Everybody and his brother have their opinion of what or who the Holy Spirit is. Some say God’s spirit talks to me directly which of course is unlikely, others engage in ungodly behavior and again say God’s spirit said it’s ok, again, very unlikely. One day people will realize they are involved with some type of spiritualism that is not scripturally correct. Some profess: “Thus saith God”, and go on to manipulate; it’s funny how those words of faith always seem to favor their own personal desires. After witnessing this for 35 years you almost want to throw your hands up in the air and say what the heck! God’s spirit is real and is here to help us. Remember He is the Holy Spirit, so, let’s think of “Him” this way; The Spirit of Holiness! It is a godly lifestyle that invites Him into a life, and without that you are fooling yourself; so, let’s look into this and find out the truth!
Who is the Holy Spirit?
For in Him (Jesus) dweleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
Matthew Henry’s commentary declared this.
The presence of God dwelt between the Cherubim, in a cloud which covered the “Mercy Seat”; but now dwells in the person of our Redeemer. It dwells in Him bodily; not figuratively, but actually; for Christ is both God and man.
We are born of this Spirit. The Holy Spirit renounces sin, and that reforms our lives. It is not enough for us to put off some specific sins; we must put off the whole body of sin. The old man must be crucified and the body of sin destroyed. By virtue of our union with Christ, we partake of that effectual grace, which puts off the body of sins.
Jesus was God and man. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit lived in the human body of Jesus. When we begin to comprehend this, it becomes easier to understand the Trinity; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. It seems like such a mystery, but it couldn’t be easier to understand. All of God’s power, love, and desires; all of Jesus’s passion, principles, and longings; and the Holy Spirit’s abilities to help, guide, and comfort us are embodied in Jesus and released into our lives.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus; because Jesus was God incarnate, the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of God, the Spirit of holiness, counsel, grace, judgment, knowledge, prophesy, understanding, and wisdom just to name a few.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him (Jesus), the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
The Holy Spirit is the living Spirit of Jesus. He is not an it; He is a He, and He is very much alive. As funny as it sounds, Jesus actually lives among us today here on earth; He’s just without a body, but He’s looking for one! Remember the movie Meet Joe Black? Death needed a body so he could walk around and have expression, so he took one. Jesus is life, and life needs a body. Fortunately for us, the Spirit of God doesn’t take our lives; we give them to Him.
The Holy Spirit is the great gift promised by Jesus, who came at the cost of His own life. The Holy Spirit is here for us; He is our gift of enablement so that nothing can keep us from God except of course ourselves.
Unfortunately for us, this great power and enablement that was designed specifically for each of us is invisible; I wonder if that’s why they call Him the Holy Ghost, ha ha. But seriously, how can something be invisible and real? It is a big stretch for our human minds to comprehend this.
An easy way to understand the Holy Spirit is to consider the concept of the force in the Star Wars movies. The force was an invisible power available to enable humankind. Remember when Luke trusts the force, shuts off his computerized instruments, and takes one little shot at a giant, impregnable space station and the impossible happens? No, I am not saying we’re all spiritual Jedi’s trying to save the galaxy unless you’re into that sort of thing, but we can gain access to an amazing “Force” of God through the Holy Spirit.
Luke Skywalker’s supernatural enablement bears a striking resemblance to that of David, a shepherd who pushed away Saul’s armor and threw a stone at a giant and the impossible happened. The Holy Spirit is an invisible power that enables humankind and can be seen, figuratively, in many forms:
The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
The Spirit of God can be seen in the Bible; “The words that Christ spoke”- are designed to come to life as we believe in them by faith. Many read the Bible but do not profit from it because what they read is not mixed with faith and appears to be foolishness. As we read the words of God/Jesus, the Holy Spirit nudges us to accept them by faith; then when we believe and begin to act on them, the same Spirit brings them to life and makes them happen.
In the same manner, as we read the words in our Bible that are in opposition to what we’ve previously believed, it is the Holy Spirit that pricks our hearts so that we feel conviction and a desire to change. As the apostle Peter was sharing the words of God in Acts 2, God’s Spirit was released, and it affected the hearers this way.
