The Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit is the second book by Francis Chan I’ve read over the past few months, the first being Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, which I reviewed a few months ago.
Whereas Crazy Love was a compelling read, The Forgotten God was a most convicting one. I mean, basically he points out that most of us tend to neglect one-third of the Godhead. It’s as if there were three other people in the room with me and I continually ignore one of them. That thought alone was enough to humble and sadden me.
One section that grabbed hold of my heart was in Chapter 4, where Chan asks point blank “Why Do You Want Him?” Why do we desire the Holy Spirit? He really drives home the point that the manifestations (or gifts) of the Spirit were given to the body of Christ for the body of Christ, for the common good. Ouch. I really needed this reminder that any gifts God has given me are not really for me at all, but rather a way for him to bless the body of Christ, the community of believers, through me. I know this, but I often (as in daily) need the reset button pushed here: it’s not about me!
Like the disciples, Chan points out that most of us would prefer to have Jesus in his human, bodily form right here with us everyday. And yet, Jesus himself said it was better for him to go away so we could receive the Holy Spirit. One of the missions of the Holy Spirit is to offer us confidence and security in our relationship with our “Abba” Father. What a gift – who doesn’t need to be constantly reminded of the Father’s unconditional, abiding love for us? And yet we so easily ignore the Spirit of God who wants to offer us this assurance.
Chan challenges us to forget about “God’s will” for our lives, suggesting that the desire to “know” is “birthed in fear and results in paralysis.” Instead, he invites us to the daily process of learning what it means to walk in step with the Spirit – one of “continual engagement and wrestling and discovering.”
I can’t possibly cover all the great points Chan raises, but hopefully your interest is piqued enough to consider adding this book to your summer reading. The Forgotten God was a quick read and yet it took me the better part of three weeks to finish it, as I kept going back and rereading portions. Chan has a way of making you want to stop along the way and ponder what he’s saying, or pause to really spend time in Scripture passages he mentions. Wanting to linger in these thoughts longer, I created a playlist from songs I already had on my computer. You can listen to this mix here, and let me know what you think!