A WALK WITH GOD
PHASE FOUR

The Holy Spirit in us

GOD IN US – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Who is the Holy Spirit? How does He come upon us? How does it feel? And what happens after that?
Category-Dove1(paint).jpg

INTRODUCTION

One of the great wonders of Christianity is the gift of God's Holy Spirit who comes to dwell inside of us.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16

His presence in us, makes Christianity more than just things we do or say on earth. Through Him, we actually become connected to heaven. This is an extremely exciting step in our journey.

 

In this piece we explore who the Holy Spirit is, how He comes to dwell inside of us, and what the result of that infilling will be. We will also discuss the fruit (character traits) He brings into our lives as well as the gifts (supernatural abilities) He works through us. Let's dive right in.

OUR PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS

Where are we in the context of our greater discussion of "a Walk with God"? In the two previous pieces (namely phases two and three), we went through repentance and being baptised:

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38

So now we are left with the third element of Peter's words here on how to enter the Christian walk, which is receiving the Holy Spirit. These three steps together draw us out of our old life and prepare us for our new one:

  • Repentance brings us into God's family.

  • Baptism lays aside our old sinful self.

  • ​Now the Holy Spirit brings us God's power to live a new life in Christ. 

 

STRUCTURE OF THIS DISCUSSION

Section One: WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Section Two: WHY DO WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Section Three: HOW DO WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Section Four: THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US

Section Five: THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Section Six: THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

Section One:

WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

The Holy Spirit is one of the three members of what the Bible calls the "Godhead”. The Godhead is the sum total of the divine nature – that which we call “God”. And while there is only one God, we experience God as three distinct persons, namely: The Farther, the Son of God (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. They are three, and yet the Bible tells us they are also all one:

 

"...the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit... these three are one." – 1 John 5:7.

Please note: In John's writings Jesus Christ is often called "The Word" – See John 1:1-5, 14

 

It is beyond the scope of this piece to go into the proof and deeper explanation of the Godhead (often called the Trinity). In this piece we only state the facts. But we do have a more complete discussion on what the Bible teaches us about God and why we say what we do. For that please see our discussion:

The Trinity - How can Three be One?

So these three (Father, Son and Spirit), are essentially a part of the one Godhead, and thus part of the collective divine nature.

 

All three are unique persons, that have traits that separate them from one another. All three have their own emotions, their own will, distinct personalities and so forth. And each holds a different role within the single Godhead: 

  • Father is the source of all things, the divine will at work.

  • The Son is centre and purpose of all things, the one through and for whom everything in creation was made.

  • The Spirit is the power of all things, the active breath of God at work.

For some reason, the Holy Spirit is harder for us to form a mental picture of, maybe because He is called a “Spirit” and never seems to appear in any bodily form. Yet, the Bible teaches us that: God is a Spirit....” (John 4:24a), and “the Lord is that Spirit”. So really the Holy Spirit should be no more abstract an idea for us to grasp than are the Father and Son, because they are all of the same substance – all are Spirit. 

SENT TO DWELL WITH MEN 

The Holy Spirit is the one who was sent down from heaven to dwell with God's children. He was sent when Jesus left to prepare an eternal home for us in heaven. In His place, the Holy Spirit has come down from heaven to dwell in us, and journey with us here on earth.

It is to your advantage that I [Jesus] go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” – John 16:7

“I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive... but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” – John 14:16-17

The Holy Spirit is therefore the member of the Godhead which we have the most direct contact with. Our entire personal experience of God can be described as the Holy Spirit making the Father and Jesus real to us. When we hear God's voice, we are hearing the Holy Spirit speak Father's words to us. When we feel God's love, we are feeling the Holy Spirit pour God's love into our hearts.

“God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5b

In short, the Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead who comes to dwell inside of us to bring us into an intimate, real, personal, living experience of the entire Godhead. He searches the heart of heaven, and brings what He finds up there, into our personal experience down here.

“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit... so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:10b-12

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” – John 16:13

 
 

 

Section Two:

WHY DO WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT?

