By Francis Frangipane
desire to be acknowledged and appreciated by others is basic to human
nature. After healing ten lepers, Jesus Himself seemed disappointed when
only one returned to give thanks (see Luke 17). Yet, while the need to
be occasionally appreciated is not sin, it can become sin when our goal
shifts from seeking God's glory to seeking the praise of men. We must
determine that our service to mankind is guided by a higher, more
focused obedience to God.
Jesus lived solely for the
glory of God. We, however, too often seek the praise of man. In spite of
the fact that Jesus repeatedly affirmed that the Father who sees in
secret will reward us openly (see Matt. 6), we remain offended if we do
not receive credit for our good deeds. This quest for recognition can
become a source of wrong motives and failed expectations; it can give a
place to jealousy, pride and selfish ambition if we are not careful.
wish I could say I have never walked in this type of human weakness,
but that would be untrue. In fact, I experienced something years ago
that, though quite painful at the time, ultimately unfolded into a
wonderful revelation concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit.
before I proceed, let me state that to share this publicly requires I
make my own frailties visible before you. So please grant me your grace.
scene was the 1996 Promise Keeper's Atlanta convocation for pastors.
This event was the largest gathering of pastors in North American
history---more than 40,000 ministers united from a great variety of
backgrounds and cultures. It featured two themes in which I had been
quite active: unity and reconciliation. Although I had been instrumental
in bringing pastors together in many cities, and had learned some
important insights along the way, I had not been asked to contribute.
mentioned my dilemma to no one, yet the lack of recognition was
producing an ever deepening disturbance in my thought life. At the same
time, however, the joy of seeing cross-denominational unity manifest in
prayer and repentance compelled me to attend. Entrusting my inner
conflict to the Lord, I felt perhaps there would be a way I could serve
as the conference unfolded.
But no door opened. Pastors
who knew me would ask, "So, why aren't you speaking at this
conference?" I'd smile and respond, "This must increase and I must
decrease." While my answer was both humble and sincere, I was becoming
much more humble than I planned.
The fact was, I was
asking myself the same question: Why wasn't I speaking? Ghosts of past
rejections began to manipulate my fears. So, while I attended the
conference and truly rejoiced in the unity, I also felt detached from
it. I watched a spiritual vision that I carried in my soul emerge and
take form, only to find myself floating, dreamlike, outside of the
fulfillment. I was simultaneously deeply blessed and throughly
Finally, I laid my soul bare to a couple of
friends. "What should I do?" I asked. "If I promote myself, God Himself
will resist me; if I remain silent, I sacrifice my contribution to this
historic event." If nothing else, I knew the Lord was crucifying my
pride and fleshly ambition.
The conference came and
went, but my inner struggle stayed with me. After several months I
successfully buried the conflict beneath my everyday thoughts. I was
going on with my life. However, in May the issue resurfaced. I was at a
Mission America meeting in Washington, D.C., listening as a friend
shared over lunch how the Lord used other leaders to lay foundations in
his life. As we talked, I began to see that I was not outside of what
God was doing, but underneath it. My labors in Christ (and those of many
others) were part of a divine substructure upon which this current work
The efforts of those who serve in high
visibility today will likely become foundations for greater works by
others tomorrow. I felt I was beginning to understand my role in the
context of God's unfolding kingdom. I was even able to look at my own
life and see individuals whose teachings and spiritual examples had
become foundations in me---people whom I also had never thanked or
The Nature of the Holy Spirit
was growing in my understanding, yet the Holy Spirit had something else
to add. That evening I confessed to the Lord my sin of seeking
recognition. Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart a simple
question concerning Himself. He asked, "Do you know My name?"
was a special moment, and I could feel the flood of the Spirit's
presence drawing near. His name? I knew the primary revelation of the
Father's name was Yahweh and the name of the Son, of course, is Jesus
(or Yeshua). I recalled all the compound names of God in the Bible, but
again could not identify the specific name of the Holy Spirit. I
realized that "Holy Spirit" or "Spirit of Truth" were more descriptive
titles than proper names, per se; they were not names like Jesus or Yahweh. The term "Comforter" (or Paracletes in Greek, i.e., "one called alongside to help") also is not a name as much as a function.
I am about to say here might not gel with everyone's theology. But
there was a moment when Moses, standing before the fire of the Almighty,
asked to know the name of God, to which the Most High answered, "I AM
WHO I AM" (Ex. 3:13-14). I AM was a proper name. Again, there was a time
when the archangel Gabriel told Mary that she should name her child
Jesus (Luke 1:31). Both the Father and the Son have many descriptive
titles, but on earth they are known by a particular name. Similarly, the
Holy Spirit has many titles and functions, but I could not remember a
time in the Bible where the specific proper name of the Holy Spirit was
My point is this: every good work, every
miracle of grace, every virtue that has ever manifest on earth, has
occurred through the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet He never draws
attention to Himself, choosing instead to inspire our praise toward the
Father or the Son. As I stood in this amazing moment, I quickly searched
my memory of the Scriptures. Again, to my knowledge, I could not recall
any setting or verse where the proper name of the Holy Spirit was
revealed---from brooding over the pre-creation universe, to
strengthening the Son of God at the cross, to raising Jesus from the
dead, to being poured out at Pentecost, to working miracles of
redemption in spreading the Gospel throughout the world in millions of
lives---all of it was stimulated and inspired by Him, but He never
revealed His name!
Conversely, in this world we are all
about getting our name out and making a name for ourselves, especially
in the western world. The nature of the Holy Spirit is in stark contrast
to our human desires to be seen, praised and recognized by other men.
the Holy Spirit passionately delights in hiddenness. Then I saw that
the two greatest passions of the Holy Spirit's heart are to see Jesus
glorified and to fulfill the Father's will on Earth. This was perfect
humility---the God-pattern that would lead me to spiritual rest and
Beloved, if we would be filled with the
Spirit, we must delight ourselves in seeing Jesus glorified and getting
the work done that God calls us to fulfill. God sees and knows our
motives. If we will lead others, we must do so as servants of Heaven.
Let us, therefore, seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit and work purely
to see Jesus glorified and the Father's will fulfilled.
forgive me for seeking recognition from man. Help me blessed Spirit to
be filled with Your substance---Your thoughts and motives, Your
contentment and power. Live Your marvelous life of hiddenness through
Adapted from the In Christ's Image Training. For more information visit www.icitc.org.