And when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter … what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent. (Acts 2:37)
The Holy Spirit brings God’s Word to life so that we can come to know God, and as we believe what we’ve read, we see it come to pass through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is one way He helps us.
When the Comforter (Holy Spirit) is come … the Spirit of truth … He shall testify of me. (John 15:26)
The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of truth. Through the circumstances of life and by sheer faith alone, God’s Spirit is forever attempting to open our eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, when we come to believe in Jesus without a shadow of a doubt by the help of the Holy Spirit, we are encouraged. What a great comfort it is to our souls to be walking in the truth of God with the expectancy of things to come. This is one way the Holy Spirit comforts us.
The Father … shall give you a Comforter. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, but you knoweth Him, for He dweleth with you. (John 14:16–18)
Unbelievers don’t have a clue about what’s going on. They can’t understand or believe this truth; they are blind to it. We on the other hand see things clearly through the Holy Spirit, who enables us to share it with others.
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament … of the Spirit … the Spirit giveth life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)
God has made us “able ministers” of this great faith. The book of Acts is a demonstration of our ability to show the glory of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is an amazing power we are given to proclaim God’s Word as truth with signs and wonders following.
And He (Jesus) said unto them, ye shall receive power … the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witness unto me. (Acts 1:8)
Jesus was telling His disciples that the Holy Spirit was coming and that there would be a power released that would enable them to witness to the Lord. It’s almost funny to think of Peter denying knowing Jesus for fear of some girl and a couple of people. That was Peter in the power of his own strength. Then by the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood before the leaders of Israel who had had Jesus crucified and boldly convicted them all verbally. That was the strength of the Holy Spirit.
They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness … and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them. (Acts 4:31–33)
The Holy Spirit is a gift God has graciously given us believers. As we live for God the best we can, great grace comes upon us. The Holy Spirit is always drawing us to become more like Jesus. As we give into this process of molding and shaping, we experience grace—the power to change. Obedience to this conviction of the heart draws the Holy Spirit to us.
And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. (Acts 5:32)
To truly experience the power of the Holy Spirit, we need hearts that desire to obey; we don’t have to be perfect, but we shouldn’t be rebellious or stiff-necked to the leadings of the Spirit of God.
God’s Holy Spirit wants to lead us through life. We can see God’s desire to lead us in life through the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys. Paul’s flexible attitude enabled him at a moment’s notice to change his direction in life. We need to be careful and not be so set in our ways that we miss out when God opens a door for us. Paul was good at that; as a door in one area closed, he would go in another direction to where God wanted him to go. He didn’t stubbornly fight and try to force himself into those places; instead, he accepted God’s will and began to look for new opportunities to open up for him, and they always did.
Paul seemed to always make the right decision while following God’s Spirit, but it can be the hardest thing to do. The enemy usually attacks us and tries to make it difficult for us to do God’s will, so it can be hard to tell if it’s God closing a door or the enemy trying to discourage us. The truth is that it is very difficult at times to know what to do. What God is trying to develop in us is a sensitivity to everything happening around us including the people we meet, their needs, and the resistance we encounter. God’s Spirit is trying to direct us quite often through the circumstances of life.
God’s Spirit wants to lead us; He wants us to follow Him. We see this in the way Jesus called His disciples; “Follow me,” He said, and that’s exactly what they did. They learned all about the kingdom of God and how He wanted to use them by following Jesus and learning how He did things; it was all about the relationship. When we allow God to turn our heads in a direction and trust Him enough to start walking that way by releasing our control and allowing God’s will to happen, we learn everything we need to know.
Remember when God told Moses that Israel had corrupted itself by making the golden calf while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments? Exodus 32:9 reads, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people.” I love how descriptive the word stiff-necked is; it’s as if God was trying to turn their heads in a certain direction but they wouldn’t let Him. When it comes to being led by the Holy Spirit, being flexible can make all the difference.
When we think of stubbornness, one animal immediately comes to mind—mules. Though we can try to get them to go in one direction, they stay determined not to. People can be just like that, hence the phrase “stubborn as a mule.” But that’s not who we are as God’s people; we are sheep.