The Holy Spirit is our connection to heaven and God. Without Him Christianity would be a lifeless set of rules, our faith would be dead and flat. But with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, we receive His word and life right in our spirits.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” – Romans 8:16

Note how the Holy Spirit (capital "S"), communicates with our human spirit (small "s"). What is our human spirit? It is that which God birthed in us at our second birth, so that we are now able to enter into spiritual experiences and receive from God.

“unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God... unless one is born of water [natural birth] and the Spirit [spiritual birth], he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” – John 3:3b, 5b-6

So after being spiritually born, we can receive spiritual things from the Holy Spirit. Now He takes everything Jesus Christ has done for us, and makes it a living reality in us. The Bible says:

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” – Ephesians 1:3

So as Christians, we have a store of spiritual blessings in heavenly places. Now it is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring those heavenly blessings into our earthly reality. He brings the supernatural power of God into our natural living experience. See in the next two verses how God's work is accomplished by the Spirit:

“you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God..” – 1 Corinthians 6:11b

“But we all... beholding... the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

In short, all of the true Christian experience is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. There is no genuine Christianity apart from the working power of the Holy Spirit.

Section Three:

HOW DO WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Receiving the Holy Spirit is possibly the simplest step in the Christian walk. Once we have committed our lives to God, we simply need to allow God to "take possession" of us as His own. That is what the Holy Spirit comes to do, and what we must invite Him to do.

 

Let's walk though a few facets of what this means:

FATHER, SON AND SPIRIT

 

At this point we have accepted God as our father and Jesus Christ as our saviour. Now it is time to accept the Holy Spirit as our guide. This is why we are baptised, “in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” because we are being knit into relationship with all three. And after this water baptism, God sends His Spirit to dwell with and in us.

 

Repent... be baptised... and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – from Acts 2:38

Here is an account of this process happening in the book of Acts:

”Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 8:14-17

These believers received the word (which is repentance), were baptised as a result of their new faith, and then the Holy Spirit was imparted to them. In the next example, the Apostle Paul baptises new believers so that he can pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit:

“‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” – Acts 19:2-6

This is why churches that practice baptism after repentance, also tend to display evidence of the Holy Spirit's work. It also explains why those churches which do infant baptism appear to be dry and without spiritual vitality. They have done the repentance part, but never gone on with God's process.

DESIRING THE SPIRIT'S PRESENCE 
 

The next important thing to mention here, is that the Holy Spirit will only come upon those who want Him to. If we fear Him, or resist Him in any way, He will hold back and give us time.

 

The Holy Spirit is extraordinarily tender. His touch is extremely soft. His words – even the ones that come to correct us – are coated with kindness. His nudge, even the strongest ones, are still gentle. Someone once described being warned against a dangerous decision by the Spirit, as feeling like a bird was trapped in a box in their chest, with its wing fluttering wildly inside. This is a beautiful description of how, even when He speaks strongly, the delivery is still extremely gentle. He will lead us, He will guide us, He will warn us, but He will never force us to do anything.

Goodness, gentleness, kindness and peace are all words the Bible uses to describe His nature (Galatians 5:22,23). We are told, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), meaning we must not extinguish or stifle Him. We are told, ”do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30) meaning we must not cause Him sadness. He is described as a breeze, a spring of living water, and He manifested Himself as a dove – all of these help to paint a picture of the very soft nature of this beautiful Holy Spirit. 

This then explains why the Holy Spirit will not come into our lives by force. He will not demand control. He will not manipulate us into submission. No, He will only wait for us to be ready to receive Him. He will come in when we offer Him room. He will move through us when we give Him the reigns of our hearts. He will come when we let God have us for His own:

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19

when you believed in Christ, He sealed you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit.” – Ephesians 1:13a 

ALLOWING THE SPIRIT IN

Once we desire the Holy Spirit to come into our lives and rule over our hearts, all we have to do is invite Him in. The Bible talks about "receiving" the Holy Spirit, as in the next two examples:

“He [Jesus] breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – John 20:22b

“Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 8:17

This word "receive” means to desire the thing, to both want it and allow it access. Take a look at the Biblical definition:

Receive = lambano in Greek (Strongs reference number G2983)

  1. to take, lay hold of, (without the notion of violence).

