“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” ~Jesus
I was watching a movie this past weekend and in one of the scenes a dance was happening at a Catholic school. It was chaperoned by priests and nuns, so “awkward” would be the best way to describe it. Each time a couple got too close to one another, a priest or nun would scamper toward them, pull them apart, and then look at each person with shame and disgust. After about the fifth or sixth break-up session, one priest said to the duo, “Make room for the Holy Spirit!” and he pushed them apart.
As I lay there on the couch, the Holy Spirit immediately spoke to my heart, “That man just lied about me. I’m not trying to break up that dance.”
Another time I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a video of a well-known televangelist on stage preaching; there was a line of people in front of him, so I clicked on it. As I watched, one by one, he put his hand on each person and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” As he did, the people reacted as if he had dynamite in his hand. They exploded away from him and then onto the floor, lying still like they were asleep. The bodies quickly piled up as he went through the long line of men, women, and children.
Again, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “That’s weird, isn’t it? That’s not me. You know that, right?”
But the false advertising of the Holy Spirit didn’t end there. When I was a young boy, I had an uber-religious, aggressive relative who caused me to believe the Holy Spirit was out to get me–that is, “If I wasn’t careful.” They sold my young, impressionable mind on the lie that He’d do some serious damage to me and that I’ll “Get exactly what I deserve from the All-Seeing Eye!”
On and on, I could continue with the world’s incorrect idea of God in Spirit form. And that’s what the Holy Spirit is–or I should say who the Holy Spirit is…God in Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not an it, but a Him. He is a Person. Just imagine if we called Jesus an it, or the Father an it. Well, the Holy Spirit is equal to the Son and the Father, so He’s not an it either. He’s not a nebulous force, but an actual Being who has no physical form (see John 3:8). This is how He indwells all Christians all at once (see John 12:32).
Paul called Him the Spirit of Christ (see Romans 8:9). Jesus said He and the Father are one (see John 10:30). Therefore, He rounds out the Trinity perfectly. Jesus is the physical part of God, the Father is God in Spirit form, and the Holy Spirit is God in the Spirit form, in us!
Before Jesus’ sacrifice, the Holy Spirit never made His home inside of any human being. Instead, He came and went, He was with people and upon people, but never in people–that is, in their spirits. This is the difference in the New Covenant and the Old (see Hebrews 8:12,13). God is now in us–fused with us, for good–because of our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice. Without Jesus’ sacrifice this would not have been made possible (see 2 Corinthians 5:11, John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8-9).
If you look back in the Old Testament you’ll see the Holy Spirit coming “upon people” to give them great power, and then He’d leave. For example, Samson. In the book of Judges, the Holy Spirit came upon him to give him the strength to slay 1,000 enemies of God with the jawbone of a donkey. He also came upon him once again, to push over the pillars in order to kill the Philistines. So as you can see, the Holy Spirit came and went. He was not infused with Samson’s spirit like He is with Christians! (See John 14:23, Revelation 3:20).
Let’s look at David. David begged God, “Please don’t take your Holy Spirit from me!” (See Psalm 51:11). But as for us, we don’t have to beg God any longer because of the Father’s promise to the Son at the Cross, and vice versa. As New Covenant believers, God will never leave us nor forsake us! (See Hebrews 13:5). Our old, sinful spirits have died, and our new, perfect spirits are actually hidden inside of God’s Spirit! (See Romans 6:6-7, Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
As a matter of fact, once we believe Jesus is our Savior, we are sealed up forever inside of the Holy Spirit! (See Ephesians 1:13). Even if we are faithless He remains faithful! Why? Because the Father will never turn His back on the Son (see 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 6). The Cross solidified our salvation (see Hebrews 7:25).
The people of the Old Testament did not have perfect spirits like we do on this side of Calvary. For this reason, the Holy Spirit could never make His home in them. Their spirits were still in Adam and not in Christ. Their spirits were still in sin, and not cleansed (see Romans 5&6). As for us, those things are not true. We’ve been perfectly cleansed forever! (See Hebrews 10:14, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Peter 1:9). Not our actions and attitudes, but us! Our identity has changed! We’ve been reborn of God’s Spirit! (See John 3:6-7, 1 John 3:9).
