Did you know that if you are a Christian you are hosting a Mystery? God has always been next to you, but now that you're born again, He actually resides in you, through the Holy Spirit. This is our assurance of salvation and eternal life with the Lord. It is also our assurance of having saving help available to us in this life. The Holy Spirit enables us to live the right way and rescues us when we don't. Living the Christian life would be impossible without Him! |
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17 ESV
The Indwelling Presence
This isn't something that you have to earn or try to get. There's even no need to wonder whether you received this gift. In the moment we became a new creation in Christ, the Holy Spirit started dwelling inside of us. Saving faith, the forgiveness of our sins, and the indwelling Spirit are all given at the same time.
Most of us wouldn't know this had happened, unless we read it in the Bible. That's partly because we didn't have the Holy Spirit on their minds when we sought salvation. Then, in becoming saved, Jesus quite naturally caught our whole attention. In keeping with this, the Holy Spirit prefers to help us focus on Jesus, rather than draw attention to Himself.
Considering this set up, it's no wonder that the Holy Spirit is called the "mystery Person" of the Trinity. He loves helping us secretly from within and does it so well that it takes a lot of practice to recognize His ways of working with us. Still, it's great good fun playing Hide and Seek with our mystery Guest, once you catch on to the game. But why did the Lord make it that way?
Why Jesus Went Away
You're probably thinking that the disciples had it way too easy, or at least much easier than us. After all, they could physically interact with Jesus and enjoy His visible presence. They couldn't possibly ask for more, right? However, according to Jesus, their experience wasn't as good as it could get. They would actually benefit more from His departure.
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. John 16:7
What was Jesus thinking? Perhaps, He was simply referring to the approaching crucifixion. Jesus "departed" from His disciples by dying on the cross---making an atonement for their sins which they needed as much as we do. But we know that His departure didn't end with death. He came back from the dead! But then He went away again, and worse (or so it seems) He's been away ever since. This is apparently His way of making it more to our "advantage."
Remember "doubting Thomas"? His faith was definitely strengthened by seeing Jesus, just like the other disciples. Surely, that means it's better to see spiritual realities with our natural eyes, especially the reality of our Risen Lord upon whom all our faith depends. But, no. Jesus rebuked Thomas for not believing what others told him, saying it would have been better if he had believed without seeing. That goes for us, too. Believing without seeing is somehow better.
Want to learn more? Get your free copy of "New Life in the Spirit", at our website for salvation questions, new life in the Spirit, and Last Days concerns: forerunners4him.org/gift-a-10.
The Reality We Overlook
God knows what's best for us. Put a period there and let that really sink in. If He thought that we needed Jesus to be visibly present all the time, then we would have that. Clearly though, that's not our Lord's plan. Instead, He gave us a Helper whom we cannot see, but nonetheless resides in us and never departs.
Most of the time, we tend to fixate on the invisible side of our Helper, wishing we could see more. We would be better served, however, by concentrating on the absolutely glorious reality of His steadfast presence. We are joined "at the hip" to our God forever, in the most intimate way imaginable. This is the key to the mystery. It's the reason why Jesus said having an invisible Helper is to our advantage.
Believe it or not, there were/are a lot of disadvantages to having a visible God to follow around in the world. For one thing, He might be tied up with others for hours or days at a stretch and have precious little time for you. He might send you out on assignment, while He stays back to do other things. Worse, He might even start following you. If you want a visible God with you always, imagine what would happen in your most private moments. I shudder to think.
The Great Advantages
Amazingly, the constant indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit doesn't disrupt our private moments. We have our sense of privacy completely undisturbed, yet He is always with us and within us. That's truly marvelous! With an invisible Helper, we have privacy, freedom and ever-present help. We can turn to Him in any instant and know He is with us and will help us with any concern we have.
We can also turn away. Of course, the religious side of us will say immediately, "But I would never turn away!" Really? That's what Peter said. Yet, Jesus left him free to do just that. Had Peter already been perfected, he wouldn't have turned away. But the real Peter, the still-immature Peter, the Peter who didn't know himself sufficiently, still needed to grow.
For the sake of growth, God allows us to turn away, so that we can discover of our own free will how wrong that decision truly is. If Jesus followed us visibly down all our dark alleys, we would grow to hate His "meddling interference." Wisely, He steps back and let's us make the discovery on our own. But catch the wink. Even when we turn away as Christians, the Holy Spirit secretly and silently goes with us, helping us in ways we only later recognize. That's better, isn't it?
What Does the Holy Spirit Do?
This is not a complete list---just enough to get you started. He's hiding, but He wants to be found. You're the seeker, so be sure to get in the game. Enjoy this loving hunt!
1) He's Our Helper. For any kind of assistance that you could possibly need, He's got your back. From laughing to weeping, working to playing, God has always been (and always will be) with you. Leaning into His power and wisdom can help us immensely in every field. Just keep in mind that God still requires us to do our part. He's the Helper. We're the doers.
2) He's Our Sanctifier. At conversion, we were "sanctified" when the Holy One came to live within us and "set us apart" for a life with God. But there's more to being sanctified than that. Before we get to enjoy eternity with God in heaven, the Holy Spirit will be cleansing our thoughts, attitudes, emotions and actions as we cooperate with Him down here. What needs cleansing? Anything that doesn't match up with Jesus!
3) He's Our Truth Teller. This just may be His biggest assignment. Jesus said He was sending the Spirit to lead us into all truth. He does this by convincing us that sin really is sin, that God's ways (righteousness) really are the right ways to go, and that His judgment in these matters is all that really matters. For instance, He brings to mind truths from scripture just when we need to remember them. Then, He helps us believe them and act on them, if we let Him.
4) He's Our Guide. Apart from revealing truth to us, the Spirit is also our guiding light. Because He knows what's best for us, He can lead us in the way that is right for us. If we listen to Him, the Spirit will highlight the next right thing to do. He also leads us into the right way of living. He does this by guiding us towards trusting Jesus in every situation. Then, when we surrender our heart to Jesus, the Holy Spirit lifts us and leads us step by step into the new life.
5) He's Our Source of Renewal. Because He indwells us, the Spirit can help us dwell within Jesus. This is always exhilarating! Only by abiding in Christ can we live the life Jesus died to give us---while still on earth. This is the Spirit's most beautiful work. From this place of surrender and trust, the peace, love, joy, and other fruit of the Spirit flow like a river. This can only be received if we trust Jesus with our life and loved ones, and are willing to follow His leadership. Holy Spirit helps us with this in ways that it will become your delight to discover.
Naturally enough, the Holy Spirit is a Self-starter. He isn't going to sit on His Hands waiting for us to get in the right mood in order to begin His divine assignments. With or without our permission, He is ever at work helping us, sanctifying us, revealing truth to us, guiding us and supplying us with the fruit of new life. It just goes so much better when we cooperate! Good spiritual health is letting the Holy Spirit have His way.Through Forerunners4Him Steve Evans has been showing how we can be saved for heaven and teaching the way to live a Spirit filled life on earth. Go now to receive a completely free primer, Living in the Spirit (16-page eBook), at our website: www.forerunners4him.org/gift-a-3.
Related Articles -
Holy Spirit, Jesus, God, Indwelling Presence, Peace,