  2. ​to claim, to receive what is offered, to choose, select

  3. to receive a person, give him access to one's self​​​

.     

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS 

 

You may have noticed in both the accounts from the book of Acts, when the apostles helped new believers receive the Holy Spirit, they did so by laying hands on them.

 

“When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them” – Acts 19:6a

“Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 8:17

 

This is the model the Bible teaches us, the normal way a new believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, is when a Spirit-filled believer places their hands on them. The new believer actually doesn't have to do anything more than just, ”receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” – Galatians 3:14

Sadly we must just add a caution here: Please be very sure that the person laying hands on you has a pure spirit. Someone full of the Holy Spirit will display the character of the Spirit in their own lives. We mention this because in these days of so much deception, there are counterfeit spirits that try to take advantage of those who do not know the true Spirit of God from the deceiving spirit of the enemy. You should not allow anyone to lay hands on you who loves to boast, who seeks attention or the limelight, or who tries to impress you with their spiritual maturity or understanding. Nor should you allow anyone who is manipulative, controlling, or in any way coercive. Also if you know that a person is wrestling with their own sin, if they are easily angered or show any self-control issues, do not allow them to lay hands on you. The person who lays hands on you, transfers what is in them to you, so take great care who you trust with this.

If you truly do not have a faithful man of God to trust, then we suggest you pray alone and God will hear your heart. We can, in the privacy of our own prayer time with God, ask Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. But if you know a man who is truly full of the Holy Spirit – a man who is kind, selfless, generous, humble, wise, a peace-maker, full of self-control and love – then consider asking him to lay hands on you. It gives God great pleasure to use His children to minister to each other.      

 

THE SIMPLICITY OF GOD'S WORK   

Even though we have explained the infilling of the Holy Spirit as a few separate steps, we do not want to leave anyone with the impression that this is how it works in practice. We are simply trying to unpack "when" and "why" the Spirit responds to us. But in experience, the "how" is an extraordinarily simple process – it is as easy as a simple prayer, asking for Him and then receiving – and what a beautiful world unfolds from there!  

So what should you experience when the Holy Spirit comes on you?

There are a few different ways people have been known to experience Him at first. Often people immediately receive a gift of the Spirit, for example tongues, or a vision (which we will discuss more in a moment). Sometimes people experience the presence or fruit of the Spirit, for example a wonderful sense of joy or peace bubbling up on the inside (we will also discuss these in a moment). Many don't have any clear evidence of the Holy Spirit in that moment when hands are laid on them. This is often because of the emotional pressure to need to ”feel“ or “experience” something. That makes us tense up – which in turn makes the Holy Spirit hold back, because He is gentle. He will not force His way through our tension. Usually in these cases, we will only experience Him an hour, or day or so later, when we have relaxed, we are alone and calm. Then He responds to our invitation quietly and sweetly, maybe in the car, in the bath, or in our prayer time. When He comes we will sense Him, even if it is very softly.

 
 
Post-HolySpirit(paint).jpg

 

Section Four:

THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US

The Holy Spirit cannot come upon us without there being a change in us. As the days go by, we will notice that we are different to before. It will be easy, even effortless, to care for other people. Things that used to frustrate us, just aren't the triggers they used to be. Our hearts are simply missing the anger we  knew, and in its place is a new kindness we didn't have. 

What we are experiencing is called the fruit of the Spirit. This is His personality in us, transforming our own personalities. We experience the world and people around us more and more through His eyes. It makes us completely different people to who we were before – and those who know us will not be able to deny that we have changed.

the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23a

The Holy Spirit makes the Christian walk as natural as breathing – because to Him it is. If He is in us and living through us, it is impossible for us to continue on the same sinful path we took before. We won't want to sin and it will pain us when we do. The things of darkness we used love, will sicken us now. Instead we will be drawn to the pure and the beautiful.

And the more room we allow the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the more His traits will shine through us. His peace, His love, His gentleness, His joy – all of these will begin to feel like they are our own traits. We will not have to force ourselves to love others, the love will naturally pour out from us. We won't have to summon up joy, we will effortlessly be bubbling over with it. 