So what is the Holy Spirit like? What’s His personality like? If you look at Jesus, you’ll find your answers. Jesus personified the Father and the Holy Spirit! They are not playing good cop, bad cop, dumb cop. All three are God, all three are equal, and God is love! (See 1 John 4:8).
A grace-confused person will be quick to get mad at me for pointing this out. The self-centered individual, who is focused on all of their “amazing” religious behavior and church work, will cherry-pick different Bible verses, attempting to create fear. They don’t like 1 John 4:8 very much, or John 3:16. They lean more toward Scriptures to make us think what they are doing is more holy than what we are doing. Little do they know, anything that begins with “I do” or “I don’t do” is anti-gospel. The Message is not about us, it’s about what Jesus has done for us. We are receivers and reflectors, not producers.
They want us to be legalistic like them and they can’t stand grace. They want us to believe the Holy Spirit is on their side and not ours. Here’s one of their favorite lines: “The Holy Spirit is here to convict you of your sin! He isn’t here to make you feel good or tickle your ears!”
Friend, who’s really having their ears tickled? Those of us who are saying we are nothing without the Spirit? Those of us who are claiming God’s grace is enough? Or is it you who is claiming “your part” is completing the Spirit’s work? Is it you who is making the assertion that grace is just a license to sin–as if without grace you have a license? That sounds a lot more like ear-tickling to me.
With all due respect, the pastor who pats a person on their religious little head–and then scolds the world in front of them for not being like them–that seems more like music to the ears of a person who doesn’t know God’s Spirit. But who am I to judge? I’m just a branch.
Yes, Jesus said the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin (see John 16:8), but we are not of this world! (See John 17:16). We are already seated with God in heaven, in the spiritual realm! Christian, that’s where your spirit is right now! (See Ephesians 2:6).
If you think about it, what is the punishment for the conviction of sin? DEATH! (See Romans 6:23). What did Jesus do? He died! God’s wrath over your sin was satisfied completely at the Cross! (See Romans 5:9).
Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not convicting Christians of sin! Jesus was already convicted and killed! So now, instead of God’s wrath over our sin, we get something so much better: a God who is satisfied (see 1 John 2:2).
Believer, the Holy Spirit counsels us, guides us, disciplines us (with love and patience), and He comforts us (see John 14:6, 14:16, Hebrews 12:6). But be sure, He is not convicting you of sin. People might attempt to convict you, the enemy might try, and even your old unrenewed pockets of thinking–but God isn’t. Jesus’ conviction and death was more than good enough. You’re now okay with your Creator. You’re okay.
So if the Holy Spirit isn’t mad at us, if He’s not disappointed, and if He’s not convicting us, then what is it that causes us to change our lives? HIS GOODNESS! It is the goodness of God that leads us toward any type of repentance! (See Romans 2:4). Really, all we are repenting from is the stuff that’s not a part of us anyway–that is, as heaven-ready saints.
We are connected to God’s Spirit, so He’ll always lead us into the truth of ourselves and Himself! Here are the true characteristics of His personality:
(See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:1,22-23, Matthew 11:29, John 11:35, 1 John 5:18).
So today, my friends, know this: The Holy Spirit is your life! Because of your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, you are in Him permanently! (See Colossians 3:3-4, John 10:10, 14:6). You can’t even admit this without it being true! (See 1 Corinthians 12:3). You live by the Spirit, you pray by the Spirit, you walk by the Spirit, and you love by the Spirit! YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONE, FOREVER! He is God, you are in Him, and He is in you!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit. For so long, I was afraid of Him, but He’s taught me the truth of who He is, and I absolutely love Him for it. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been lied to about the Holy Spirit. They think He’s far off, angry, unattainable, or unreliable. They even think they need to have some special gift to get a second portion of Him, please, reveal these lies today. The Holy Spirit is not only NEAR them, but IN them! He’s not only in them, but He’s in them in full and He’ll never go away! Begin to open up their minds to the truth of who you are! Let them know that if they feel relaxed and loved, it’s you. Everything opposite is a lie! That is, for all who believe in Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!