There are moments in my home that can only be tidily described as chaos.
Last night, as my two youngest were building a fort in the bedroom, I heard some concerning-sounding thuds: “That was the bathroom mirror, Mom!” (Oh. I think that’s supposed to make me feel better?) There was also the repetitive, distinctive bleat of a kazoo, which I could have sworn I’d already thrown away. At least there was a lot of giggling, wrestling, and role-playing complete with foreign accents. (This time, at least, it was a good chaos.)
I thought of this today as I was thinking of the first time we actually hear of the Holy Spirit in Scripture: 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.
I learned this morning that the Hebrew for “without form and void” is tohu wa-bohu–literally waste and emptiness; a wildness. It was a watery desert, lacking purpose and beauty or life.
And this is what I love about the Holy Spirit showing up here in the second sentence of the Bible. He’s calling forth beauty and purpose and usefulness. He’s creating life out of disorder and confusion. He’s making something good out of chaos.
Ultimately, you could say that’s the job description that was then placed on Adam, on all people: To cultivate order and call forth life. I once heard Elisabeth Elliot quoted as saying that even the simple act of combing someone’s hair follows this command. But any mother will tell you: This world tends toward disorder far faster than we can subdue it. Whereas my chaos last night was a happy one–the overwhelming amount of the world’s disorder is crippling. Painful. Poisonous. We desperately need life-giving Breath of a supernatural caliber.
So how can we make our homes…the home of the Holy Spirit? I’m talking that life-giving, turmoil-consuming Force who’s always so much more than we could ever give Him credit for.
In a post like this, I’m conscious of reducing Him to something like fabric softener or a dishwasher, that’s just nice to have, or man, what did I ever do without that?! He who billowed the world into minutely-engineered perfection is not the kind of power we seek blindly.
Instead, understand that surrendering our homes to the Holy Spirit offers the reins to the very same Power that shook a house on its foundations in Acts. “Inviting Him into my home” is not like swinging open the door for any other guest. As C.S. Lewis might put it–He is good, but He is not a tame lion.
God, in my experience, is very rarely content with me keeping Him in His room with the door locked. And yet, the work of His Holy Spirit I liken to erosion, which carves canyons from rocks over years. He’s breathing life out of the ashes of my anger problem. Whispering into my teenager’s ear, convicting him in ways I’m sometimes shut out. Placing those reins (as opposed to the kibosh) on my mustang-hearted youngest, who is the kind of kid who once climbed onto the roof while I was gone. (See? Chaos.)
But to describe His influence on my family alone would turn a cataracted eye toward the aircraft carrier my home can be. Most of the evangelism in the book of Acts took place in homes! (See this important post on making your home an “open house.”) Rather than just going through some super-mom motions, I now have a clear Director of my home, of my agenda. It’s a home with a technicolor purpose.
Imagine your computer running out of juice. You’ve got a tremendous device, with capabilities to communicate all over the world: But unless it’s plugged in and connected to your wi-fi, you’ve got a pile of really expensive hardware. See, doing the right things for God in my home without the power source is just about as impotent as the Israelites seeking to tick off all God’s laws. Not only can I not do it all–I’m utterly inadequate to affect inside-out change without Him.
Opening my home–like a jar of clay, just asking to be filled–invites God’s life-giving energy to take my family, my community, my self–by storm. (Don’t miss this video by TheBibleProject.com for more thoughts about the Holy Spirit!)
Rather than leaving you with good thoughts and no call-to-action, what I propose is this: What if for a solid month, we asked the Holy Spirit to fill our homes and families? If 20,000 people read this post and 10,000 decided to do it, each having five people…that’s 10,000 homes, 50,000 people aflame, electrified for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Will you pray with us?