 

Because the traits of the Holy Spirit are formed ever deeper in us as we walk with Him, this becomes evidence of our spiritual maturity, a way for us to recognise truly mature believers. Jesus taught us that it is by a person's fruit that we know who they truly are:

“You will know them by their fruits,,,, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit....Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” –

Matthew 7:16a, 17-18, 20

Someone who tries to impress you with their vast knowledge of all the Bible verses, and boasts of their awesome anointing, may seem to have a lot of things right, but the fruit they are displaying is pride and selfish ambition. That is bad fruit. Good fruit is always selfless. It doesn't matter how famous they are, how many books they have sold, or how big their church might be – their fruit exposes them. People can only share with you what God has already formed inside of them. All you will get by following these people is the same, false, prideful sense of knowing about God – but it profits you nearly nothing because the Spirit does not give life to their personal ambitions.

 

True Christianity is a journey of God shaping and transforming us into creatures that share His nature – every mature believer will be humble, gentle, quiet in spirit and full of wisdom and love. Their focus is always to show you more of their glorious Lord, and to have none of the attention on themselves. He is everything, they want to be nothing

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who... made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and... humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” – from Philippians 2:5-8

So then we hope it is now clear that as we walk with God, the fruit of the Spirit should become steadily more and more visible in our lives. Fruit should not come and go, but become part of what we are.

Section Five:

THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit will not only come into our hearts to transform us, He will also come in to do another work – to knit us into all God has for us. An entirely new reality unfolds around us:

THE FATHER-HEART OF GOD

The first thing that every new believer experiences is a sense of being accepted by God. We just know that we are His, that He wants us and that He now has us. It is like we have finally found the home we always longed for. It is a deeply comforting feeling, and also our first experience of the Fathering heart of God.

“God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” – Galatians 4:6b

As time passes, we will experience more and more of God's love, provision, guidance, protection, and all the care with which He nurtures His children. And each new revelation the Spirit gives us makes us love God more and more. 

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5b

In the first few month of walking with the Lord, the sense of His love can become an absorbing experience, just like falling in love, the sky is brighter, birds sing sweeter, our hearts feel lighter – everything feels beautiful. The Bible calls this phase our “first love”, and it is truly wonderful!

PEACE AND PRESENCE

Another of the very early evidences of the Spirit's presence in us, is the sense of peace He brings. Sometimes we can actually sense God's presence in us, but most often there is just this inner rest, this quietness and calm – a knowing that everything is okay. God has us in His hand and we feel safe. 

“And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.“ – 1 John 4:13

FAMILY OF GOD

We also discover after we have been filled with the Spirit, that we have gained a whole new family. We can walk into a gathering of Spirit-filled believers we have never met before, and find a familiarity in them, we even feel as though we love people we have only just met. It is as if we know them already. This is the Holy Spirit who is within both us and them, drawing us together. This is meant to mature into a precious unity and bond of brotherly love within the body of Christ. 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:3

 

A LOVE OF WORSHIP

Worship takes on a whole new meaning with the Spirit in us. You see, the Spirit's purpose is to draw us ever closer to God, and worship is possibly the most beautiful expression of that. We enter a place where worship is happening and set our focus on God, and in a moment we feel our spirits come alive. Our heart swells with love and adoration of God, and His sweet presence meets us. It is as if we are dancing together, delighting in each other and the rest of the world just fades away. We were made to worship this way, and it fills us with the Spirit of God and fuels our love for Him.

 

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth... the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” – John 4:24, 23b

KNOWING GOD'S WILL AND WORD

Another exciting development we will discover after the Spirit has come, is that the Bible begins to make more and more sense to us. There will even be moments when we read it, and it feels like it is talking directly to us – a message straight from God. 

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.” – John 16:13-14

“no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 12

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things...” – John 14:26a

The Holy Spirit will teach us the will and the ways of God outside of our reading time too. For example, maybe we will be watching the wrong thing on TV and it will niggle at us in a way it never did before. And if we ignore Him we will feel guilty afterwards and want to make right with God. This is the Spirit telling us what we are doing is not good, and how to get back on the road we should be on.

