By Pastor Tom Davidson
A tremendous amount of confusion and controversy exists about the Holy Spirit today. You can visit churches today were people experience hysterical laughter said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, or you can go places where people fall down on the ground, where they even growl like animals…all in the name of the Holy Spirit. A generation ago A. W. Tozer wrote, “When the average Christian thinks about the Holy Spirit, he is likely to imagine a nebulous substance like a wisp of invisible smoke which is said to be present in churches and to hover over good people when they die.” Part of our problem is that the Holy Spirit seems so mystical. We can picture God the Father, because we’ve all seen fathers. We can picture God the Son because He became human and we can read about what He did and what He’s like. But when we try to picture the Holy Spirit our minds go blank, and we end up with symbols like a dove, or wind, or fire. Different churches tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit in different ways: Charismatic and Pentecostal churches focus on His power, while evangelicals tend to emphasize the Spirit’s work in bringing attention to Jesus Christ, and still Roman Catholics focus on the Holy Spirit working through the church hierarchy. Entire churches have split over how to understand the Holy Spirit. When we talk about what Christians believe about God we have the Christian idea of God as a trinity or even better would be a triune God. The trinity is simply a summary of the Bible’s teaching that within the nature of the one true God there are three eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a force or an influence.
The 66 books of the Bible present God the Father as our creator, God the Son as our savior, and God the Holy Spirit as the one who takes what Jesus did and applies it to our lives. You might think of God the Father as God for us, God the Son as God with us, and God the Holy Spirit as God in us. Now every orthodox Christian whether Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, or Charismatic would agree with that statement, but the real confusion comes not in who the Holy Spirit is, but in what He does. The Holy Spirit makes God real to us. The Holy Spirit brings us into an experience with God through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, then, is the wellspring of all genuine Christian experience, so it’s not surprising that Christians would differ about what the Holy Spirit does since Christians have such different personal experiences with God.
You know, the human body is a most remarkable machine. It can maintain a constant temperature of about 98.6 degrees no matter what the weather is outside. Whether a person is at the Arctic Circle or the equator, his body temperature is about the same. There’s an inner mechanism that makes the difference. In the same way, the Holy Spirit dwells within you as a Christian to achieve this kind of stabilization in terms of spiritual health. Whether you face good times or bad, whether you’re tempted or receiving spiritual nourishment, the Holy Spirit keeps you stable within. How? By His various ministries and workings in your life. By keeping you eternally saved. Be sure to thank the Lord for that blessed fact today! By teaching you and guiding you into His truth. But remember – the Holy Spirit teaches us through God’s Word. So…are you reading and learning from and memorizing God’s Word so that He can teach and guide you in it? The Holy Spirit is developing godly character – the character of Jesus Christ – in your life. But is it possible you’ve let sin choke out the Holy Spirit’s power to change you into the image of God’s holy Son? Do you need to confess and forsake that sin to the Lord today? Finally, the Holy Spirit comforts you in times of suffering, struggle and trial. Praise God for the blessed Holy Spirit! Believer let Him have full sway in your life. Obey His voice. Endeavor to keep sin out of your life.