Last week, we considered Jesus’ amazing claim that the disciples were actually better off that He was leaving them because it meant that they would receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is just what we need but misunderstanding about what He actually does in a person’s life can cause confusion and frustration. There are at least four things that the Holy Spirit does in a person’s life.
1. He helps you to understand what God wants you to know.
Have you ever had an experience where you finally just ‘got it’ – where you understood a truth with greater clarity and force than you ever had before? That’s what the Holy Spirit does. One of the effects of sin is that it darkens the mind (Romans 1:21). It makes reading the Bible dull and difficult. But the Holy Spirit “enlightens” us so that we can understand (Ephesians 1:17-18). He “interprets spiritual truths” for believers so that we can understand their force and significance (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the truth.
2. He persuades you to believe what God wants you to believe.
Have you ever had a friend who tried to talk you out of something stupid? Or who was there to convince you of something that was really important? That’s what the Holy Spirit does in your life. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8) and “bear witness about me” (John 15:26). Left to ourselves, we’re too stubborn to accept many things. The Holy Spirit persuades us to believe the truth.
3. He gives you power to do what God wants you to do.
Do you remember what happened when Jesus was arrested and then crucified? There were departures and denials. Eventually, the disciples went back to fishing. But the problem wasn’t just a lack of information. They just didn’t have the power to do what they knew was right. This is our biggest problem, too. The Holy Spirit gives us that power. Jesus promised His followers, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The boldness and courage you see in the disciples was a result of the Holy Spirit within them. The spiritual gifts they received enabled them to minister as Jesus had. The Holy Spirits empowers us to fulfill God’s will.
4. He helps you become the person God wants you to be.
Sometimes, I feel like a lot of the confusion about the Holy Spirit would be cleared up if we just remembered that He is the “Holy” Spirit. He’s not the Dramatic Spirit or the Mystical Spirit or the Magical Spirit. God’s Spirit is primarily concerned with our holiness. He makes us more like Jesus. That why it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit works from the inside to teach us, persuade us, and empower us to be more holy, to be more like Jesus. It’s significant that these qualities are called “the fruit” of the Spirit, because we know that fruit doesn’t grow overnight. It takes time to reap a harvest, but once a skilled gardener plants an orchard, the fruit can be assured.
The Holy Spirit works within us to teach us what we need to know. He persuades us when our stubbornness would resist. He empowers to do things that we wouldn’t otherwise be capable of. And we can be assured that the holiness project that He has embarked on in our lives will finally bring results. The Holy Spirit is just what we needed!
Knowing what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives, how do we cooperate? Are there ways that we can help or hinder His effectiveness? What’s our part in this process? Those are the questions we’ll tackle in next week’s post. For now, try to be conscious of the ways He is trying to teach you. Consider whether there are areas where He’s working to convince you. Trust in the power that He provides to do what God asks of you. And look for the ways that He might be seeking to develop qualities of holiness in your life.
In awe of Him,