Maybe you grew up in a house where God’s word and ways were taught. Maybe you’ve only recently met God. No matter how long you’ve known God, have you ever heard people pray to the Father, or have you ever heard people pray to Jesus? Or, what about hearing people pray to the Holy Spirit? In Bible College, my professor said, “God is probably not as concerned with this as I am, but the Biblical way to pray is to pray TO the Father, IN THE NAME OF Jesus, and BY THE POWER OF the Holy Spirit,” (emphasis his).
The Bible shows us that our God is one, and yet three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit: a Trinity. We get a mental picture of Jesus through the great descriptions of his dealings and the words that He himself spoke. Jesus Himself said to His disciples: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” God gave the Prophets words to speak that were clearly expressing the Father’s heart. But perhaps the most controversial Person in the Trinity is the Holy Spirit, who has this quality of invisibility that challenges our human comprehension. The Holy Spirit is often described as “giving utterance,” or “moving” people, or “hovering” over the Earth before creation. He “guides” us into all truth, Jesus says. The picture you have from the picture someone else has of the Holy Spirit, may look very different, depending upon how we interpret or view these verbs that describe the Holy Spirit to us.
The Holy Spirit has These Characteristics.
Still, if we look at the Bible as a whole to see a wider lens view of what the scriptures tell us about the Holy Spirit of God, we’ll probably find ourselves in more agreement. For instance, we’ll find that the Holy Spirit is all of the following:
- He has a mind, a will and can grieve.
- He is a teacher and a guide, who is sent to us by the Father. (John 14:16-17)
- He is to us a counselor, who reminds us of Jesus’ teaching and words. (John 14:26)
- He has power to convict the world and people with regard to sin, righteousness and judgment; meaning He points out powerfully what is right and helps us understand that our actions have consequences in life. (John 16:8)
- He encourages God’s children. (Acts 9:31)
- He leads God’s children and He bears witness to those who are God’s children. (Acts 2:32-33)
- He is also able to tell us of things that will happen – things yet to come.
The Holy Spirit is Within God’s Children. (Romans 8:14-16)
Though all people on earth are God’s creatures, not all people become God’s children; only those who have the Spirit of God in their lives become His children. And we can only receive the Spirit in our lives if the Father, through Jesus, sends the Spirit to us. We become children by accepting Jesus, and with that acceptance we begin to understand how the Spirit becomes present in our lives as sent by God. The Spirit is the one who lets us know that we are God’s children. Jesus prayed that the Father would give us His Holy Spirit to abide with us forever.
The Holy Spirit Helps Us When We’re Weak. (Romans 8:26-27)
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. When we don’t know how to even pray about things, the Holy Spirit will pray for us and through us in ways that understandable words cannot express. When we struggle to find the words or the time to be still in prayer our concerns are heard by the Holy Spirit. How wonderful to be able to trust God to pray for our friends and family members when we don’t know how to pray for them – or to pray for healing for people who have illnesses that even doctors don’t understand!
The Holy Spirit gives us boldness to tell people who don’t know God yet about Jesus. It’s difficult to share your faith with someone especially when they’re scary to talk to, or seem hostile toward God. But, the Holy Spirit can make us bold in order to bless others by telling them true things about God. When we don’t know what to say to these individuals, the Holy Spirit will show us convincing insight to share.
The Holy Spirit tells us, or testifies about Jesus. All of nature testifies about God, but God uses His holy children to testify about Jesus specifically. And through our declaration, many will come to hear the good news about what Jesus did to make becoming a child of God possible. The Father will draw these people to Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and will bring eternal life to many because we were willing to testify about Christ.
The Holy Spirit Changes Us to Make Us More Like Jesus. (Romans 15:16)
By working with our weakness the Holy Spirit is taking us through a process called sanctification. The change that comes over us makes us more like Jesus. In other words, the Holy Spirit “sanctifies” us, or “makes us holy.” To be “holy” for God doesn’t mean to be sinless. Sinless is not the same as being holy. Jesus indeed was sinless, and so as we are sanctified, we may find ourselves, at least from what we can tell, sinning less. In fact, we may sin till the day we die, but the Holy Spirit will always be at work in us, sanctifying us; making us more and more like the holy people God intends us to become.
Without the Holy Spirit, this process of sanctification doesn’t happen. We can read the words of Jesus and try to become good people. But that’s all done in our power. And I don’t know about you, but my power doesn’t get me very far. Jesus said that the righteousness of the most religious people wasn’t enough to make them holy. God alone can make us holy, and it’s His Holy Spirit who does this work. This is something that happens throughout our lifetime on earth.
One way I like to describe ‘holy’ is by using the word “royal.” Royal things belong to earthly kings and queens. For instance, if I’m sitting on a chair, and I happen to be a king or a queen, then that chair becomes “the royal chair.” It’s something set aside to be used by the royal family.
Well, if I am holy, then I’m someone that God can use. And while it’s true that God can use whomever He wants; He sends us the Holy Spirit, through Christ, to make us holy. That is, officially set apart for His use and service.
The Holy Spirit Wants Us to Come to Him.
We aren’t robots. We can cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and live a very exciting life, filled with joy, peace and adventure. Or, the Holy Spirit can be resisted, leaving us to live a life full of lies and rejection.
If you have been following the voice of God in your life, then great! If you haven’t known God personally, and would like to know how you can enter a relationship with Him through Christ, we encourage you to contact us at niNe magazine. And finally, if you have known the voice of God in your life, but you’re sensing that the Holy Spirit has been smothered by your disobedience, talk to God about it. Even if extinguished, it’s your ability to hear Him speak that has diminished. God never diminishes. He’s the same as always, and His love for you is the same. If you’ve strayed to the point where you can’t hear His voice, ask Him to show you. By the power of His Spirit, not only can He help you to see where you have strayed, but He’ll grant you the ability to repent. And then you can obey Him, by repenting. As you start reading your Bible again, and listening to the voice of God, the clearer His voice will generally become.
If as you repent, you find your heart grieved, and you begin to cry. That’s fine. Cry out to your Lord who loves you. He understands you. And by the way, Jesus didn’t call the Holy Spirit, “The Comforter” for nothing. He indeed will and does comfort, all of God’s children who cry out to Him. Let Him do it His way. He knows best, after all.
Read about the Holy Spirit yourself: