Many of us have spent a lot of time reading about the Holy Spirit, talking to others about their experience with Him, and communicating that we are “open” to Him, but we have not actually been exposed to His life-changing presence and power. As a result, our Christian lives, our churches, and our mission to the world look nice on the outside but lack the power and authority to make any long-term change in our personal lives or community or to enable us to respond to the command of Jesus to build the Kingdom of God.
If we are fighting, not against what we see, but against what is spiritual (Ephesians 6:12), then it is only in and through the power of the Holy Spirit that lasting change can occur at the spiritual level.
I want to encourage you to embrace the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your personal life. He leads us to greater intimacy with the Father and fuels us for powerful mission to the world.
1.The Holy Spirit, not Jesus, lives in me.
The first revelation that I had in seminary, and passed on to my children, was that Jesus was not actually living in my heart. He couldn’t be; He has left to go and prepare a place for us. (John 14:1-3) He is seated at the right hand of the Father. In His absence, He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us. He is who lives in our hearts, not Jesus.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." — Jesus (John 16:4-7)
We need to see the necessity of embracing the Holy Spirit and welcoming His presence in our lives. He is NOT a ghost; He is a person, who lives within me. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit’s living in me is better than Jesus Himself being on the earth. How powerful is that?!
2. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do the work and ministry that Jesus commands.
Jesus is passing the baton of ministry and power to His disciples. He says clearly that anyone who believes in Him WILL DO what He had been doing. He will do even greater things than these.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." — Jesus (John 14:12–14)
What could Jesus mean? We have to be able to do what He did because we are in the same battle that He was in. He has given us the needed power through the same Spirit whom He had to do these things. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do ALL that Jesus did in His public ministry, perfectly fulfilling His Father’s command to build His kingdom. If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to build His Father’s kingdom, and Jesus is encouraging the disciples to continue in this ministry, “to obey His commands,” then we, too, need to be empowered by the same Spirit and should expect the same results.
3. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love Jesus.
Jesus equates our love for Him with what we do in obedience to Him, not with what we know about Him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever." — Jesus (John 14:15–16)
"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” — Jesus (John 14:21)
The only way we can keep the commands of Jesus is by being empowered by the Holy Spirit. The only way we can love Jesus is by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in our relationship with Him. We cannot be obedient to Jesus, unless we first experience His love for us through the Holy Spirit living inside us and pouring out the love of Jesus in us and then through us (keeping His commandments).
The Spirit of God was given to the disciples and to us as a gift from Jesus to guide us, comfort us, speak to us, encourage us, convict us, transform us, heal us, and empower us to keep His commands.
While it is important to think correctly about the Holy Spirit, it is more important that we experience Him and walk with Him. That is how we learn to be like Jesus, by walking in the Spirit, being empowered by the Spirit, and welcoming the Holy Spirit to lead us in every part of our lives.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. — Jesus (John 6:63)