Come Holy Spirit
Jesus promised us and all his followers a wonderful gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in Scripture how the Holy Spirit empowered and changed the lives of the early Christians along with bringing healings and miracles. And we sometimes wonder if these early Christians had “more” of the Spirit than we do. And if that is so, how would we get “more” of the Spirit? In fact, how do we receive the Spirit in the first place?
The Bible asks this of us: “Be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) And we are told not to be passive but to “earnestly desire the best gifts” of the Spirit. (1 Cor.12:31) But then Scripture says that the Spirit distributes the gifts to each person individually as He wills. (1 Cor. 12:11) Wouldn’t the Spirit perhaps want to give us more gifts if we were “earnestly desiring” to receive them?
And though Scripture also tells us that being filled with the Spirit is not something that we achieve through our own efforts, but is something that is done for us. (John 15:26) At the same time we are told to pray for the Holy Spirit to come into our lives. (Luke 11:14) So, since God gives us the Holy Spirit – do we have to ask for Him? What is our part in receiving the Spirit? Let’s see what Scripture says.
Jesus said, “Those who love Me will keep my Word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them…And the Advocate (Helper), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have told you.” (John 14:23, 26) It sounds like if we love God and want more of His Spirit then He gives us more of Himself. Our relationship with God is a two way street it seems.
This Scripture is saying that we receive the Holy Spirit when we love Jesus and try to follow Him (keep His Word). We can never keep all of the Word or the commandments by ourselves - but the Spirit helps us and we are forgiven when we fail. We can never be good enough by ourselves, but He makes us good enough if we love Him! Our part is that we need to be willing – to submit to God – to not shut the door to Him.
Another name for the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Christ”. People who reject Christ and don’t want Him in their lives are not given the Holy Spirit (who will lead them into more of Christ) against their will! Scripture seems to be saying that we get what we want. We may not want Christ because we do not want to give up our favorite sins. God gives us free will and respects our wishes and He never forces us to begrudgingly take His Spirit.
We can pray and ask for the Holy Spirit and then know for sure that our prayer will be answered! Scripture says: “If you, being imperfect parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)
God gives the Spirit to those who love Jesus but we need to reach out and take the gift that we are given. That’s our part. And believe that the Holy Spirit is in our lives and have faith that He is working through us. Move over and give Him space.
I have a ministry visiting older people in our church who are too feeble or sick to go outside their homes or retirement centers. Sometimes before I visit, worries cross my mind. I am shy and I worry that I won’t know what to say to these folk or how to pray for them. That I will just waste their time.
But then I remember that I am not alone-that the powerful Holy Spirit is always there with me. So before I visit I stop and pray and ask Him to fill the visit with His presence and blessings. Then I knock on the door and relax and let the Spirit love this person through me. And when I pray for these dear ones I trust that God hears and blesses them. It is a great comfort to me to know that the Holy Spirit is with me guiding and helping – that I am never alone. So for me the Spirit is a comfort in living my life.
In fact one of the names of the Holy Spirit is the “Comforter”. One of the blessings we receive when we open our lives to the Holy Spirit is the blessing of comfort. Jesus said: “When the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) comes whom I (Jesus) will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which comes from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” (John 15:26) So Jesus and the Bible tell us that the Holy Spirit is a comforter – and a comfort in our lives. But the Spirit is so much more.
The Spirit is dynamic and powerful. Scripture says: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19) The Bible says that the Spirit is the Author of the Old and New Testaments. (2 Sam.23:2, Is.59:21, 2 Tim.3:15-17,John 14:25,26 1 Cor.2:13) He is a Person given as a gift to the church to continue the ministry of the resurrected Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. (Another mystery) The Holy Spirit creates and is a Creator (Genesis 1:2) He is illustrated with symbols that describe Him such as fire (Acts 2:1-2) , wind (Acts 2:1-2) , water (John 7:37-39), a seal (seals us for eternal life) (Eph. 1:13), oil ((Acts 10:38) and a dove ((John 1;32).
The Spirit makes us alive or quickens us. “It is the Spirit that quickens. (makes alive)” (John 6:63) In the Bible we read that Mary, the mother of Christ, became pregnant by the Holy Spirit when she was still a virgin. “…she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit regenerates and renews us. (Titus 3:5) And He prays for us. (Rom.8:26) and He teaches us spiritual truths and reveals things to us. (Luke 12:12) The Spirit reveals things to us! There may have been times in your life when the Spirit revealed something to you or urged you to do something or pushed you into something and maybe you thought it was just your own idea. When is the Spirit nudging us and when is it just our own thought? We don’t always know, do we? My husband remembers an experience he had that he later thinks must have been a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
Years ago my husband, Brendan, got the news that his mother had become very sick and the doctors had diagnosed her with advanced inoperable cancer. Later we got the word that she lay dying in a hospital across the country and Brendan flew back to be with his mother during this difficult time. His mother did not believe that Christ was her Savior and she would become angry when Brendan would talk to her about spiritual things.
One day at the hospital as Brendan was coming down the hospital stairs, he passed a man in a blue suit going up the stairs. As the two passed on the stairway an urgent voice spoke in Brendan’s head and said to him: “Go speak to that man in the blue suit about your mother!” And along with that “voice” Brendan felt like he just had to turn around and run after the stranger on the stairs in the blue suit and speak to him about his mother.
At first Brendan, being a rational person kept going down the stairs and ignoring these voices in his head and these urges he had to chase after this man! After all, these ideas made no sense and Brendan never did things that didn’t make sense to him. And also he didn’t want to make a fool of himself running after a stranger in a blue suit! Wouldn’t the man think he was crazy? And indeed, maybe he was crazy! The battle continued between this “voice” inside Brendan’s head and his rational mind as he continued going down the stairs.
But the urges became even stronger and the voice shouted even louder in his head and finally Brendan could take it no longer! He turned and ran back up the stairs and down the hall and breathlessly caught up with this stranger in the blue suit. Feeling like a complete idiot, Brendan grabbed the man’s arm and asked him if he would stop by his mother’s hospital room and visit her. The man turned and smiled and said he would be glad to do that. In fact the man surprised Brendan when he told him that he was a chaplain and he visited the sick there in the hospital all the time! And he pulled a Bible out from a pocket of his blue suit as they talked.
The man in the blue suit – the chaplain –did indeed visit Brendan’s mother- (my mother-in-law) and he shared Christ with her and she joyfully accepted Christ as her Savior a week before she died. Now the question is, did the Holy Spirit push Brendan into running after the man in the blue suit and asking him to visit his mother or did Brendan just think that up himself? We believe that it was the Holy Spirit, because that is the kind of thing He does!
When we receive the Holy Spirit into our life, we are given a “gift” or “gifts” to use. The nine gifts of the Spirit are 1) the word of wisdom, 2) the word of knowledge, 3) faith, 4) gifts of healing, 5) miracles, 6) prophecy, 7) discerning of spirits, 8) different kinds of tongues, 9) the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
And when we receive the Holy Spirit, we will be able to grow into the “fruits” of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22)
The Bible says: “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) A person who receives the Holy Spirit is definitely a changed person. But some persons seem more changed than others.
We can throw open our lives and ask the Spirit to fill every part of it. Or we can give the Spirit a small corner of our life and try to keep Him out of the rest. And we can even “quench” the Spirit and cover the light that is in us completely! The choice is up to us. Each day we can remember that the Holy Spirit is with us (in us). And keep inviting Him to fill more of our lives.