The Holy Who?
What pops into your mind when you hear “The Holy Spirit”?
Many Christians have a tough time giving an explanation when asked what or who the Holy Spirit is. He can be mysterious to us. He can be ambiguous to us. For some, we even get a little freaked out because we think the Holy Spirit makes us act like this:
The truth about the Holy Spirit is that He is a person. The third person of the Trinity in fact. He is God. And His primary purpose within the Godhead is to indwell the believer, sanctify them (make them into the image of Christ), seal them for the day of redemption, and empower them to live a life that glorifies God.
Some of the most frustrated people on earth are not necessarily non-believers. They are often believers who are trying, with much angst, to live the Christian life; and doing so in their own power rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples in John 16:7 that it was to their advantage that he go away (ascend to heaven after his resurrection), because if he didn’t go away then the Helper (the Holy Spirit) would not come.
Think about that. That’s a crazy statement by Jesus. The disciples have the Son of God Himself in the flesh right there with them. The very hands through which the universe was created (Colossians 1:16)…the Messiah…the Savior of the world, standing and living among them…and he tells them that it’s better for them that He go so that He can send the Helper to them. Why is that better?! Most of us would say (and think all the time) that we would love to have Jesus right here with us, walking among us…that would make following Him so much easier, right? Wrong, according to Jesus. The Spirit is better for us. He’s our Helper.
But what makes the Spirit better than the actual physical presence of Jesus among us? 2 things: (1) He indwells us with the presence of God and (2) He empowers us with the power of God.
When we become new creations in Christ through faith in Him, the Spirit immediately indwells us. This is the essence of why Jesus said that this is better, because we don’t just have Jesus among us, we actually have the spirit of Jesus in us. Filling us, empowering us, training us, convicting us, teaching us, shaping us, sanctifying us…from the inside out. That’s fantastic news!!
But the problem for many Christians is that we have this amazing power source within us (God Himself!) and yet we don’t tap into Him…we don’t listen to Him, we don’t surrender to Him and give Him control. We suppress Him and defiantly try to live the Christian life in our own power, our own wisdom, and with our limited understanding.
It reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago while with some friends at the lake. I had gotten on a wave-runner and taken off down the lake. I’m going along having a blast when suddenly the engine sputters and dies. I’m not sure what the problem is, so I decide to swim the waver-runner back to the dock, which turned out to be about a ½ mile. By the time I got back to the dock I was absolutely exhausted. As I sat there winded on the dock I thought about what an image that can be for us in the Christian life. We’re fighting like crazy, trying to push this Christian life along but we’re exhausted and borderline powerless…while all the while we’ve got this amazing power source at our finger-tips that we’re not tapping into.
Pause now and ask God to help you to die to yourself and submit to the Spirit’s filling and power in your life.
Read more about how to practically be filled with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis and allow Him to empower you to live a holy and God-glorifying life.
Also, Francis Chan recently wrote a great book all about the Holy Spirit called Forgotten God. You can order it here.