The Spirit (wind – ruach – pneuma) can be described as the God’s creative power giving new life to dead things as in Ezekiel’s "valley of the dry bones" (see Ezekiel 37:1-14).
- First, speak to dem bones. Instead of using the divine hand to raise up those scattered bones, God insists that the feat will be accomplished in part by the prophet’s voice. And once Ezekiel spoke to dem bones, the transformation from bones-to-bodies took place so rapidly that our ears are assaulted with the rattling racket of thousands of bones.
- Second, blow on dem bones. Ezekiel now stood before a lifeless sea of corpses: for "there was no breath in them" (v. 8). God’s instructed this prophet to call upon the divine breath of life carried from the four corners of God’s creation.
- Third, set dem bones. The Greek term for setting bones is derived from the same Greek root we translate as "to equip." Ezekiel was a bone-setter himself. Ezekiel equipped his frightened, depressed, beaten, landless people with God’s vision of a hopeful future.
Creative Power may be described as the Spirit’s power which makes
"living things create," rather than "create living things." God says
through Ezekiel "I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit
within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give
them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my
ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be
their God" (Ezekiel 11:19-20) and "a new heart I will give you, and a
new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the
heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
- Spirit’s creative power as indwelling. Paul writes to Timothy
"all Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV), that is, true
creativity brings divinity to mundane tasks.
- Spirit’s creative power as invading. David sang of God flying
"upon the wings of the wind" (2 Samuel 22:11, NRSV) as a reminder that
we can be swept along by the winds of this world or swept up by the
wing of God
Quotes on the Spirit’s Creative Power:
- Len Sweet relates the time he saw a plaque in a pastor’s office
with the words "Christianus sum" and listed below was a name and the
dates 1967-1977. The Latin pointed to Justin Martyr’s proclamation "I
am a Christian" just before he was beheaded (165 C.E.). Len knew the
claim, but asked about the name and date. The name pointed to a young
parishioner who had died of cancer. One time his mother was rushing him
to the hospital and she had to slam on the brakes to avoid another car.
She said to her son, "Why don’t you curse that car for me." He replied,
"I can’t mom. I am a Christian" (see Leonard Sweet, New Life in the
Spirit, 1982, p. 20).
- In our time we often note how young people are moved to
conformism. Yet, even as adults, peer pressure often forces conformism
upon us. We fail to follow Paul’s admonition "Do not be conformed to
this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that
you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable
and perfect" (Romans 12:2, NRSV). Charles Finney, 19th century
revivalist, listed ten consequences of being filled with the Holy
Spirit in his Lectures on Revivals in Religion (1835, see Lecture VII).
Number one? "You will be called eccentric; and probably you will
deserve it. Probably you will really be eccentric. I never knew a
person who was filled with the Holy Spirit that was not eccentric."
- Robert Louis Stevenson said it this way, "To know what you
prefer, instead of humbly saying ‘Amen’ to what the world tells you, is
to have kept your soul alive."
- A final note. Our unique character is united into the One Body of
Christ by the same Holy Spirit that gives creativity. Conformity in the
body is a sign of spiritual illness, not health. Pay attention to the
testimony of the earlier church. There number included persons of every
know nationality (see Acts 2:7-11), they had seasons of conflict (see
Acts 15), but they trusted the Holy Spirit. Note how James’ obligation
for Gentile Christians begins: "For it has seemed good to the Holy
Spirit and to us …" (Acts 15:28).