Although I have experienced the Holy Spirit’s goodness, power and witness in my life, I can’t fully grasp and explain everything about Him. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want a fully explainable and predictable God. There’s adventure, curiosity, and beauty in His mystery, especially when realizing God’s character is steeped in truth and love.
I can imagine the character Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story saying of God’s Spirit: “He’s to infinity and BEYOND!”
After all, He is Co-Creator of the world and of people.
As a student who is dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I approach this subject carefully and in awe.
Why study the Holy Spirit?
Herbert Lockyer writes, “It is imperative to grasp the truth of the Spirit for many reasons,” [mainly]:
Because it is a neglected doctrine
Because it is a misunderstood doctrine
Because it is a perverted doctrine
Because it is a Scriptural doctrine
Because it is a practical doctrine
Realizing that God’s Spirit can never be contained, or placed in a neatly labeled box, my next few posts will be a simple summary of the Holy Spirit’s characteristics and ministry from a biblical view. For a more in depth study, I recommend Herbert Lockyer’s excerpt “The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit” from All the Doctrines of the Bible.
Tony Evans book, The Promise, is also enlightening. Tony writes:
To talk about a relationship with the Holy Spirit is at the same time to talk about a relationship with the Father and the Son. Yet, because the Spirit is a distinct Person in the Godhead with a distinct ministry, we also benefit from His unique ministry . . . . The vast resources of the Spirit are for every individual within the church.”
What is your understanding and relationship concerning the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is not merely a nice addendum to the Christian faith. He is at the heart and core of it. He is not merely a force or an influence. He is the third Person of the Trinity, God Himself.” – Tony Evans, The Promise
One of the Holy Spirit’s role is to illuminate Scripture—guiding believers to understand the meaning of the words that the Spirit Himself already inspired (2 Peter 1:20-2:1). This ministry of enlightenment is the process by which the Spirit enables believers to grasp and apply God’s truth in daily life.
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 (NIV) states: . . . . These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Abide in Christ
When we abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit translates God’s very thoughts to us! (1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 John 2:20-27) He acts as a transmitter to and through our human spirit (Proverbs 20:27). Although my mind can’t fully grasp all the workings of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity, I stand amazed by this mysterious truth.
The Holy Spirit Sheds Light
The Holy Spirit, part of the Godhead, knows the deepest thoughts of God. We can trace His role of Illuminator back to Creation—hovering over the earth, dispelling darkness when God said: “Let there be light.”
Our natural minds don’t speak God’s language. Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, our understanding is muddled. He desires to help us by clarifying spiritual truth.
Results of the Holy Spirit’s Illumination
Clarity, order, peace, faith, and hope dispel confusion, chaos, turmoil, fear, and despair when we communicate with the Holy Spirit.
Another aspect of the Holy Spirit’s illuminating work is the power of spiritual recall (John 14:26). This usually doesn’t mean remembering word for word passages (at least not in my case), but rather remembrance of a point or paraphrase of Scripture previously read. Countless times the Holy Spirit has counseled me–opening my “spiritual eyes” to His objective truth–helping me in various situations.
Qualifications to Receive Spirit’s Benefits
The promise of the Holy Spirit’s teaching and recall ministry is for all believers. What is Jesus’ condition for receiving the Spirit’s indwelling presence and His benefits?
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” – John 14:21
Honestly, I struggle sometimes hearing the Holy Spirit speak through His Word. Sometimes He is quiet. But most often, there are competing signals—busy thoughts, worldly attractions, sin, Satan’s distractions, etc. So I have to ask: How is my spiritual antenna? Does God have my undivided attention? What signals might be jamming up the communication lines with God?
How’s your communication going with God? . . . . More to come: The Holy Spirit.