Every time we hear the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God, we tend to imagine crazy people mouthing off words that do not make sense. Several years back as a new believer, I did not understand who the Holy Spirit was and I just thought of doves every time I hear the Holy Spirit. For many generations, the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood and the new age Christianity has not made it easy to ward off these confusions. False works and religions have made the Holy Spirit look cheap and of no value. So, picture an unbeliever who walks into the church for the very first time wanting to hear from God, and all he or she sees are people falling over and rattling various words. This sight was very scary for me and I told myself I did not want anything to do with these weird people.
I had friends who attended a different church than I did, so I was always invited to tag along. I always wondered why people kept inviting me to their churches as if mine was not enough. Many times I sat in the pews and witnessed people give their life to Christ and the preacher says “receive the Holy Spirit”. What does he mean by that? I wondered. I wanted to understand more so I began searching the scriptures on everything about the Holy Spirit.
How could I receive Jesus Christ but know nothing about the Holy Spirit? I don’t know if you have ever come to that point in your life where you feel like you should be further than where you are. I am not speaking in the physical sense but in the spirit. I spent most of my life away at boarding school, which was when my journey with the Lord started. Whatever I could not learn at home, I waited till I was back at school to continue my research to understanding God.
If the Holy Spirit is a new topic to you, I urge you to please open your hearts and ask the Lord to make everything clearer as you read. It is important that we understand who the Holy Spirit is, how he functions in our lives and how to seek him.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Spirit of God has always been present even before man was created, he is still at work in our midst and he will be present at the end of time. I will outline the identity of the Holy Spirit based on scriptures.
The Holy Spirit is God and the unique third Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Everything about God is love and so is his Spirit (Acts 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). He is a unique Person and as such wants a relationship with us. Yet many people grieve or sadden him (Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:29), quench him (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and resist him (Acts 7:51).
The Holy Spirit was actively involved in the creation and thus he is the invisible hand and power of God (Genesis 1:1-2). He is also the breath of God or ruach Elohim (Genesis 6:3; John 20:22). This power of God brought the worlds into existence, placing the stars, moon, sun, waters, and creatures in their rightful place (Isaiah 40:26). This same power works in our present time to accomplish the plans and purposes of God. Jesus tells us we have to be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). In other words, we must return to God’s original plan which is to embody the Holy Spirit (his breath) and live according to his will (Job 33:4).
The Holy Spirit is our Helper or Parakletos (Greek). Jesus sends us this helper because he knew that once he left the earth, Satan will wage war on us in order to weaken and deceive us (pervert and manipulate our thoughts towards God) (John 14:16; John 16:7).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:15-17; John 15:26; John 16:13). We must remember that God is almighty and he will never lie (Numbers 23:19). Whenever you are in doubt or are facing unwanted circumstances or trials, the Holy Spirit at that moment bears witness to the truth (which is Jesus Christ) and he reminds us constantly of whom we are and what God has promised in his word.
The Holy Spirit is the author of the scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). The prophecies and acts in the bible were recorded as directed by the Spirit of God (Jeremiah 1:9). I would like to point out here that every believer (those who heard and truly believed in Jesus) already has the Holy Spirit residing in him or her (Ephesians 1:13; John 7:38-39; Romans 8:11). The Spirit fills us and gives us his breath and strength to live out God’s will. He inspires the words we see in the Bible for purposes of building, teaching, correction and reminding us of everything that God has done for us.
What does the Holy Spirit do for us?
The Holy Spirit tells us the truth of Jesus Christ and in that effect glorifies God in our lives (John 16: 13-14; Ephesians 1:17-19). When you are faced with a difficult situation say an illness or addiction, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the truth of God’s words. In John 16:33, Jesus says “in this world, we will have tribulations, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world”. Jesus also promises us in Matthew 28:20 that he is with us always even unto the end of the age (end of your life or end of the world).
