The Holy Spirit & 21st Century Insanity
“LORD, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest upon thy holy hill? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart” (Psalm 15:1,2).
“Why is Transgender Identify on the Rise Among Teens?” A scientist asks this in an article on Psychology Today. Gender Dysphoria is real. A man or woman feels terrible anxiety about his or her biological sex. An impulse to live as the opposite sex becomes overwhelming, and this impulse is felt by more and more children in our local schools. What is a man? What is a woman? What is marriage and family? These are not abstract questions in a university school room. These are common issues ravishing the lives of ordinary people today. Where is the Holy Spirit in all this? How can we untangle ourselves from our mess in the 21st century?
“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
Life is confusing nowadays. We live in a time when no one seems to know what up, down, left, or right means. Jesus Christ knew what the world would be and so ascended into heaven with a promise. He would not leave us in the world, in this mess, alone. He promised to be with us and to send us the Holy Spirit. We cannot underestimate the urgency of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
“When [the Holy Spirit] comes he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
Convict is a multilayered word. Eλέγξει τὸν κόσμον (in Greek) — “He will convict the cosmos.” Eλέγξει has a double meaning, both negative and positive. It implies that something is wrong and there will be consequences. “Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you [ἐλέγξει]. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the LORD your God” (Jeremiah 2:19:). This is why John 16:8 is often translated: “When [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world wrong,” or “prove the world wrong.” The Holy Spirit is the light that allows us to see through the insanity of our times, and to walk the straight and narrow path.
Convict, Eλέγξει, can also imply conversion. “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me [ἐλέγξει]; it shall be an excellent oil” (Psalm 141:5). The Holy Spirit convicts, but if our hearts are open, that conviction purifies and heals.
How does the Holy Spirit convict us? “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). This is astronomical. This is the Big Bang in Christian morality. We cannot take this scripture seriously enough. All the text books about ethics have nothing to offer compared to this. All those athletes and movie stars who, for some reason, God only knows, have become the experts on morality and politics…all their talk is smashed up by this verse. All our private opinions (you know, when we say, “Well, the Church says this, but I feel this…”), all that nonsense shows itself as nonsense in light of this scripture. We can only know truth and goodness when we are walking with the Holy Spirit.
You will have to excuse me for a nerd moment. Those of you who have read or seen The Lord of the Rings will remember the Battle at Helm’s Deep. Good and evil fight through the long night. Terrifying creatures swarm against the righteous, and there is no end to them. Then, with a sudden flash, the sun rises. Light reveals everything. Help has arrived. Evil is vanquished.
The Holy Spirit is like that light. When the Holy Spirit is in our lives it puts an end to the din of confusion. There are no more shades of grey. Everything is revealed and straightforward. What we are seeing in our culture today is life without the Holy Spirit. You cannot even watch a movie without being unsure who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Everything is murky and twisted. In our hearts, our homes, and our nation, the absence of the Holy Spirit opens the door to diabolical confusion. The presence of the Holy Spirit brings peace.
Let’s come back to our original question. Why is transgender identity on the rise? Why is there so much confusion about gender and sexuality? Why are people looking for happiness in lifestyles that were not even fathomed by our grandparents and their grandparents? People are suffering and people are lost. Why? We are lost except when we walk with the Holy Spirit.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-14).
Are you Woke? That is the catch line nowadays. Are you awake? Are you aware of what is going on? However pop culture means it, the true Woke Movement is waking up to the reality that we are hopeless without the Holy Spirit. Gender confusion and critical race theory are just the beginning of the unraveling in our culture. The farther we distance ourselves from Jesus Christ, the more our humanity disintegrates. When we cut ourselves off from these lies, and open up to God, he restores everything.
Where can we find peace, joy, and beauty in the 21st century? We will find all this when we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. We do not need to redefine gender, marriage, or anything. We do not need to live in a labyrinth of lies and confusion. 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit fell down as tongues of flame on the Christian community, and has ever since filled hearts with truth. This is the life that we can walk in the Church. The doctrines, the traditions, the worship and culture of Holy Orthodoxy — this is the path to sanity and serenity.