“You should come tonight! I wanna hear your thoughts on the Holy Spirit.”
“Oh no,” I thought as I inwardly shuddered. I had teetered on whether or not to go to small group that evening and this text from a wife of one of the pastor’s at my church honestly didn’t encourage me to go. My thoughts on the Holy Spirit? Frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time I had thought about it. Or Him. Or however you’re supposed to refer to some Being that I didn’t understand partly because He was one of those thing that’s too infinite for my finite mind. Partly because I never took the time to think about Him and know Him.
I want to lie to you and say this was months or even years ago. I want to say thay since my rededication to Christ in my adult years I have meditated regularly on the Holy Spirit. But I won’t lie to you. This was two weeks ago. As much as my pride dug its heels in and didn’t want to go talk about something I felt uneducated on, something else in me, or rather Someone else in me, compelled me to go that night. The words of this pastor’s wife cut to my heart. She made me realize I was hungry. A great longing erupted in me to know and engage more with this forgotten part of the Trinity. I was hungry for more.
Holy Spirit who?
My intent with this new blog series is not to dive deep into the Holy Spirit Himself. There are much wiser people than I who can more adequately and fully speak on Him. As I said, I hadn’t given Him much thought until a couple weeks ago, though I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Him since. Rather my intent is to learn, alongside with my readers, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Yet, if in my entry blogpost to this series I didn’t mention who He is that would be doing my readers a disservice. We would simply be looking at flowers and leaves. They are beautiful in a sense, but we don’t know what makes them beautiful until we examine the roots. And to get more flowers, we don’t pluck the flower off from the plant, throw it in the ground and expect new plants to grow. No! We must have and desire the root to have the flower.
Judaism took a swift change when God put on flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. It took another turn when the Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended to heaven. We realized this one God had three parts: Father, Son, and Spirit. Christianity became such a shock to the Jewish people as this seemed so contrary to their monotheism. How can there be three in one? Each part being different but each equally God?
Honestly, this concept is still something I’m grappling with. It doesn’t make sense to my finite mind and part of it never will. If God were something I could grasp, He wouldn’t be worthy of my worship. What I do know is this: there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We see that the Son, or Jesus is equal to God as part of the opening prologue of the book of John (John 1:1-5) says, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later as he writes, he exchanges the names from “Word” to “Son” or “Jesus” and “God” to “Father” further identifying that They are different but each the same God. In John 14:16, Jesus said that God would send “another Advocate.” Jesus was the first Advocate and the Holy Spirit is the second. This puts Him, a person of God (therefore not an “it”), on par with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is also equally God.
They are all the one God, each equal, yet not the same. This concept is whispered throughout the Old Testament and shouted in the New Testament. The biblical references would be too exhaustive to list here and I likely, as uneducated as I am in theology and apologetics, would miss pivotal passages. I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. Particularly on the point of the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to read and meditate on the chapters of John 14-16. If you were not to read another word of mine, yet go soak in the inspired words of God found in the Bible, I would be overwhelmed with joy.
Hungry for More
In his book, Forgotten God, Francis Chan asked a question that goes something like this: would you want to spend a day with Jesus in person, or continue on with the Holy Spirit for the day? Most would say Jesus, but likely this is because we don’t understand the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said in John 16:7, “but in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send Him to you.” We don’t realize the power of the living Spirit of God in us.
When the first followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit as accounted in Acts 2, Peter preached so boldly that others were cut to the heart and asked how they too could be filled. He replied in Acts 2:38, “each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We must repent and be baptized to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul says in Romans 8:11 that we have life in our mortal bodies because, “the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” This is what Jesus meant by it being best that He goes and the Advocate comes. Jesus rose from the dead as our means of justification before God and now the Spirit that raised Him from the dead lives within us. We have life because the Spirit of the Author of life resides in those who have received Him.
This is a great hype read, yet do our lives reflect it? Francis Chan also remarked in the same book that likely if we completely took the Holy Spirit out of the modern day church, we wouldn’t look any different from the rest of the world. This isn’t how it is supposed to be. We are to be marked: to be different than those around us. Yet, all too often, there isn’t anything remarkable in the lives of Christians. Are we satisfied with this? I know I for one am not.
In this blog series, I want to share with my readers what it is supposed to look like to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We too often live our lives like Paul perfectly said in the passage of Romans 7:15-20, “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” This is not the predicament God wanted us to be stuck in. This is exactly why we have the Holy Spirit living within us. We must choose to be aware of Him, listen to Him, and follow His leading.
In this series, we will be learning and meditating on the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Notice that it says “fruit” not “fruits.” We glean from this that it is all the aspects at once, not simply one of them we can possess if we allow the Spirit to manifest Himself in our lives.
If containing all nine attributes at once wasn’t indication enough, I want to be clear that I am not giving you a step by step formula to become more loving or faithful. You cannot do this alone. This isn’t simply normal love or joy or peace. It is supernatural. It is something that marks us as different from those who don’t know God. No, my intent is not to write a self help series. My intent is to give glory to God and push my readers to listen to the Spirit’s guiding.
I don’t pretend to be an expert at any of the subjects I write about, but this one in particular is something I am currently growing and learning about. If you want to read more on the Holy Spirit, first, I recommend you study your Bible. You will find no better source of Truth than this. For further reading, I recommend Forgotten God by Francis Chan, How to be filled with the Holy Spirit by A. W. Tozer, and Knowing God by J. I. Packer. I’m sure there are many more resources out there but these are what I have read personally and therefore recommend. I hope you are as excited to learn with me as I am with you. One thing I know for certain, I am hungry for more.