The Extravagant Spirit ...

Loved this writing about the Holy Spirit this morning ...

"This might be a skewed way to parse theology, but I think a chief sign of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is exactly this, this extravagance.

Where once we were wary, stingy, reluctant, we find ourselves big-hearted, spendthrift, daring.

That cold, closed hand of calculation and suspicion, once gripping and tugging us, warms and loosens and then - miracle! - starts nudging us outward.

We become simultaneously color-blind and bright-eyed, more discerning, but less bigoted. We lose naivete but gain compassion and will gladly spend ourselves and be spent for the kingdom of God.

We actually count it all joy when we go through trials of many kinds.

We stop envying others' successes and prosperity and start grieving their losses and shortfalls.

Our appetite for gossip and blame and self-vindication diminishes, while our hunger for the truth grows ravenous, and with it our desire to strengthen the faltering, praise the mighty, bless the lowly.

There's a lightness in our step, a steadiness on our feet, and if we don't dance more, at least we want to.

We become extravagant.

Where this quality is absent - where a follower of Jesus is chronically miserly and rigid, stiff-necked and scornful - the Spirit of God is dormant.

I know, of course, many happy pagans. I'm not suggesting that they are moved at the impulse of the Holy Spirit.

Other touchstones besides this are needed to 'test the spirits' and see if they are from God - purity of life, an attitude of servanthood and humility, a devotion to and imitation of Jesus.

But where some real and deep extravagance is missing in a follower of Jesus, it's a good guess that within that person the Spirit is quenched or grieved, or both."

(Mark Buchanan - Hidden in Plain Sight)

I have heard so many people talk about when and where they believe the Spirit of God is present and at work, but I have not heard much talk about "extravagance" being a sign of God's powerful and good presence.

I love this.

I see a certain kind of extravagance all around me this summer ... my yard, my gardens are overflowing, exploding with lush, leafy, flowering plants. It takes all my effort to contain the extravagance, lest it run amok and consume my entire yard.

Today, rather than bemoan the potential yardwork that lies ahead, I will let the flowering overflow remind me that where God's Spirit is, there is extravagance. And when God's Spirit is given free reign in a person's life, or in the life of a church congregation, one of the surest signs of that presence is wild, free, overflowing ... extravagance.

So beautiful ...

How might you live extravagantly today?

Tags: Worship, Living Truthfully, Celebration, Developing a Rule of Life