“Father, bless me as I read Your Word. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.”
This is one short prayer format I always follow. Reading God’s Word is like eating food for a Christian; you get nourished with it. This is why I pray along these lines before reading even just one verse. I want to be able to truly understand what God wants to tell me through the “Bible Verse of the Day” or the three-minute devotional I’m listening to. Every time I pray, I address it to God the Father, and I end it in God the Son’s Name, but there’s One Person of God between the lines that I don’t always notice: God the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity that most people overlook. The truth that there is one God in three Persons is difficult to completely understand. There are things in life we won’t know or completely understand, but by faith, we trust that what God doesn’t reveal is actually for our own good. But God does give us all that we need to know. Can you guess how? It’s through the Holy Spirit.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you (John 14:26).”
Going back to my opening prayer, here’s how the Holy Spirit is between those lines: It is the Spirit that will teach me as I read God’s Word. What I was actually asking is for the Spirit to work in me. In fact, the Bible wouldn’t even be written without the work of the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 says that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The Apostle Paul says that his words “were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).”
When we think of coming to God in our time of need but have no words to express the want of the moment, the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf.
It is the Holy Spirit who is working behind the scenes. If we were to compare the Triune God to a movie production, God the Father would be the director, Jesus would be the actor, and the Holy Spirit would be the crew. Actors and directors get famous, but the crew working behind the cameras won’t get their names flashed on the movie’s trailer. The crew as the unpopular manpower is just as important as the celebrities for the film to be successful. A lot of work needs to be done from costume to set design to editing. It’s the same way God works through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Comparing the Spirit to a movie’s crew doesn’t portray Who He really is perfectly. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit is God. Peter asked Ananaias in Acts 5:3-4 why he lied to the Holy Spirit and said that whom he lied to is God. During the Last Supper, Jesus tells His disciples that He will give them “another Helper, so that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16). He says in the next verse that “the Helper is the Spirit of truth” and that He won’t leave them as orphans in verse 18. Calling the Spirit “another Helper” means it’s the same as Him, an eternal God. He is God like the Father and the Son. Again, they are one God in three Persons. To get to know the Holy Spirit, it’s essential to understand what He does.
What does the Holy Spirit do?
JC Yu, in his message titled “God Is With You” for the Elevate series “The Secret of the Christian Life” lists 6 things the Holy Spirit does. I’d like to expound on the verses that support each role of the Spirit.
1. He helps us and indwells us permanently.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity that most people overlook.
The Holy Spirit is our eternal Helper. Not so long ago, I had a pessimistic thought: “What if I lose my faith in the future?” I didn’t worry about it because I’ve come to live with the “Don’t worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34) and “Don’t boast about tomorrow” (Proverbs 27:1) verses. However, God revealed to me two weeks later through His Word that He will complete the good work He began in me (Philippians 1:6). I was searching the Scriptures without the intention of seeking this answer, yet God assured me that once I made Him my Lord, He’s my Lord forever.
God guarantees me now through this sermon on the Holy Spirit that we believers have God with us for eternity. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
2. He helps us grow in Christlikeness
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Here is what we’ll have in us, the fruit showing God’s attributes. Note that this is one fruit. It’s a whole package we can’t produce on our own. It’s only by walking or living with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Walking starts with a step. It’s an act; we have to move. God commands us to love, to rejoice, and all these that the fruit has. The Holy Spirit helps us once we take that step to live like Christ.
My family is Christian, so I’ve known Jesus all my life. I was 13 years old when I got baptized and made Him my personal Lord and Savior. That was my first step of faithfulness as I put my life in His hands. As I walk with Him, my faith deepens, and my love for Him and for people grows; overall, the whole fruit ripens. I’m nowhere near perfection, but it’s evident that the Holy Spirit is working inside me to be Christlike.
3. He empowers us
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This is what Jesus said before He ascended back to heaven. He left His disciples with the Great Commission of bringing the gospel to the whole world. The Holy Spirit enables us to do what God calls us to. For whatever talent we’re blessed with, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will use it to glorify God.
The Holy Spirit is our eternal Helper.
It doesn’t have to necessarily be “Church work” or specific ministries. I believe working with the body of Christ brings to me the community I’ve been yearning for; that’s why I’m writing for this blog. However, anywhere we are, we can do things that lift up God’s Name. Actually, a Christian’s goal in life should be to bring glory to God in all things they do. No matter what career you’re trying to pursue, study and work at it with a heart that seeks to please God and to love the people around you. Let the Holy Spirit empower you to show Jesus in how dedicated you are to your calling and how you relate to people.
4. He gives us power over sin
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Keeping in our walk, the Holy Spirit strengthens us to resist temptation. Do you know what Jesus did when He was tempted? He quoted Scripture. God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). It’s no wonder it’s the Spirit that brings verses back to our minds. It’s the Spirit that brought the Bible books to life in the first place. That’s why it’s important to read the Bible; we get to spend time with God, know Him, and be controlled by Him.
Walking starts with a step. It’s an act; we have to move.
5. He helps us to pray according to God’s will
“Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
Sometimes, when we’re overwhelmed with an emotion like sorrow or frustration, we can’t help but cry or sigh. We might get tired of all the thoughts running through our heads and not know what to ask God. When we think of coming to God in our time of need but have no words to express the want of the moment, the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf.
6. He gives us insight into God’s Word
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
We’re back to the first verse shared here. The Holy Spirit enlightens us about everything we need to grasp as we study God’s word, and He helps us remember it. When God answered my “uncertain future-faith” question, I believe it was His Spirit that made me see that the important “good work” Philippians 1:6 was talking about is bringing people to Christ. At that time, I thought the “completion” of the work meant Christians will always be faithful. Now I realize that faith is not work–otherwise, it defeats the purpose of salvation being “not a result of works” (Ephesians 2:9).
Now we see that what the Holy Spirit does is important. He’s the divine embodiment of manpower, as in my movie illustration. I’d like to step in further into this analogy by saying that the film God is making is Life. Jesus plays the main character. He’s the physical representation of God. It’s His Name we know and trust. It’s the Spirit’s work whenever we confess that Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). It’s also through the Spirit we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). In this sense, one of the Spirit’s jobs is scriptwriting, and we, the creation, are the supporting characters. Life is a story whose main message is love, directed masterfully by the Father, delivered perfectly by Christ, and worked on behind the scenes by the Holy Spirit.
Let the Holy Spirit do His job in your life. Let Him come to you by accepting Christ. Let Him bear His fruit. Let Him empower your pursuits. Let Him strengthen you over sin. Let Him pray for the inexpressible feelings you have within. Let Him teach you the Bible. Let Him show you what’s vital. As you go through life, walk with Him. Your journey wouldn’t be dull or dim.