Sometimes the Christian life feels like a “dogged, religious plod” rather than a “living, spirited dance!” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, MSG). What’s gone wrong? Dallas Willard answers, “You need to arrange your life for deep contentment, confidence and joy in everyday life with God. This requires a great a vision of God.” (Shared by John Ortberg at The Knowing Christ Today conference.)
Perhaps the most stunning and winsome vision of God is to see his humility. Back and forth, Father, Son, and Spirit pass the glory, shining the spotlight not on self, but on the others. Always they show love and honor for one another in a beautiful dance.
The Trinity’s Dance of Love
When the Father speaks audibly in the Bible for all to hear and he doesn’t say, “Look how great I am!” or “Listen to me!” Instead, twice he thunders with delight, affirming Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5) God the Father keeps looking to draw us to his Son (John 6:44) and to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
Meanwhile, the Son of God shows the same divine humility. He says for all to hear, “Look to my Father. He is greater than all!” (John 10:29, par). He always submits to the Father, doing only what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19, 14:31). Jesus shows the same love and honor for the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t worry about his own reputation, but is protective of the Spirit, “It’s okay for you to speak a word against me, but never say anything bad about the Holy Spirit” (Luke 12:10, par). The Lord Jesus always follows wherever the Holy Spirit leads him, even if means being driven into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12), and he is glad to be known as being “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:11).
The Holy Spirit is also very active in the Trinitarian dance of humility and love. He keeps pointing to Jesus and reminding people of things that Jesus has said (John 14:26), so much so that he is known as “the Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7; Philippians 1:19). And the Holy Spirit continually cries out from deep within our hearts, “Abba Father!” and “Jesus is Lord!” (Galatians 4:6, 1 Corinthians 12:3).
Father and Son Intimacies
The “Father and Son intimacies” (Matthew 11:27, MSG) manifest to us as the Holy Spirit, the presence, power, and life of God. So Jesus urges us, “Wait for the Holy Spirit to come. He’s the best gift that the Father has to give to you!” (Acts 1:4-5, par). This Trinitarian reality is the foundation of true community, even of the universe.
And the beautiful humility of God doesn’t stop there! It’s amazing! Our Creator and King, the Three-in-One God, is so grand and glorious that he alone is deserving of praise, yet he is also so humble as to bestow honor upon lowly creatures like you and I! (Psalm 138:6). And so the Psalmist marvels of God, “You stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18:35).
The Father gives his glory to Jesus and Jesus gives his glory to us! (John 17:22). The Holy Spirit makes our body his temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). How could it be? It seems too good to be true that our King would come to serve us, even to make his home in us! (Matthew 20:28, 21:5; John 17:23, 26) Immanuel was born in a barn, laid in an animal feeding trough, raised by a poor family in an tiny village, worked as an ordinary carpenter in an obscure village, went into public ministry as a nomad, was rejected by friends and neighbors, and gave himself up to be crucified as if he were a criminal. Jesus went through all this and rose from the dead so he could forgive our sins and give God’s life to us!
It’s Time to Dance with the Trinity!
I’m dancing with delight! Are you? To dance with the Trinity we need to refuse to worry about doing the all dance steps right! A dance is free and fun. It’s loving and lively. It’s a joyful song with rhythm and the only way to dance in your spirit is to let the Trinity captivate your heart with their tune and draw you into their dance of giving yourself away to serve others, loving and honoring them above yourself.
So let’s not obsess about having perfect doctrine or behavior, but trust that these things will come along as our spirits are revived by being enthralled with the Trinity. Let’s sing to the Lord with the Psalmist, “Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long… Your revelation is the tune I dance to” (Psalm 90:14; 119:77, MSG).