Before I was a Christian, I hadn’t heard much about the Holy Spirit. At the church I went to as a child, we stood there and said He “proceeds from the Father and the Son”, and “With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified”. It gave me the impression He was a bit of an aside, not Someone crucial to the Christian faith.
After becoming a Christian, when I wanted to attend a church, we had a leaflet put through our door by the Christadelphians. They were organising a Bible exhibition. We’d never heard of them, but we assumed they were some form of Christians, so my mum and I went along. We stood in front of the glass cabinets, she read me some of the information about what was on display, and we stayed for the talk afterwards. I was impressed with their passion. For example, the man speaking said he once gave someone a Bible and told them: “If you can find a contradiction, I’ll burn it”, and we gave him a round of applause.
I came home, phoned a friend and excitedly told her where I’d been. I said: “They don’t believe in the devil, and they don’t believe in the Holy Spirit”.
Alarm-bells must have started to ring in her head. “Ah. That’s where they go wrong, see.”
“Well, they just … do.” It was fairly late; she probably didn’t want to get into an argument, but I think I was ready to learn about the Holy Spirit. If you are too, hopefully this post will be helpful.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, so He could only be passed on to us when Jesus had finished His life on earth, and gone back to heaven to be with the Father. “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18). The Holy Spirit is our Comforter – the whole reason why the disciples didn’t sink into complete despair after Jesus left them; they had His promise He would send His Spirit.
He’s also our Helper. I wrote yesterday about keeping our relationship with Jesus fresh (remembering His part in our lives, instead of letting that become a thing of the past). The Holy Spirit helps us to do that. He reminds us of everything Jesus has said to us (John 14:26).
And one more: He’s our Empowerer. He gives us power to live our Christian lives. Jesus told His disciples to wait until they were clothed with power from on high before they spread His message to Jerusalem, the places surrounding it, and then to the ends of the earth (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). The more influence the Holy Spirit has in our lives, the more effective we’ll become as Christians. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). If you want to know whether you’re maturing as a Christian, look to see whether there’s evidence of this fruit growing in your life. If you’re someone who used to get irritated with people, do you see yourself becoming more loving, more patient? If you’re someone who would get frustrated and fly off the handle, are you finding that happens less frequently? Hope I can say yes to that one!
God’s Holy Spirit has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). There are plenty of gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy etc (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). I would really encourage you to find out about these, and if you’ve got a question, please ask in the comments. I just wanted to give you a taste of the Holy Spirit – how important He is, and what He can do for us.