When I was just a kid, we never said “Holy Spirit” in church. It was always “Holy Ghost.” Yes, the Holy Ghost was mentioned twice in the Apostle’s Creed that we said every Sunday, but I cannot remember a Sunday School lesson or much less an actual sermon about the Holy Spirit.
The third member of the Trinity was pretty ghostly in my youth.
And yet, He’s the very first person of the Trinity mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 1:2), it was the Spirit God breathed into Adam (Genesis 2:7), and the Holy Spirit is present and accounted for throughout the Old Testament. Here’s a link to a brief article about that: https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/blog/the-holy-spirit-in-the-old-testament/
When we come to the New Testament, the Holy Spirit moves into a much more visible position. He was present at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:13-17), He appeared in mighty power at Pentecost (Acts 2:3), and Paul credits the Holy Spirit with raising Jesus from the dead in Romans 8:11.
But how many of us remember that the Holy Spirit is intended to be part of our daily lives? When Jesus taught His disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer, He concluded by saying in Luke 11:11-13:
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (NIV)
For too many years, I just tried to live a good life and keep the commandments by the sheer force of my own will. Of course, that led to frustration and guilt and shame because, as a human being, that is impossible.
I felt like I should buy stock in the company that printed T-shirts with Paul’s “wretched man” lament in Romans 7. Even though I didn’t want to, just like Paul, I kept doing the things I did not want to.
Then, what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:16-18 hit me right between the eyes:
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.” (NLT)
What glorious freedom that is! Living in the Spirit! That gift of the Spirit, that wonderful in-dwelling of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave lives in me and in you! And yes, when I find myself succumbing to temptation I do find I am silencing or ignoring that Holy Spirit within me! Paul describes the result of that in verses 19-21:
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (NLT)
Of course you cannot inherit the kingdom if you reject and ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in your life! You’ve rejected the seal, the down payment and guarantee of eternal life! (See Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:22, 2 Cor 5:5, and Romans 8:6-7.) Then Paul gives us a very clear list in verses 22-23 of what we do get when live in the Spirit:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (NLT)
So, while I have occasionally felt like the Holy Spirit was haunting me when I should have been paying attention to Him, He is not some nebulous apparition. The Holy Spirit has filled me with tears of joy, has directed me, spoken to me, and I have prayed he would put these words on the page for you to read.
I know He speaks and sings through what you hear on Kinship Radio.
Galatians 5: 24-25
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (NLT)