 

Also He will draw us towards God's desires for us, for example He will give us the urge to do things, maybe go pray with someone or any of a hundred simple little things we aren't sure why we suddenly have the desire to do. And when we do them, we discover a surprising blessing was waiting for us. We received a word, God worked a gift through us or we sensed His presence. These subtle little nudges will constantly be guiding us towards God's will and away from sin. The more we listen and respond to them, the better our spiritual journey will progress. To follow this leading is to “walk in the Spirit”, and no longer walk according to our own old desires (what the Bible calls the flesh, with all its selfish lusts).

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

Please Note: In our next discussion, we will go deeper into the practical side of how we should go about walking with the Spirit.

REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Maybe the most important thing the Spirit desires to bring about in us, is a revelation of the fullness of who Jesus Christ is, and what His life and death achieved for us.  

“When the Helper [the Holy Spirit] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about Me.” – John 15:26

This is possibly where the deepest truths and richest mysteries can be found. It is a journey that will carry on for the rest of our Christian lives. We share some of these beautiful revelations in our piece: All Things in Christ (page not active yet).

OUR CONSTANT COMPANION

Further on in our spiritual walk the Holy Spirit will be constantly speaking to and leading us. He will give us strength when we face challenges, comfort when we suffer loss, and anointing to fulfil our calling. He will be the power of God in us when God uses us, the shield of God guarding our hearts against wounding, and a constant companion through all of life's adventures. All this we will discuss in our Spiritual Growth section. For now, let's move on to the supernatural gifts of the Spirit.

 

 

Section Six:

THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The gifts of the Holy Spirit (as the name suggests), are those things the Spirit gives as a free gift. These are supernatural abilities that we don't have to grow into, they are simply worked in us when the need arises. Because of this, they can be found in young and mature believers, and a variety of different gifts can flow through us at different times to meet different needs. These can also come and go as the Holy Spirit sees fit to move.

“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.” – 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

So let's walk through what these gifts are:

TONGUES

The gift of tongues is the least of the gifts, and often the first one believers receive. Even in the Bible's accounts of the Holy Spirit coming on people, tongues often come at the same time or soon after. 

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they... they will speak with new tongues. ” – Mark 16:17

“And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues” – Acts 19:6a

Tongues is a heavenly language which we do not learn, we are simply given. When it is operating, our spirits are communicating directly to God without needing our mind's help for the task. It is a prayer language, that neither we, nor the demonic realm can understand. It is a wonderful tool when we do not know what to pray for in a situation, then we simply pray in tongues and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our prayer. 

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” – 1  Corinthians 14:2

Unlike the other gifts, after we receive tongues we can turn it on or off (so to speak), whenever we want to. It is also the only gift which is there to build us up spiritually. The other gifts are different, they come only when the Spirit decides, and they are for building up our fellow believers. 

If we desire this gift, all we need to do is ask the Lord and He will give it to us. Then when these unusual sounds or words come out, do not get a fright, do not shut your mouth to stifle it, simply allow the Spirit to move and very quickly it will feel extremely normal. 

WISDOM

The gift of wisdom is given in a moment when we are faced with a question or challenge that we are not equipped for. When it moves in us, we receive understanding and insight we simply didn't have. In that moment the Holy Spirit gives us such clarity on a subject that when we speak, even we marvel at the wisdom of our words.

“Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.” – Acts 6:9-10

“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” – Luke 12:11-12

This gift will simply be there when we desperately need it, there is no need for any asking or preparing for it.

 

KNOWLEDGE

The gift of knowledge is when the Holy Spirit shows us something we could not otherwise know. He reveals it to us in order to do a work. For example this account where Ananias is sent to Saul (who later became know as the Apostle Paul):

 

“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision... “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”... And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 9:10-12, 17

The gift of knowledge will also come to us when the Lord needs a vessel to do His work. If we are walking with the Spirit and our hearts are available to Him, He will stir us when the time comes. The only thing we can do to make ourselves more useful vessels, is to regularly spend time in the Lord's presence (which we will discuss in the next piece).

