40 Days with the Holy Spirit by Jack Levison
If you know Jack Levison, you know that he is chalk full of good writing on the Holy Spirit. In his new book, 40 Days with the Holy Spirit, he boils down some very good devotions for us to meditate on the Holy Spirit. The book combines scriptural passages, prayers, even exercises for us to work through, giving us a fully orbed view of the Holy Spirit. Overall, the book is simple yet profound, small but weighty, challenging yet understandable. Jack gives us grace here, challenges us to see the Spirit’s work as overwhelming, but also reigns us in to see how the Bible comes alive with witness to the Spirit.
Jack gets to the uneasiness of sonship and slavery by writing, “I’m not so sure I understand this contrast because sometimes I am stuck in the middle between sonship and slavery, like a domestic on a British landowner’s estate, consigned to drudgery downstairs in order to serve people upstairs. I’m not quite a slavey but not exactly a son, I inhabit a world where I am free to go but also obligated to stay, to get the job done day in and day out…God’s passion for you isn’t a response to your expert attention to obligations. God’s passion lies in a primal love for us, sons and daughters who respond in faith with only one word that matters: Abba (39-40)!” Jack gets to the heart of the weightiness of life’s frenetic pace and our familial relationship to God with this quote. Yet, he brings us back to God’s love.
Jack points us to a wonderful thing in speaking about the Spirit and truth on Day 19. He writes, “Jesus teaches that study and spirituality, a vibrant spiritual life and a life of learning, go hand in hand (71).” Should we pray earnestly for fruits of the spirit and spiritual gifts? Yes. But, in spirit and truth we worship God, and this involves learning the great truths of the faith. Learning does not necessarily impede the outpouring of spiritual gifts but enhances our spiritual experience of God. Truth and Spirit are two sides of the same coin, two elements in worship that are never to be torn apart.
You will be encouraged by this book, by the prayers alone, and your own wrestling with and reflecting upon the Holy Spirit.
Thanks to Paraclete Press for this book in exchange for an honest review.