The sheep hear my voice and follow me. (John 10:27)
Jesus is the good shepherd who loves us. He wants to bring us to the place of green grass and safe pastures. He knows where they are, and if we just follow Him, He will lead us there. When we refuse to go, we’re really hurting ourselves and keeping ourselves from the beautiful destiny He has prepared for us like Israel’s Promised Land. Much of being directed by God involves getting to know Him and learning from Him, but some of us just can’t do that; we can’t just let go and trust God because there’s no guarantee. Look at the story of the rich young ruler.
Then Jesus beholding him, loved him and said, there’s one thing that you lack; go sell all your possessions and give them to the poor and follow me. (Matthew 19:21)
The scripture said that Jesus loved him, so this was a very special person. Jesus looked him in the eye and said he lacked only one thing. I wish I lacked only one thing. He lacked trust; we know we can trust in God or trust in money. The young man went away sorrowful. Following Jesus didn’t make sense to him; he thought he had too much to lose. Jesus could have been calling him to replace Judas or to follow Paul on his missionary journeys, or his shadow could have healed people like Peter’s, but we’ll never know because he refused to follow God’s leading.
When we refuse the Spirit’s direction, it’s usually because we think we know what’s going to happen. Unless we’re willing to step out and risk, we might never see the power of God demonstrated in our lives. The truth is that we don’t know what’s going to happen; we only think we do. We are humans trying to understand the spiritual while God’s Spirit is trying to make us into spiritual people living in human bodies. We need to realize that God is the one attempting to accomplish this and that we need to give in, relax, and trust Him.
Following the Holy Spirit’s leading is like flexibility training. We build up our muscles by lifting weights, and we make our hearts beat faster by doing cardio. But when we’re stretching, there’s no forcing at all; we’re relaxing, releasing, and allowing the process to happen. Like a knee-jerk reaction, our body automatically stops stretching at a certain point to avoid injury. We can bend to a certain point, but that’s it; if we hold that point and begin to relax and breathe deeply, our body shifts gears and allows us to stretch more. It’s like our body trusts us now and releases its grip on our muscles. This is how we follow God’s Spirit as He tries to lead us through life.
Never is this point more evident than in the life of Paul the apostle. He learned right from the beginning to be led by God’s Spirit. God blinded him and suddenly he needed to be led even to the kitchen table. Saul was led to Damascus, where his eyes were opened, and he was renamed Paul. He then began preaching Christ and went wherever the Spirit directed him. Paul became the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, and none of it made any sense at all. I still can’t comprehend it.
Paul should have been sent to Israel; no one could connect the dots and declare Jesus to be the Messiah as Paul could because he had learned it all and knew it all. His first sermon in Damascus made it so undeniably obvious that Jesus was the Christ that they wanted to kill him, and the Holy Spirit sent him to the Gentiles. Are you kidding me? And who ended up going to Israel but Peter, an unlearned fisherman. That must be a tragic mistake! Don’t try to figure it out because your brain will short-circuit as mine did. This is how we are to be led by God’s Spirit; don’t try to figure it out, it might not make sense now, but it will later.
If you ever want to see a drill sergeant turn red and come unglued, just ask why when he tells you to do something. As former military, I know the answer. He’ll get in your face and scream at you to try to drum into you the importance of just following orders. He knows that if you ask why in wartime, you’ll die! Doing what he says right when he says it will keep you alive! I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it’s like that for us. We’re in God’s army, and the best thing we can do when the Holy Spirit says go is go.
God wants us to be sensitive to His Spirit and go with it. It’s like dancing; the man leads and the woman follows. Take West Coast swing dancing for instance; the woman follows every move the man makes; it’s such a wonderful dance. The woman goes where the man leads her, and the man tries to display the woman in all her beauty to all who are watching. If we are the brides of Christ, He is the man in this dance of life.
Couples who have been dancing together for years move as one; the woman instinctively knows where the man will lead her. God wants us to be flexible with our plans and allow His Spirit to direct us so that we can get to know Him better and what He wants to do next. It’s all about the relationship and trusting that our Father knows best.
These next two examples radically changed the church’s theology. In Acts 10, Peter was led by the Holy Spirit to Caesarea to preach to the Gentiles. The night before he was to go, he had a dream of eating unclean food, and he said, “Not so, Lord”; that was against the practices of his faith. Peter was not getting the message that the Spirit was intending him to receive.
Then before he was done preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on every Gentile. The church’s theology changed suddenly; Gentiles could then be part of the church and receive the Spirit. The Holy Spirit showed them that as they simply followed His leading. The reason God’s Spirit didn’t allow Peter to finish his sermon was that when he was done, Peter would have said, “But this is for the Jews, not for you unclean Gentiles.” I’m mostly kidding; I don’t know that for sure, but God wasn’t taking any chances. We never know with Peter, and we never know with us.
In Acts 15, Paul said that it was not appropriate to insist that the Gentile converts be circumcised, and again, the church’s theology was radically changed as Paul was simply following the leadings of the Spirit. Paul noticed that it was too much for the Gentiles to handle and realized God wanted to do away with that theology; all the disciples agreed.
The Holy Spirit wants to fearlessly live through us as in the book of Acts.
And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb … whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple … And Peter fastening his eyes upon him with John said, look on us … Then Peter said, silver and gold I have none, but such as I have give I thee; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he leaping up stood, and walked. (Acts 3:2–9)
Peter fastened his eyes on him that his eye might affect his heart with compassion for him, and John did so too. “Look on us.” Peter didn’t have money, but he had something better—a power from heaven to heal him. Though we may be poor in the world as the disciples were, we may yet be rich, very rich in spiritual gifts, graces, and comforts that are infinitely better than silver and gold. The disciples looked upon him, had compassion, and gave what they had. Peter offered him his hand by faith, and the man rose by faith.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people … Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets … that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some … and they were healed everyone. (Acts 5:12–16)
The disciples did not magnify themselves; they transmitted the glory of all they did very carefully and faithfully to Christ, and yet the people magnified them. The apostles had an abundance of patience. Christ’s shadow never healed anyone though the woman who touched his garment was similar. This was a fulfilment of Christ saying, “Greater things than these thou shalt do”; we notice the faith in those receiving and those helping them out and faith in the apostles’ ministry.
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; so that from his body were brought to the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the disease departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11–12)
These were special miracles never done before; all miracles are amazing, but these were uncommon miracles. It was not Paul who did them but God through Paul’s faith mixed with the faith of the people. Some say that the application of the aprons he wore while working his trade cured the sick immediately; disease and evil spirits went out of them.
God is calling us to go into all the world and share the gospel, and as we do, we are to have compassion, to find those who believe, pray for any kind of miracle, and allow Christ to move through us. It’s time to stop just existing, and to start really living. It’s time to become thrill seekers.
In my late teens and early twenties, I’d jump off thirty-five-foot cliffs into quarries that had filled up with water. Then I found fifty-foot cliffs in New Hampshire; I’d jump off and hear the wind whistle past me. I’d take a deep breath right before impact. I’d dive so deep that I was almost out of air as I swam to the surface. What a thrill! I loved going to Rocky Gorge along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire and jumping off cliffs that were so narrow that I had to aim where I wanted to land or risk smashing into the side of the cliff. Please don’t try it; it’s too dangerous; the Swift River was much deeper forty years ago.
The first time I tried to flip off a spring board, I landed on my face—Ouch! Later, I was doing two and a half flips, nailing the finish, entering the water headfirst—awesome! I once bought an 1100 cc motorcycle, having never ridden a bike in my life—not very bright. On my first ride, I stopped for a red light on a hill; when it turned green, a cop had stopped on the crossroad. I squeezed the clutch and revved the gas and began rolling backward; out of panic, I gunned the gas, popped the clutch, and rode a wheelie through the intersection on a heavy bike hanging on with all my might while the cop motioned me to: “get it down”! The panic on my face must have been hysterical. Riding a roller-coaster can be so invigorating, exciting, and scary all at the same time.
Where is this excitement and thrill in our Christianity? Are we bored because we’re not taking any risks? It’s time to get out of our comfort zones and take risks and meet challenges.
It’s time to become thrill seekers of faith!
It’s time to truly “LIVE”!