Sometimes what looks true isn’t always the Truth. Like the recent snappy pop-up window that promised to speed up the performance of my computer, it looked authentic. After all, my Mac was getting a bit slow, so why not go for the quick fix?
So I did it. Without investigating further, I signed up for the easy service that promised to protect me and my computer. I opened the door wide and invited it in—only I didn’t just get a new program, I got all the adware and malware and a whole host of other “wares” that quickly took over my operating system.
It wasn’t a virus. Just a bad idea. Pretty soon, there was a number to call on my screen that promised to help, but that call connected me to a very insistent foreign man who wanted to scare me by saying that all my information was about to be destroyed if I didn’t give him control of my computer—now. When I said I wanted more information before proceeding, he forcefully countered, “Who do you know? Who do you know that can help you now?”
Well, certainly not this guy—and I hung up.
My next call? My first ever to the authentic support team for my brand of computer, where I confessed my complete stupidity…and waited for the condescending tone of the expert who is worn out from endless days of not-so-bright people like me.
But that wasn’t at all what happened. I met Daniel.
When I told Daniel the product I had purchased, his first response was “I’m so sorry. That’s probably not been a fun experience for you.” Maybe he didn’t hear right. I did this Daniel. I did this stupid action of my own free will. Aren’t you at least going to give me a bit of a well-deserved lecture?
No, he wasn’t. Instead, he continued, “Hey, no worries. I’ve become a champ at this one, because lots of folks have done this. I’ll help you get this mess taken care of, show you some new nifty things about your computer and get your security improved so it doesn’t happen again.”
And he did.
With a couple of clicks, he was able to see my screen and showed me what to do. He walked me through every step and told me how it worked. During the long pauses while my computer had to reboot a couple of times, we chatted about the funny aspects of technology. And thirty minutes later, my problem wasn’t just solved, but my computer was safer and I was significantly wiser.
After I hung up the phone, it struck me: Encountering Daniel was like encountering the nature of the Holy Spirit.
How many times have I opened my mind and heart to things that seemed true, but weren’t the Truth? The myriad of occasions where I’ve entertained a thought that wasn’t pure, peaceable or full of good fruits about myself or others. And then, it took root and began to spread into a mindset that wasn’t like the true nature of God at all, invading my perceptions and warping my perspectives.
That justifiable judgment or self-centered opinion seemed pretty harmless at first, until it became more pervasive—at which point I wanted to change my mind. So I’d try really, really hard not to think like that, but in focusing on the negative, it only seemed to expand. All I encountered was the condemnation and threats of the Accuser who wanted to say, “Who’s going to help you now? After all, YOU let this in!”
I didn’t need to be shamed into trying harder to change away from where I’d been.
I needed to repent towards the One Who transforms us into His image as we continue to encounter it.
Repentance: It’s like calling Kingdom Support.
The Holy Spirit answers with a peace-filled voice and listens when we say we’re sorry. He’s not going to tell you what’s wrong with you, but what’s missing, and He’ll assure you that He’s an expert in providing it. He’s the Teacher and the Helper for a reason, here to instruct us in the right way to go when we get off track (Isaiah 30:21).
When we’ve sinned: acted poorly, opened the door to a negative or been less than who God created us to be, we usually know we messed up. Heaps of condemnation only bury us further and it’s not from Him (Romans 8:1). The Holy Spirit turns on the Light and convicts us with goodness, knowing it’s the only real path to choosing to go a different way (the meaning of “repentance”). His kindness opens our hearts and we feel safe—not afraid. There is no fear in love and God is love (1 John 4:8).
Like talking with Daniel, we leave our times of divine conversation with Him feeling more brilliant, not less. God has walked us through the steps of our own unique process to trash the lies that need to go and download His Truth that will take us higher. We’ll end the encounter actually better than we were before, more protected, not just back to normal.
Is all of this a rather simplistic way of looking at an infinite God? In many ways, yes. The Holy Spirit’s power and the depths of the love of Christ go far, far beyond such an earth-bound comparison. But the same Jesus who used mustard seeds and children clamoring into His lap as examples of eternal truths still delights in taking every day occurrences and using them to help us see more of what He is really, really like.