Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This Is Not Your Room

Do you remember Turner and Hooch? Okay, we already know that I'm a sucker for movies about dogs, and this one was no exception. But there is one scene from that movie that really hit me last night. Or maybe it was that God hit me with that scene.

In the movie, Tom Hanks plays Turner, a neat-freak police chief in a small coastal town. His life is very well ordered, his suits always immaculate, his house free of dust. Then he brings Hooch home. Hooch is a mastiff, a big, thundering hulk of a dog who drools some kind of thick slime, and who messes up pretty much everything. But he has witnessed his master's murder. Hanks has to bring this drool machine home with him for safe-keeping.

The scene I remember has Turner taking Hooch through his house, and in each room he says, "This is not your room," or "This is also not your room." Then he locks Hooch in a little foyer or mud room and goes off to bed. Hooch, of course, proceeds to destroy the mud room and break free into the rest of the house where he wreaks havoc.

It hit me last night that we treat the Holy Spirit this way. The first Celtic Christians liked to call the Holy Spirit the "Wild Goose" because he came and went as he pleased and did as he pleased. There was no telling when the Wild Goose would show up or what he would do. They delighted in that name for the Spirit, in his unpredictability.

We, on the other hand, are a bunch of little Turners. We want the Spirit with us. Or at least, we feel we ought to have him with us (much like Turner in the movie). I mean, he's part of the package deal, isn't he? But once we bring him into our lives, we tend to drag him around our hearts and tell him, "This is not your room." We're unsure what he'll do. We don't really know what to make of him. In the end, we are so consumed with understanding the Spirit that we don't allow him into most of our lives. He's left in that back room, the little one where he can't do much damage.

We tell people we've invited the Spirit into our lives, but when we go to the office we tell him, "This is not your room." When we sit down at the computer and surf we say, "This is not your room." When we go into the kitchen for that snack we really don't need we say "This is also not your room." We don't want the mess. We don't want the unpredictability. We don't want our little world disturbed from its routine.

The sad, yet funny thing is that the Spirit is so powerful. He's a little like Hooch in that respect. The dog had the muscle to break through doors and chew furniture into matchsticks. And the Spirit has the muscle to break down our barriers and turn our strongest fears into faith, our most pervasive sins into obedience. But, unlike Hooch, he wants the invitation. He bides his time, waiting until we ask him to come in. When we do, it's usually because we've already made a mess of the place. We have nowhere else to turn.

Ask yourself: what would be the difference in your life if you gave the Spirit permission to enter all your rooms? To say, "Wild Goose, go where you want. Do what you will."

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