The Holy Spirit convicts (reveals our wrongs and leads us back to God) us of sin, not condemn (one is found guilty and sentenced to eternal hell and away from God towards death) (John 16:8-13). In our generation, the line between Godly and worldly living has become blurry (everything is mixed up and disguised). Those who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are guided and empowered to do the will of God, fight satanic manipulations and corruptions. Since the Spirit is connected to our conscience, we are continually transformed into the image of God and will also hear his voice (John 18:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
The Holy Spirit is our teacher. If there is anyone that can teach or show us hidden things, it is the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). Our generation is blessed because we have access to every version of the written word of God. Everything you need to know about sex, work, marriage, fear, confidence, etc. is already in the bible. Unfortunately, we live in times where visual stimulation is preferred to reading, so instead of making God our role model, we look to celebrities and miss the bus. So I urge every believer to live according to God’s standards because you may be the bible that many young people will read.
The Holy Spirit gives us hope in times of trials (Romans 5:3-5; Romans 15:13; Philippians 3:3). Many people are under the impression that accepting Christ means no trials. This is false because we live in a sinful world and thus we are not immune to trials. I was once told that because God allowed me to miscarry, then it means that he doesn’t care. Truly, I did ask God if he even cared that I kept miscarrying. I got my response from Romans 8:28 which says “that all things work together for good to them that love God and called according to his purpose”. This tells me that as a believer, every miscarriage is working together for a divine purpose. The Holy Spirit continued to remind me that my main purpose on earth is to become Christ-like and these trials are sanctification moments (1 Peter 1:6-7). If you don’t go through trials; you will never know the extent to which you are dedicated to God. Romans 5:3-5 also showed me that with each trial, I found endurance, then my true character was built and this character bred new hope. Not hope in what I should or should not have, but hope in the grace of God that brings all things to fruition. As a believer, I urge you not to give up when you undergo trials because in them you find completion and wholeness (James 1:2-4; James 1:12).
You will never question your identity in Christ because of the Holy Spirit. The scripture says the Holy Spirit bears witness that we are the children of God (Romans 8:14-15-17; Acts 1:8; Galatians 4:6). When you receive Christ, you are making a personal confession and covenant. Thus, no matter your situation in life, the Spirit of God will cause you to be victorious and blessed because of the name you profess and bear.
The Holy Spirit seals us with the power to become witnesses or evangelizers of Christ (Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11; Acts 1:7-8; Acts 4:31; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 3:6). 1 Peter 4:14 says “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you”. By virtue of our belief in Christ, the Holy Spirit endows us with the knowledge of the Father (Isaiah 11:2). He also makes us competent by giving us endurance, courage, words of wisdom, grace and various supernatural gifts in order to make manifest the Kingdom of God (2 Timothy 1:7). Jesus did say in John 14: 12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father”.
The Holy Spirit grants believers various gifts (wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, perform miracles, prophesy, tell spirits apart, speak in different languages they never knew, ability to explain these languages) as he sees fit, for the benefit of God’s people and for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 12: 1-11; Acts 2:4; Acts 2 :17-18; Acts 10: 38). I first witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit when I met a group of students who studied at a University in Nigeria with me. These students I believe were chosen by God to battle the demonic powers that held our University and its student’s captive. As God had planned, it turns out that praying and walking with these students ignited the power of the Holy Spirit within me and I began to use the gifts to serve God’s purpose. I will discuss this story a bit more when I write about demonic spirits. Should I chase these gifts? No, only focus on serving and doing the will of God, and the Spirit will give these gifts based on what he has called you to do.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayers (Romans 8:26-27). There are times in our lives when we do not know how or what to pray for. Sometimes we might be overwhelmed by the situations we are in and there seems to be no hope. The Holy Spirit helps intercede for us in three ways; he helps us in our weaknesses, he searches our hearts and what we ought to pray for, and he knows how to ask the Father for our needs according to his will. I could not understand why my Dad sent me to study in South Africa and chose to abandon me, thus leaving me penniless. Just like Paul (Philippians 1: 22-24), I was hard-pressed to either live and continue suffering or take my life and rest in Christ (or so I thought). I told this story in full in my blog “Lifted by Grace”. In my prayers, I felt the Spirit groan within me and I began speaking in another language, for what I do not know. I later realized that the purpose of the suffering was to ensure my father or uncle had no spiritual, traditional or legal rights to decide who I marry. The Holy Spirit knows all things and while I didn’t know how to pray for my future, he was working it all out for good and turned my tests to testimonies.
