Not a Third Wheel
The last thing you ever wanted when dating was a “Third Wheel”; the extra guy or gal hanging out while you are on a date. Recall the image of Shrek and Fiona on their Honeymoon and there is Donkey, popping his lips right between them (Shrek 2, DreamWorks, 2004). In fact, just about every romantic comedy these days involve a scene with a third person making the situation awkward. Believe it or not, some if not most Christians, at one time or another equate the Holy Spirit as something akin to a Third Wheel. This thought is not born out of disrespect for the Holy Spirit, rather a misunderstanding of it.
What causes us to misunderstand the nature of the Holy Spirit? Well, for me it was as simple as tangibility. I can cast a mental image of God, for many God looks like an old man with a long white beard. Jesus was even more tangible, He was human. Whether you visualize Him as a European white male with a beard or a Middle Eastern man; He is conceivable. But what can we ascribe to the Holy Spirit? A spirit is by its very nature intangible; if it has form, it is always changing. A spirit does not have a physical embodiment in the same sense as the other two aspects of God’s nature. The Holy Spirit is felt rather than seen, it is heard introspectively rather than audibly. When in tune with the Holy Spirit you know its there, but you cannot describe how you know.
As we mature as Christians, we begin to grasp a better understanding of the nature of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us the companionship and counsel of the Holy Spirit. He refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Advocate” whom He will send to us (John 16:7). Jesus declares that we need the Holy Spirit as our guide because: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 16:12). If God were to truly reveal Himself all at once, we could not bear it; we would simply crumble. Jesus came to save us all; the Holy Spirit is what guides us to Him and along the path He has set for us.
Psychologists will equate the Holy Spirit to a conscience, which we equate to a moral compass of sorts. Not to be confused with Jiminy Cricket, the Holy Spirit is so much more. It is the source of power that lives within us; yes, it is the “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13), but it exceeds any description we can put on it. The Spirit is how we carry on when we are too weak to do so, it is how we look toward a better day even when we cannot see it, it is a driving source of our faith, hope, and love.
The Holy Spirit is not a Third Wheel, it is not just our conscience nagging at us (nope no crickets here), nor is easily described or explained. It cannot be fully defined in human terms, but it is undeniably a whole and complete aspect of the Blessed Trinity, the Godhead Three in One.
Lord God I pray for an open heart, a receptive mind, and strong body that is mature enough to hear, feel, and listen to the Holy Spirit within me. Thank you for giving me this part of you to be forever with me as my guide, my light, and my strength. Lead me, Lord, for I am nothing without you.
~Written by Christian Love