the Dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the one that empowered Jesus at His baptism (Matt. 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32). Notice the words of John 1:32-33:,
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ ”
Do you see the word “remain?” The Holy Spirit never left Jesus because Jesus never offended the sensitive person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless, obedient life that brought glory to the Father and attracted the anointing and power of the Spirit.
Have you experienced the Dove come upon you? There is no greater gift. There is a heavenly peace and a “joy unspeakable.” You don’t worry about time or the future, because you are engulfed in eternal love. This sweet anointing from the Dove empowers with a courage and boldness to live for the glory of God.
What is puzzling is He, referring to the Holy Spirit, doesn’t seem to stay or remain like He did on Jesus. Now don’t misunderstand if you are a child of God the Holy Spirit will never leave you (John 14:16). Yet the Scripture teaches it is possible to “grieve” and “quench” the Spirit by how we live. It is as if the Dove flies away, although the Spirit never leaves you, it feels like His manifest presence and anointing from heaven has vanished. Why is this so?
The next few weeks I’d like to wrestle with what causes the Spirit to seem to fly away and how we can prepare our hearts to attract His presence and anointing. Join me as we continue to search our hearts and cry out for the presence of the Dove.