Will the Dove Remain

Will the Dove Remain?

R. T. KendallBy R. T. Kendall5 Minutes

Setting your faith on fire begins with the presence of the Holy Spirit.

A British couple was sent to be missionaries in Israel some years ago. After being there a few weeks, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eaves of the roof of their new home.

“How do you feel about the dove?” Sandy asked Bernice.

“It is like a seal from the Lord on our being in Israel,” she replied. “But have you noticed that every time we slam a door or start shouting at each other, the dove flies away? I am so afraid the dove will fly away and not come back.”

“Either the dove adjusts to us, or we adjust to the dove,” Sandy concluded.

They both knew that the dove was not going to adjust to them. They mutually agreed; they would adjust to the dove. This decision changed their lives.

The dove is a shy, sensitive bird. But the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove in each of the four Gospels, is a thousand times more sensitive than a turtledove. The dove is not the only way the Holy Spirit is depicted in the New Testament.

He can be seen, described, or symbolized as fire, wind, water, and possibly oil. But why the dove? The dove is, in fact, a wild bird; it cannot be trained or domesticated even though it is a gentle bird.

Many people understandably and rightly pray that “holy fire will fall” on them. I pray for this, too. But I wonder if our most urgent need is for the Dove to come down on us. Could it be that the order of the day is the Dove first then the fire?

John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Messiah because he had been told to look for the dove to come down on a particular man. There is more. He was not only to see the Spirit come down as a dove; this dove would remain on Him. In fact, the word remain is mentioned two times in John 1:32-33.

You may know what it is like for the Holy Spirit to come down on you. But that sense of His presence doesn’t seem to last. It is not that the Holy Spirit leaves us. He doesn’t. It is, therefore, the sense of God that appears to lift from us. With Jesus, the Dove remained. He stayed. He never flew away.

Why? It is because Jesus never grieved the Holy Spirit.

Grieving the Holy Spirit is the easiest thing in the world to do. There are many ways to grieve the Holy Spirit – many. But at the head of the list is bitterness. Bitterness. It is a word that encapsulates resentment, anger, annoyance, being irritable, even impatience. It can spring forth in a second. It can happen when you are driving. The car in front of you is going too slow. You are in a hurry at a supermarket … the person in front of you is in no hurry. You sigh (out loud). You wanted the person to know you are in a hurry. They got it. But so did the Dove. He just flew away.

Nothing is worth grieving the Holy Spirit. I wonder how many times we grieve the Spirit and feel no conviction of sin whatsoever. Keep short accounts with the Lord. As soon as you sense bitterness – the Dove lifting from you – turn to the Lord. Remember 1 John 1:9. He is faithful. The goal is to enjoy unbroken fellowship with the Holy Spirit so that there is no discontinuity in sensing His smile and presence.

After all, you want the Dove to remain.

Excerpt used by permission: Holy Fire (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2014).