Breaking Down the Basics: Holy Spirit
Many people are confident talking about God the Father and God the Son because it's familiar, yet few people know much about God the Holy Spirit. I think people know more about Moses or Abraham or Paul than they do about this Person of the Godhead. It's a tricky topic, talking about the role the Holy Spirit plays in our lives. However, understanding his role is as important as anything else in the faith.
Exactly how important? Jesus said in John 16.7, "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." Jesus says that it is to our advantage that he go so that the Helper (Holy Spirit) may come. Sounds like he's a big deal to me.
Why did Jesus say that it would be better for him to leave and for the Helper to come? Wouldn't it be better to have Jesus here, in person? For a moment, you would think so; to have the Son of God, in the flesh, walking on the earth. But think about it this way. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and what's better than having God in us? To talk to Jesus on earth, you would have to fly to where he was, wait in line to talk to him, and then maybe get a question in. It's not that Jesus wouldn't want to spend all day talking to you, but there are six billion other people who would be vying for his attention. With the Holy Spirit, we have unlimited access to God, no matter where we are. How wonderful is that!
I am tempted to go in depth about the movings and workings of the Holy Spirit. But to summarize, there are two movings: dwelling and baptism. The dwelling of the Holy Spirit happens at the moment of salvation, when the believer is born in the Spirit. Through this, He makes us more like Christ and enables us to do our Fathers will.
The second moving is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which happens to a believer at some point. What I would like to emphasize is that this filling is for ALL believers. That's right; Gods desire is for you to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 2.34 says, "For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." Do you see that? It's for all who are far off--to everyone whom the Lord calls to himself? Sounds like every believer to me.
So why, if this gift is for all believers, are so many missing it? It is important that believers be baptized in the Spirit. Not only does it speed up the process that makes us more like Christ, but with it comes the power to witness and the gifts of the Spirit.
A relationship with the Holy Spirit is a unique one, and one that I enjoy cultivating with each day. That relationship must be protected, nurtured, developed and guarded. You won't regret for a second the effort you put into the relationship.
God wants to maximize His power through our lives, but we must be willing.
Pray for the baptism if you have yet to experience it.
Have an open heart and an open mind.
Have faith; it is essential.
If you have not been baptized in the Spirit, seek it. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen the first or fifth or tenth time you have prayed...keep praying and it will happen. If you have been, cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit. It's a two sided relationship; a communication that goes both ways.
The Holy Spirit longs to work in and through your life!
NOTE: Some may wonder about speaking in tongues, which is often associated with the Holy Spirit in people's minds. Studying the Bible, there are three manifestations of tongues: (1) as evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, (2) as a prayer language, and (3) as a gift of the Spirit, used in a corporate setting. There is an association with the two, but I'd also like to clarify that there are boundaries and an order to speaking in tongues. Acts 2 speaks to tongues as an evidence, and 1 Corinthians 14 speaks to the guidelines on tongues as a prayer language and gift of the Spirit for the corporate setting.
What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Does one exist? If not, how do you feel about that and what would you do from here? If so, how can you commit to cultivating that relationship?