Does the Holy Spirit seem difficult to understand or to know personally? Pay attention: He is all around us.
I’m not sure how misperceptions get started. Here is one some Christian believers perpetuate. I first heard it as a teenager and have encountered it frequently throughout my life. Friends sometimes say, “I love Jesus with all of my heart, but I am scared of the Holy Spirit.” Maybe their fear stems from English translations that refer to Him as a ghost. Or, maybe they fear Him because they cannot visualize Him the way they visualize Jesus. I don’t know.
I do know, however, that their fear is unfounded. Our Christian faith teaches that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of the same essence. All of the positive divine attributes used to describe Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as well. Perhaps when we speak of the Holy Spirit we should highlight biblical language.
As Jesus prepared to leave His disciples on His way to the cross, He comforted them by saying, “I will come to you” (John 14:18). In Romans 8:10, Paul said those who have the Spirit living in their lives have Christ living within them. Paul received ministry instructions from God in Acts 16:6-7. Verse 7 refers to God as the “Spirit of Jesus.” Paul testified in Philippians 1:19 that he received help from “the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Each of these passages of Scriptures, along with many others, confirm that the Holy Spirit is inseparably related to Jesus Christ. He is our constant companion as we live our Christian lives in this world.
The Holy Spirit interacts with us on a daily basis. For example:
- He gives us new birth and faith in God (John 3:3-6). This new birth makes us new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- He illuminates our minds to understand spiritual matters (John 14:16-17). In fact, the Bible says He gives us “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
- He inspires our Bible reading and guides us to truth (John 16:13). He teaches new truths and reaffirms forgotten truths.
- He awakens us to Christ’s presence (John 16:15-16).
- He intercedes in prayer for us as He communicates directly with the Father on our behalf. (Romans 8:26-27).
- He sanctifies our hearts by faith (Romans 8:1-17).
- He produces spiritual fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
- He gives gifts and abilities for ministry (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4).
- He works through us to win new converts and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
- He lives within us as the Prophet Ezekiel foresaw hundreds of years ago, “I will . . . put a new spirit in you” (36:26).
Because the Holy Spirit is our constant companion, we are never alone in this life. The information age brings us more communication in more ways than in the entire history of humanity combined. Yet, people all around us complain about being lonely and lacking meaning in their lives. The Spirit not only brings believers the presence of the ever-living Christ, He also fills every crevice of our being, adding value and meaning to every day. As you read the articles in this issue of Holiness Today, pay particular attention to all of the ways the Holy Spirit works in the world, in the church, and in your life. You’ll be amazed at all He does on a daily basis.
Frank M. Moore is general editor of the Church of the Nazarene and editor in chief of Holiness Today.
Holiness Today, May/June 2019.