Last time I wrote, I revealed my wrestling in the past to understand God as a trinity. I’ve learned to accept that I don’t have to understand everything in order to believe what He has revealed of Himself in Scripture. Practically speaking, I know that when I switch on the lamp, I will see light, even though I don’t understand electricity and how it works.
So…I believe that the one true, living God is three persons within one Godhead. The next challenge: I could appreciate God as Father and God as Son because of earthly examples…but the Holy Spirit was a bit more mysterious to me. And unfortunately, He was largely ignored in my early teachings of the personhood of God. Yet I think that, in spite of my multitude of questions, I am probably the most intimate with God’s Spirit. He lives within me. He speaks to my spirit.
While still in the safety of the upper room, Jesus reassured His disciples that those who placed their faith in Him would not be left as orphans when He died. We would be given another Counselor—the Spirit of truth to be with us always. He warned that the world cannot accept the Spirit because they can’t see Him nor do they know Him. But the promise stands that believers would recognize Him because He lives within us. (John 14:15-18)
“Another Counselor” causes me to conclude that the Spirit is a person with a specific role within the godhead. For example, Jesus said that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
How do I know the presence of God’s Spirit lives within me? First and foremost, His indwelling has radically changed me over time. I think differently. My values changed. I chase after better things. I don’t always have a myopic viewpoint. I have available to me an eternal perspective.
Also, I see evidence of His fruit produced within me when I listen and obey. Galatians 5:22 declares that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
It’s difficult to explain but I have experienced unexplainable:
Love…love for those who are quick to reject me and my heart, love for those who are unkind, love for those the world says are unloveable.
Joy (not to be mistaken for happiness)…in the midst of the most difficult circumstances and seasons of life.
Peace…when my world seemed to be crashing all around me, when all of my plans unraveled and fell apart. Peace that guides me in the decisions I make as I navigate life.
Patience and kindness for those who are impatient, undeserving and mean-spirited.
Goodness when there is nothing good in me.
Faithfulness when I didn’t have answers or understand. Faithfulness when others abandoned me.
Gentleness when I really wanted to scream…or when I wanted to insist on being “right.”
Self control when I wanted to respond harshly and criticize others. Self control when confronted with unrighteous anger.
I would love to be a model of the Spirit’s fruit at all times…but I’m not. I fail and fall. But I can count on the Spirit who lives within me to urge me forward.
So, how do I recognize the quiet voice of the Spirit living within me? For me, I can identify His voice when He uses words of Scripture. His words of truth have interrupted my thoughts and prayers. He has reminded me of what Jesus taught. He reminds me of God’s heart for holiness, stopping me in my fleshly pursuit of sin. He has reminded me of God’s desire for justice, causing me to take a stand when I would rather turn my head. He has reminded me of my true identity, when others tried to label me.
The Holy Spirit is our promise of God’s presence and love for us. He’s our blessed assurance of belonging and purpose. He’s our confidence that with a willing heart, we can be transformed into the likeness of our beloved Savior. He is our blessed assurance of an eternity spent in the presence of the Father and Son.
Amazing, isn’t He?
Questions to ponder:
Who am I listening to…the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit or the shouts of this world?
Do I choose to obey His directives?