The Holy Spirit grants deliverance and freedom from Satan (2 Corinthians 3:17). I will also expand on this when I speak about demons.
The Holy Spirit grants us his fruits (in this regard meaning his personalities). Galatians 5: 22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law”. The Spirit of God continuously works in us to mould us into the image of Christ Jesus. God says he will give us a new spirit and a new heart so that we can walk in his commands (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Why do I need to seek the Holy Spirit?
God is just and he will never force anything on anyone because we have been given free will and a choice to make (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:15; Ezekiel 18:30-32). So the importance of seeking a relationship with the Holy Spirit includes;
- Experiencing new birth in Christ Jesus and eternal life in God’s kingdom (John 3:5; Romans 8:11)
- The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us and gives us the boldness to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour (1 Corinthians 12:3).
- We can only attain holiness or be set apart for God’s glory through the sanctification or blessing of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14).
- Without the Holy Spirit, we will not experience victory over Satan or freedom from the desires of the flesh (Romans 8:13).
- We need the Holy Spirit for Godly wisdom to live in this fallen world (Ephesians 1:17). Without him, we live wasted and foolish lives. I believe David and Solomon can attest to it as we see in the book of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
- We need the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s will using the gifts he bestows on us (1 Corinthians 12:7).
How do I seek the Holy Spirit?
Yes, we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us because we have believers. This does not mean we should not seek him continuously. It is like saying now I am married, I do not have to work at my marriage. You will not experience full blessings if you begin to take your marriage for granted or do not continuously learn about your spouse. Seek the Spirit so that you will experience his fullness and power in abundance, especially in the trying times of our lives (Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 11:13). Jesus says in Luke 11:9-10 “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:18“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”. Now the question remains, how do I seek the Holy Spirit?
- You must have a desire for the Spirit of God. Desire is important because it is the building block to pursuing what is important to you. If the Spirit of God is important to you, your desire and thirst for him must exceed every other thing. God has set before us (life or death), but he says choose life (the Holy Spirit). I was so envious of the way David hungered for the Spirit of God (Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God”). David was a great King, not because he lived the most pious life but because his soul always desired to be in the presence of God.
- You must believe and have faith in Jesus Christ, through whom we receive the Spirit (Galatians 3:14). Jesus says in John 7:37-39 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this, he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
- We do not just want the Spirit to dwell in us but to be active. This can only be achieved when we recognize and have a relationship with the Spirit of God. This relationship is formed through studying and meditating (ponder on what you read) on the word of God. The word and the Spirit are one and both are life (John 6:63). In this relationship, the Holy Spirit will answer every question you have, become very protective of you and reveal hidden mysteries. Dwight L. Moody says “There is no greater evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit”. You may have had situations where you are about to go somewhere or enter a business deal and something in your heart tells you not to. That is the Spirit of God, and the more in tune you are with him, the stronger those warnings become.
- Obedience to the word of God guarantees direct contact to the Holy Spirit. When we are called to a higher standard of living, we tend to reject and protest against it. This happens because the flesh, which contradicts the Spirit of God is always in favor of self-gratification (feel-good stuff) (John 14:23). The Spirit of God is about truth and not about what feels good. If you are serious about seeking a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you must strive to be uncommon (2 Corinthians 6:17). If we are to be uncommon, we must hold fast to the obedience of what is written in the word of God. Many times you will fall but many times you shall arise and each time, your spirit man (part of your tripartite being) becomes sensitive (quick to listen and obey) to the Holy Spirit.