The [ X ] factor: the Holy Spirit

Preface: I’m not a big fan of equations. I didn’t do well in math growing up – sometimes I have trouble spelling the word math. I tremble at the thought of helping my boys with their geometry homework in a few years. And especially as a pastor, I hesitate to use equations because people are people. We’re complex and unique and have the opportunity to make decisions on our own.With that being said, I trust you’ll see the underlying principle in this equation and how it goes well beyond a formulaic, plastic and predictable response with people.

I shared an equation with our leaders a few weeks ago that led to an engaging discussion about what discipleship could look like in our faith community moving forward. I learned this equation during my life coaching training and it has stuck with me – and is worth sharing here.

I wrote this on the white board at our meeting with our Leadership Community:

HS   x  ( D  +  A  +  R ) =  T

The Holy Spirit   x  ( Discovery  +  Action  +  Reinforcement )  =  Transformation 

True inward transformation happens when there is discovery (i.e. learning), which leads to actions, which is met with reinforcement (especially with others, hence the importance of the body of Christ).

Sadly, many people think that is the end of it. How often we forget that true transformation happens when discovery and action and reinforcement intersects with a cooperative relationship with the Holy Spirit. 

It’s not by addition, but multiplication. It doesn’t matter how small the D, A and R are – as long as the Holy Spirit is present, it has a powerfully multiplying effect. The Holy Spirit, quite literally, is the X factor.  As I was sharing this and asking our leaders to respond to it, Steve (a former math teacher) walked to the white boad. He said that it doesn’t matter how large the D, A and R are, if the Holy Spirit is not present (in a sense, equalling zero) the transformation will always equal zero. Great point.

It reminds me of the words from John 14 that Jesus tells his disciples: “apart from me you can do nothing…”

Look at the equation again.

Do you believe this equation?

Do our lives reflect that we believe this equation to be true?