But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:26–27 (ESV)
1 The Workings of the Spirit Did you know that the Hebrew word for the Spirit literally means “wind” (ruwach)? In the New Testament, the writers use the Greek word pneuma which means “breath or breeze.” Does this make the Holy Spirit a thing? No, the Bible clearly portrays the Spirit as a being—the Spirit of God. But, for some reason, many people refer to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” In sermons and classes, we learn a great deal about God and Jesus, but many times the Holy Spirit is rarely mentioned. In the Scriptures, there is clearly a trinity consisting of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. But where does the Spirit fit into the picture? Most of us have seen the movie Star Wars in which the Force plays a major role. It is the invisible power present throughout the series. Often, we think of the Holy Spirit as a kind of Force. But just as God refers to his Son as “he,” Jesus refers to the Spirit as “he.” The Spirit is a being—a personality—in the same way God and Jesus are. He counsels (NIV) or comforts (KJV) (John 14:15–17). He teaches (John 14:25–26). He tells the truth or testifies about Jesus (John 15:26). He guides (John 16:13). He commands and creates (Genesis 1:1–2). He intercedes in prayer (Romans 8:26). He is in you (Romans 8:9)! When we look closely, throughout the Scriptures, we see that the Holy Spirit is everywhere! He was present at the creation of the world.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1–2, NLT, emphasis added)
He was present at the conception of Jesus Christ!
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18, NLT, emphasis added)
He was present at the baptism of Jesus.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. (Matthew 3:16, NLT, emphasis added)
He was present at Christ’s resurrection.
The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 1:3–4, NLT, emphasis added)
He was present at the beginning of the Church on the Day of Pentecost.
Peter replied, “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. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentile—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. (Acts 2:38–41, NLT, emphasis added)
And he is still with us today! Dear brothers and sisters, haven’t you always wanted someone to really understand you? Someone who really knew you and still accepted you as you are? Someone to whom you could tell all your secrets, and who would, in turn, tell you all their secrets? Someone who gives freely to you and never holds back from you? Someone you feel completely safe with?
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:10–12, NLT, emphasis added)
Hanging out with God’s Spirit is like hanging out with your best friend. You whisper secrets to each other. He understands your thoughts. He knows how you feel. He tells you the deep secrets of God. He gives willingly and completely. He is always with you, knowing all your fears, all your insecurities, all your joys, all your hopes and dreams. He is familiar with all your ways.
You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! (Psalm 139:2–7, NLT, emphasis added)
His Spirit surrounds us, enveloping us with his unconditional love. There is nowhere you can go to hide from the Holy Spirit. Even before you speak a word, he knows what you are going to say…yes, he even knows when you mess up! He knows you completely and follows you far and wide. He lives inside of you—your body is his temple! (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are never alone. He will follow you into death and lead you to your eternal home, because he is eternal.
So it is with you. When you heard the true teaching—the Good News about your salvation—you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he had promised. That Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive what God promised for his people until God gives full freedom to those who are his—to bring praise to God’s glory. (Ephesians 1:13–14, NCV)
I had two very cute little dogs named Kumo and Sakura. They were adorable, white and fluffy Maltese. From the moment I woke up in the morning, those two little creatures watched my every movement. Even though they may have been in a deep sleep, if I would get up to go to a different room, they would both jump up to follow me. When I was in a bad mood and ignored them, they still wagged their tails and showed me unconditional love. When I am alone at home and a bit scared, I used to cuddle up next to them, and they would not mind a bit, but instead, seemed to love every moment they could be near me. Of course, there may be those of you out there who are not dog lovers, but the point is that it is a nice feeling to have a loyal, loving and faithful friend beside you all the time. The Holy Spirit is more than a devoted pet animal. He is more than a reliable friend. He is more than a loving husband or a faithful wife. He is more than a boyfriend or girlfriend. He will even give you special gifts, which we will talk about later in this chapter. Dear friend, open up your heart and your mind to allow the winds of the Spirit to blow through your heart, your mind and your soul—to lead you, instruct you, love you, direct you and teach you. Think about him today and every day as you walk together with him on your journey. Let his power be revealed in you and through you.