In the last three posts, we talked about ways that we connect to God. But all relationships require communication, all relationships are a two-way street. If we connect with God through spiritual disciplines, how does he connect to us?
The Holy Spirit.
God has placed part of Himself inside of us. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity of God. He was there in Creation…
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
…and He dwells in and among us.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
God has given a part of Himself to teach, guide, and grow us. The connection of the Holy Spirit is better than Jesus still being here. We see Jesus saying that himself in John.
“Now I [Jesus] am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
The Holy Spirit connects us to God in a way that Jesus as a man could not. This is because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. He moves us and guides us from within. He does not speak to our ears, He speaks to our souls.
So what exactly does the Holy Spirit do?
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
The Holy Spirit communicates truth to us. He takes what is known by God (the Trinity) and reveals it to us when it is needed. Those of you who read through Scripture, how many times have you re-read a passage and pull different meaning from it because you are in a different stage in your life or you are struggling with a new problem? The Holy Spirit mediates what is revealed to you based on what you need in the moment.
But Scripture isn’t the only place that the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us. Truth can be found everywhere in the world. It could be a lyric in the newest song on the radio. It could be a scene from your favorite movie that you’ve watched a thousand times. It could be a line from that book someone bought you for your birthday. The Holy Spirit can draw from anything He wants to reveal God’s truth to us. We just need to be ready to hear Him.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
The Holy Spirit does not just reveal truth to us, He reveals Jesus to us. He shows us God in the world around us. He stirs within us connections with God. Have you ever been in the mountains as the sun sets behind a peak and recognized the beauty of God’s creation? Have you ever heard the waves crashing against the shore and recognized God’s power? Have you ever been shown kindness by a stranger and recognized God working through them? These moments are the Holy Spirit showing you God in the creation and the people around you.
God is constantly interacting with us in our lives, but we don’t always notice Him. When we remain attentive to the Holy Spirit we see more of the ways that God touches our lives. We feel God responding to us and loving us. This pulling off of the shroud over our eyes strengthens our connection with God. We are no longer praying to a powerful being that sits on a throne far away from us. We are connecting to a God that cares enough for us that He impacts our lives each and every day.
“When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of the world now stands condemned.”
This job of the Holy Spirit is a little different than the last two. When needed, the Holy Spirit convicts us. Some people refer to this as your conscience, but what the Holy Spirit does is so much more. The conscience is the part of every human that was created to reflect God crying out for us to properly reflect God. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is more than that. It’s deeper and stronger and wider reaching.
The conscience is more of a preventer while the Holy Spirit is more of a fixer. The conscience says, “Maybe I shouldn’t lie to my spouse.” The Holy Spirit says, “You lied to your spouse and now you need to rebuild that relationship. Tell her what you did and show her that you won’t do it again.” The conscience works on a small scale while the Holy Spirit is cosmic. The conscience says, “Maybe I should give this homeless person five dollars.” The Holy Spirit says, “There is a break in social relationships if we allow the homeless to starve on the streets. You should start a foundation to shelter and feed the homeless of your town.” Our conscience helps us react, the Holy Spirit tells us to act.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
All of creation, including ourselves, groans for the restoration and salvation of the world. The desire for the shalom of Genesis 1 can be found everywhere, in everything. We hope and we pray for this restoration, but we don’t understand what we pray for. We have never experienced a world without sin. We have no clue what it is like to talk face-to-face with the Father. Because of our weakness that led to sin, we do not understand what we hope for.
But the Holy Spirit does. He was there before creation, since the beginning of time. He helped create the Genesis 1 world that we long to be restored to, and it pains Him to see the brokenness of the world. As we pray for what we do not know, the Holy Spirit groans with us for what was. The Holy Spirit takes our broken understanding and brings it in line with God’s will.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Our actions show what kind of person we are. Peace and kindness come from a heart rooted in a Genesis 1 mentality. Immorality and envy come from a heart rooted in a Genesis 3 mentality. How we interact with others, and what we do when we are alone, tell us, and others, what is in our heart.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control: these are all of a Genesis 1 mentality. These flow out of the Holy Spirit because He is the definition of a Genesis 1 mentality. When we allow the Holy Spirit full access to our lives, He begins to rub off on us so that we produce the same type of fruit that He does.
1 Corinthians 11:4-9, 11
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit…
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
The Holy Spirit does not just help restore us to a Genesis 1 mentality, He gives us specific gifts to help us restore the world around us. God wants us to work alongside Him in the restoration of the world, so he gives us tools to do so.
Just as we were created with unique personalities, the Holy Spirit gives us all different gifts, and combinations of gifts, to fit our unique personalities. This means we are not just meant to work with God, we are meant to work with other humans to restore this world. Our gifts are complementary to each other. We can bring greater healing to the world when we work in community with God and others.
The Holy Spirit is a complex part of the Trinity, a part that isn’t quite as popular to talk about compared to the Father and the Son. Part of that might be because it is hard for us to grasp the concept of the Holy Spirit. But that is part of what makes Him special. He works in mysterious ways, ways that we will never fully understand. But I do know one thing, God placed the Holy Spirit in us so that we could know Him better.
Feel free to comment with any thoughts, ideas, or questions! I would love to hear what you think!