SPACES – INCARNATING SPACE
When we learn history, it is quite helpful to learn dates, events, places. Think back to when you were in school, sitting in history class, taking notes, furiously scribbling down dates to memorize. You’re matching the capitals to the states, trying to piece together places in the world like a puzzle, matching events to dates, all the while not really getting a glimpse of the how and the why of what actually happened. But you study, remember that history for the test, and then move on to the next thing. We usually just memorize those, though. What gives us understanding is the context of those aforementioned things. Understanding happens best when we get context.
Let’s use, for example, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. If we begin at Creation, we get to see how God always was, and that in the awesome expanse of His being, He created the earth out of nothing. However, He always was, and thus it helps us to get a better grasp of how and why He created. Genesis 1:2 says this: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. The Spirit of God was over everything that was and from that He made things specifically, all the way down to man and woman in His Image.
Fast forward quite some time after The Fall, and God recognizes that the only way to redeem His creation is to come in the flesh, to incarnate, and be the Spirit in person (Jesus). The virgin Mary is with child from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18) and gives birth to the Savior. Luke 4:1 lets us know that He’s not only full of the Spirit, but led by and obedient to the Holy Spirit: And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. Jesus begins His mission with obedience to the Holy Spirit, and models for us the method, the humility, the serving, and the cost of doing the Father’s will.
Then, after He’s completed living life-on-life with three close disciples, and life-in-community with the twelve, He lays out what life-on-mission looks like with the Holy Spirit. He completes the mission for which He came and says for us to do the same. But we don’t have to do it in a vacuum. We don’t have to wander around wondering just how to go about it. And we certainly do not have to rely on ourselves, for His incarnation has not only given us the perfect example, but His promise to leave us something even greater He reveals in John 14:15-17; 25-27, when He says,
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
So our understanding of Jesus is the same. When we begin to see that God came in the flesh at a particular time, and dwelt in particular spaces, it helps give purpose to our lives as followers of Jesus. Jesus filled every space with His Glory, obeying everything that His Father asked Him to do and only did it through the power of the Holy Spirit. If God did that–for us–how do you think that we are to then live? Incarnating our space(s) is the mission; it is the Spirit in us that helps us to do that in the proper context.
- What does the Incarnation mean to you?
- What can we learn about the mission of God through the Incarnation?
- Think of some ways that we may be able to incarnate some of our spaces with the gospel.
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” –Luke 10:21-22
So now we may go and incarnate space through the Holy Spirit, listening and obeying for we have all we need in Him.