Last time we talked about how the Lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit who lives inside every believer. Many of us know this intellectually, however, there is more to a relationship than the knowledge and awareness of another.
How do we have an intimate relationship with someone we can't see? It is difficult enough having relationships with those we can see and touch, but how does it work with the Spirit of God? It may seem overwhelming at first, but we must remember it's God's will that we know Him through His Spirit. So there must be a way, right?
Although the "Spirit" is discussed many times in the Old Testament, this article is going to focus on the New Testament book of Acts. Jesus had already been crucified and raised from the grave. Over the next 40 days he appeared to the disciples individually and in groups. He spokes with them, ate with them, and at one point appeared to a crowd of over 500 people. However at one point Jesus was alone with his disciples and gave them their final instructions before returning to the Father.
I'm sure the moment was bittersweet for the disciples after being plunged into the darkest despair when Jesus died on the cross. Their love for Jesus had strengthened as they endured trials together, experienced victories, and witnessed Jesus' love for them and others. As they became familiar with his loving attributes and divine nature, the hope they put in him seemed demolished with his crucifixion.
Against all hope, Jesus miraculously returned from the grave. They were elated. They had been mourning his death, remembering the good times along with the trauma of Jesus' death at the hands of others. After all they endured, they were now being told he was leaving again. We can only imagine the inner conflict they must have felt.
The disciples asked Jesus how much longer it would be until He restored the kingdom of Israel. But Jesus could not and did not answer their question. Instead he told them to expect the Holy Spirit who would come and give them power to fulfill their life purpose.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses...to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NIV).
And so herein lies our focus today; the Holy Spirit as a gift from the Father.
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you"(John 15:15 NIV).
The Holy Spirit brings power into the believers life and enables them to accomplish God's purposes for their lives. What else do we know about the Holy Spirit?
We know that Jesus referred to Him as Counselor (John 14:6, 26; 15:26; 16:7). However, to better know him lets explore some of His other attributes:
He teaches - John 14:26
He hears and speaks - John 16:13
He testifies about Christ - John 15:26
He encourages - Acts 9:31
He convicts people of sin - John 16:8
He prays for us - Romans 8:27
He sends people out (or prepares a path for us) - Acts 13:4
He experiences grief - Ephesians 4:30
He can be resisted - Acts 7:51
He can be tested - Acts 5:9
The more we get to know the Spirit, the closer we'll grow to him. Developing our relationship with him is no different than developing relationships with others. These bonds are built by spending time together, sharing experiences, investing our hearts, listening to, and being vulnerable and transparent with the other. The same is necessary for our relationship with him.
Think about your closest relationships. What separates them from your casual ones? Isn't it how much you reveal about yourself and how much your willing to risk?
The Holy Spirit reveals himself to us, and in return we make ourselves transparent and vulnerable with Him. When this happens, watch the spiritual explosion in your relationship.