The Holy Spirit

 
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I woke up one Sunday morning and walked out into the living room to find that classic Sunday morning scene: All the chairs had been dragged away from the table and set up in a circle in front of the couches. Every single blanket in the entire house had been collected from cupboards and drawers and beds and thrown haphazardly over the tops of the chairs. The effect created the well-known and timeless cornerstone of childhood: the blanket cubby.

From inside the cubby house came the muffled giggles and whispers of my four little kids. Slowly I crept over, lifted up a corner of a blanket and peeked inside.

“It’s Mummy!” someone announced.

“Good morning, my little sweeties!” I grinned.

“Shh! Mummy! Good morning,” they whispered, “but go away! We’re in Jurassic World, and we’re hiding from dinosaurs!”

I dropped the blanket corner and walked away with a smile. I wondered when the dinosaurs were scheduled to show up. I wondered how much time I had to sit down with a hot morning beverage.

It didn’t take long for the little whispers to turn into arguing voices: “Pretend the dinosaurs found us!”

“No! Pretend they didn’t!”

“Well something has to happen!”

The arguing voices turned into shouts: “You can’t play that way!” . . . “Well, I built this fort!”

Then someone must have pushed someone else, or someone jostled someone out of their way, and it happened—the crash. Falling chairs and collapsing blanket ceilings, followed by the inevitable shrieks and cries of, “Mummy! Mummy! Our cubby house! It’s ruined! It fell down! The dinosaurs will eat us! Mummeeeeeeeee!”

I came rushing over to scoop up crying bundles of little bodies. Hugging them, I tried to say above the sobbing, “It’s OK, sweeties! It’s OK, no-one’s hurt, nothing got broken, the mess can be cleaned up (thinking like a mother), it’s OK. Mummy’s here, my loves, Mummy’s here. Shhh, Mummy’s here.”

That’s when one of my little boys looked up at me and said, “I don’t just want you to be here, Mummy—I want you to fix it!”
 

God and I

I’m afraid this is how I approach God, too. I don’t just want you to be here, God, I want you to fix it! Your presence is nice and everything. Your comfort—great; You can hear me—great; but what I really want, God, is for You to fix things. For You to change things. Because I know You can. And I want that. I’m not satisfied with some fuzzy feeling. I need change. I need answers. I need help. I need You to fix it!

This isn’t a crazy thing to want. In our confusing, conflicted, fear-charged times, it’s reasonable to want a God who can fix things. But when we become hyper-focused on our desires for change, is it possible that we’re missing a fundamental attribute of who God is? What if there’s more to God than just a big Fix-it Man?

Sometimes we want God to change our circumstances more than we want to enjoy His presence.

Just before Jesus was preparing to leave our world, He told His closest followers that it was for their benefit that He was going away, so that He could send Someone else: the Comforter. Who is this Person that could ever even possibly make Jesus’ absence seem like a good thing? How could anyone else’s company take the place of Jesus? The Comforter Jesus talked about is the Holy Spirit. At first glance, “comforting” sounds like a pretty weak job description. Is there any more we can know about this mysterious Person who is also God Himself?
 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

There is! In addition to “comforting” believers in times of suffering, sorrow, terror or doubt, the Holy Spirit is a busy behind-the-scenes Player on the stage of human history. We’re told that He impressed the Bible upon the minds of human beings like you and me (2 Peter 1:20–21). Jesus’ words in John 15 and 16 explain how the Holy Spirit is the One who testifies to us that Jesus is real and living. The Spirit convicts the world of sin and guilt. He guides us into finding the truth. And He reveals things that are yet to come. He gives us power to become Christ’s witnesses and power to overcome sin.

The Holy Spirit also grows fruits in us; not apples and oranges, but things we need even more: joy, peace, patience, self-control, love. The cherry on top might be the gifts He gives us—the special abilities that He sets in each one of us for the purpose of building up the community of faith. Gifts like teaching, leadership, music, mercy, healing and prophecy. The more I study this Person, the more I get the feeling that there’s no end to what He has done and what He can do.
 

"I want to be the kind of Christian who craves God’s presence more than I crave His fixes."

But while these attributes and accomplishments of the Holy Spirit are truly awe-inspiring, I still find my heart seeking the “fix-it”. I appreciate all the work He does, but at the end of the day, I need to see change—in my world, in my home and especially in my own heart. Can we expect even this from the Holy Spirit?

Well, yes we can, but it’s tricky. See, He isn’t a vending machine. We don’t just put a request in and have the results spat right back out. Even the fruits of the Spirit—the heavyweights like love, kindness, faithfulness—they aren’t an automatic deposit in our lives. Instead, they come as a result of spending time with the Spirit. As we walk with Him, He grows these things in us.

And the beautiful part is that, as He grows love and leadership, patience and prophecy among us, we do begin to see fixes and changes. That old friend who wounded us deeply? Suddenly where there was anger and resentment, love begins to grow. That former shame from our past? Peace replaces it. The ability to overcome temptation, which once felt impossible, is one day realised. All the try-and-try-and-trying to become a better person on my own is hopeless.

Instead I’m tuning in to the small changes every day that the Spirit’s effort reveals in me. The growing fear of the future that many face today? The Spirit may not offer a drive-thru Band-aid fix, but He grows a sense of security that, no matter what, He’s with us and He’s going to see us through.

I want to be the kind of Christian who craves God’s presence more than I crave His fixes. I’m longing for an intimacy with His Spirit that proves far more satisfying than an immediate release of pressure.

Instead of chasing prosperity or pleasure, what if we chased the very Person of God? What if His company was what we desired most? Who might we become, what might God’s followers accomplish, if every believer endeavoured to seek first and foremost the daily presence of the Holy Spirit?

In my imagination, there’s no end to what we might achieve. And doesn’t that sound just exactly like the Spirit?


The Holy Spirit 2

 

Is the Holy Spirit really God?

How do we know that the Holy Spirit is actually God Himself rather than being merely a helper, a messenger or a being more like an angel?

1. In the Bible the Spirit is called “God”. 

In Acts 5:3, 4, when Ananias kept some money and lied about it, Peter said that in lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias had “not lied just to human beings but to God”, equating the Spirit with God.

2. The Holy Spirit possesses the divine attributes of God Himself.

  • He’s omnipotent, or all-powerful. He is life (Romans 8:2); He is truth (John 16:13); and He is able to distribute spiritual gifts to believers as He wills and as He sees fit (1 Corinthians 12:11).
  • He’s omnipresent, or able to be everywhere. We’re told that He’s capable of abiding with His people “forever” (John 14:16), and there’s no place we could go to escape from His presence (Psalm 139:7–10).
  • He’s omniscient, or all-knowing. The Spirit “searches all things, even the deep things of God,” and He’s the only One able to know the mind of God: “No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10, 11).

3. The Spirit does the works of God.

He’s credited with the great work of Creation (Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4), the incarnation (Luke 1:35) and the resurrection (Romans 8:11).

4. The Holy Spirit is equal with God and the Son.

The Holy Spirit is grouped together with Them in the baptismal formula (Matthew 28:19).