The “Floodlight Ministry” of the Holy Spirit

In Michael Haykin’s recent book on biblical spirituality, The God Who Draws Near, he elaborates on J.I. Packer’s description of the Holy Spirit’s ministry as “a floodlight ministry”:

Since 1985 I have had the privilege nearly every year of teaching at Seminaire Baptiste Evangelique du Quebec, in Montreal, Canada (SEMBEQ), the French Fellowship Baptist seminary in the west end of Montreal, located on Gouin Boulevard. The building that houses the seminary used to be a school and is located in a prestigious area of the West Island of Montreal. I recall vividly one summer night after I had taught all day. I had decided to go for a walk in the neighbourhood. I noticed that a good number of the owners of the wealthy homes in the area had strategically placed floodlights around their homes so that passersby like myself might ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ about their achievements in stone and brick.

Now, if instead of focusing on the homes which were lit by the floodlights I had instead concentrated my attention on the floodlights themselves – ‘Oh, that’s an interesting-looking floodlight; I wonder where they bought it?’ or ‘What a lovely light that floodlight is giving; I wonder how powerful it is?’ – I would have missed the whole meaning and purpose of the floodlights. The owners of the homes had put the floodlights out in front so that I should look at their homes, not at the floodlights, the source of illumination.

So it is with the Spirit’s ministry. He has been sent by God the Father to focus our attention to Christ, to kindle in our hearts an unquenchable love for Christ and for his purposes, and to enable us to reflect faithfully his person and character. The Spirit has not come primarily to speak about himself. He has not been given to us so that we should focus primarily on him and his work. He has come to inhabit these mortal frames so that we should love Christ and adore him and that we should seek to live each day in obedience to Jesus (pages 22-23).

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