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How the Holy Spirit Works

Many of us talk about the Triune God: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit; yet, we know little about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an integral part of the Trinity and our Christian experience. We don’t want to miss, or dismiss, his presence in our life.

Prior to his death, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to indwell believers as a Counselor, Comforter, Helper (John 15:26). This promise meant that the Holy Spirit helps, leads, and guides Christians into a more holy life. While on earth, Jesus was physically present to teach and guide people. After his death, the Holy Spirit was and is spiritually present in believers to guide them.


If Christ is the vine from which Christians branch (John 15:5), then the Holy Spirit is the sap that runs from the vine into the branch. Branches live, grow, and bear fruit, not by struggles or individual efforts, but, by surrendering to and abiding in the Holy Spirit. In our own strength, we can’t possibly live a holy life. In fact, Jesus stated, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NLT).


God never intended for his children to live defeated lives. God loves us so much that not only has he provided a plan for our salvation; but, he instituted a plan for our sanctification (become progressively more like Jesus). God addressed our earthly problems of righteous living by giving us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the source of power and strength that brings our character in line with the character of Christ and God’s righteous standards. The fruit produced in our lives is the character of Christ, which St. Paul named the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).


The Holy Spirit is willing to guide us to God’s truths; but, he won’t override our will and force us to follow him. That is why it is so important to “surrender to” the Holy Spirit and become a follower of Christ. We need to become aware, sensitive, and depended upon the Holy Spirit’s promptings. The Holy Spirit 1) convicts, 2) illuminates, 3) teaches, 4) guides, 5) assures, 6) intercedes and prays for, 7) directs, and 8) warns.


A question most Christians ask themselves is: “How do I know when I am and when I am not walking in the Spirit’s will for my life?” The answer encompasses having a relationship that includes surrendering to and abiding in the Holy Spirit. The only objective evidence of whether a Christians is surrendering and abiding in Christ is the fruit of the Spirit, the character of Christ, in his or her life. This spiritual fruit is public testimony to a believer’s sensitivity to and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. This fruit sets believers apart from non-believers, who try, and possibly have temporary success at, producing spiritual fruit in their own strength.


Reflection: Accessing the Holy Spirit results in a Spirit-filled life – not a self-filled life!


*Written by Bruce G. Roth

, Roanoke, VA.

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