Footprints in the Sand
by Burk Parsons
The Holy Spirit leaves no footprints in the sand. He is not a physical being. He has no body or form, no hands or feet. He is invisible — He cannot be seen, and He cannot be heard. He is a spirit, and we have fashioned Him in our likeness — in the likeness of man.
We make the Holy Spirit whatever we want Him to be. Depending upon our mood, we make Him out to be our great genie up in the sky, or we make Him our buddy who can get us anything we want. Perhaps that’s why the Holy Spirit is so popular these days. At any time of day or night I can turn on my television and watch self-proclaimed faith-healers call down the Holy Spirit to heal people and make them rich. “Health and wealth,” they proclaim; just imagine, and the Holy Spirit will grant you whatever your heart fancies. If you want a bigger car or a larger house, don’t be bashful — demand it, they say. Unfortunately, those who demand such things of the Holy Spirit are more likely to receive greater judgment rather than a bigger car.
The Holy Spirit’s popularity is not a new thing, however. Throughout history, His popularity has risen and fallen with every historic turn of events. We remind ourselves of His power when we want something, we seek Him when we’re desperate, and we forget about Him whenever things are going our way.
Just as we have fashioned Him according to our likeness, we have also blasphemed Him. We have disguised ourselves by associating ourselves with a divine being who cannot be seen, heard, or held. Yes, He is a spirit, but He is not merely a spirit. He is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, and there is a reason He is called holy. He is not a creature, and He cannot be fashioned according to our likeness. Rather, He lives within us and fashions us according to His likeness in order that we might be holy as He is holy. And He does this so that we might live coram Deo, before His face in worship and adoration.
The Holy Spirit has never been so popular, yet He has never been more misunderstood. The doctrine of the person and work of the Holy Spirit is not some distant teaching that we can relegate to the pages of dusty systematic theology books. The Holy Spirit is not some ghostly being who floats around looking for someone to fill. And although He is a spirit, He is not silent, and He is not deaf. He hears our every word and has spoken the eternal Word of God in the pages of sacred Scripture. He is our great Comforter in whom we have been sealed until the Day of Redemption.