Have you ever had questions about the Holy Spirit? I think if we’re honest, many Christians do. We understand God the Father and we read the Gospels to know God the Son. But the third person of the Trinity can just be confusing. Who is the Holy Spirit and what role does He play in our lives?
The result of this confusion has either been an over-emphasis or an under-emphasis of the Holy Spirit. Either the Holy Spirit is everything or He is ignored altogether. But in order for us to be like Jesus, we must have a Biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament repeatedly commands us to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” and Jesus’ last words to His disciples in John 14-16 mentions the Holy Spirit 20 different times.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever”.
There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. Others understand the Holy Spirit as the impersonal power that God makes available to followers of Christ. Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God.
More specifically, the word Jesus used for Helper means “called to come alongside of”. So the Holy Spirit is literally God Himself, in Spirit form, who is called to come alongside Jesus’ followers. He is our comforter, counselor, intercessor, helper, and friend.
What role does the Holy Spirit play in our lives?
1. The Holy Spirit helps us live in the presence of God
John 14:16–18 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Through the Holy Spirit, God himself is just as real and present with us as Jesus was real & present with His disciples. Living in the presence of a personal God is necessary for a victorious life. A thriving Christian life is not found in knowing a bunch of stuff or manufacturing all the right feelings. A thriving Christian life is found by abiding in the presence of a Person and that person is God’s Holy Spirit.
It is the Spirit of God that makes the truth and presence of God come alive in us!
2. The Holy Spirit helps us experience the power of God
John 15:4–5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus says we are to ABIDE – Abide in Him, abide in His love…then His life & His power will work through us.
When we abide & surrender to His power the Holy Spirit equips us to live a supernatural life. He empowers us with spiritual gifts to edify the church & bring glory to God. He guides us in ALL truth. He gives us victory over our flesh. And He produces in us the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.
3. The Holy Spirit helps us fulfill the purposes of God
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
What did Jesus mean when He said that we would do “greater works than He”?
First of all, the works of Jesus’ followers would be greater in reach. When Jesus was on earth, the Holy Spirit focused his ministry on one individual…in one region of Judah. Once the Holy Spirit empowered His followers, His work extended to the ends of the earth.
Secondly, Jesus’ followers works would be greater in range. In other words, the collective impact of ordinary Christians filled with the Spirit would be greater than that of Jesus staying here. Which is why Jesus said,“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
It is our responsibility to figure out what Jesus wants to do then yield ourselves to Him and allow Him to work through us. Which leads to one final question regarding the Holy Spirit?
How are we filled with the Holy Spirit?
1. Saturate yourself with the Gospel
The Spirit of God grows in you as you grasp the love of God for you.
2. Confess your need for Him
Confidence in ourselves makes it impossible to be filled with the Holy Spirit. God will only fill empty hands
3. Fully surrender ALL to the Holy Spirit
Christianity is not a discipline to master, but a Person to follow. So to be filled with the Holy Spirit means we must be fully surrendered in order to completely follow Him.