PROPHECY

In many ways the gift of prophecy is similar to knowledge. But with prophecy we are shown something about future events. It is usually used as a warning to help guide our choices, or as a promise to stir our faith. 

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” – John 16:13

Here is an account of this gift working though a man named Agabus, who brought a warning to the Apostle Paul:

“When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” – Acts 21:11

 

FAITH

Faith can be a gift as well. All of us have a measure of faith which we were given when we were saved, and it is through that gift of faith that we were able to trust our lives into God's hands. But there will come other tests and promises, and God will ask us to believe that He will carry us through them. You see, with every promise of God, comes a measure of faith. He makes a promise that the impossible will happen, and then gives us just enough faith to believe Him. 

But faith, unlike the other gifts, is one we truly need to cling to. We need to take it for our own and hold on tight, because if we don't it slips away from us. Now, if we cling to that faith (and the Spirit provides the strength to do that), then in God's time we will finally have the outcome He promised. 

So this faith then is the supernatural ability to trust God when all the evidence screams it is impossible. Faith grabs into the spiritual realm, and hangs on until God brings the thing He has promised, down into the physical.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Here is the account of a man who waited in faith for many years, trusting that God would fulfil a promise to him:

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout... and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus... he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation” – Luke 2:25-30

 

DISCERNMENT

Discerning of spirits is a gift that allows us to recognise the true spiritual nature of a thing. The enemy (by which we mean the demonic realm), loves to camouflage itself in order to deceive us. This can happen in many different ways, but the gift of discernment reveals to us when a spiritual power is at play, and whether it is from God or a deceiving spirit of darkness.

See how Paul discerned that it was a spirit of darkness taunting him in a most unusual way in this next account:

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us... This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.” – Acts 16:16-18

Discernment is becoming more and more important in the days we live in, so we would do well to ask the Lord to allow this gift to move through us.

HEALING AND MIRACULOUS POWER

This gift is again a little different to the others. Maybe this is because it is the most "dangerous” of the gifts. To have God's miraculous power move through us can very very quickly lead to pride. God hates pride, and He does not share His glory. So if He were to allow us to go down this path it would destroy us.

 

It seems however that God does sometimes accomplish miracles and healings through very young believers, while they are so young and enthusiastic that they know only God is the reason for the miracle. So do not be shy in approaching Him for a miracle.

 

But when we begin to grow a little, while some spiritual experiences become more common, this gift seems to be withdraw from us, to keep us from too much pride. The same gift will return again much later, and with vastly more power, if we will allow God to crush and shape us completely (as He did with the apostles of old). When God has accomplished many, many years of work in the heart of a man, then He can use this potent gift without the threat of it destroying him.  

“Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst” – Acts 2:22

“Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” – 2 Corinthians 12:12

We encourage you to long for this gift, but know that it comes at a very high price – not because we earn the gift (that is impossible), but because it requires a purer vessel to move through.

GOD IS A GIVER OF GIFTS

The Father so loved the world, that He gave His Son. The Son so loved us, that He gave His life so that He could offer salvation as a free gift. Then the Holy Spirit is given to us as God's gift. And when the Holy Spirit comes, He brings us more gifts from God. Can you see the pattern in all God does? No wonder the Word says:

 

Freely you have received, freely give.” – Matthew 10:8

Now through the Holy Spirit, He longs to use us through His precious gifts, to bless those around us. The question is, do we long to be used by Him? Will we make ourselves available? God will take up the room we offer Him in our hearts and lives. What a glorious God we serve!

 

CONCLUSION

The Holy Spirit's presence and power in our lives makes the extraordinary journey of Christianity possible. He is God in us. He is heaven come down to touch us. If we are willing to let Him in, and surrender our lives to His leading, if we will make room for Him to move in and through us, we will discover more and more of our glorious God. Travel deep enough on this journey with the Spirit and we will become creatures more at home in heaven, than we are on earth. 

UP NEXT

In our next discussion we will begin exploring the practical side of how to walk with the Spirit. What can we do to make room for Him to move in our lives and lead us deeper?

Please note that Phase Five: NEW LIFE IN CHRIST, has not been written yet. Please check back for that or subscribe to receive updates.

 
Category-Growth12(paint).jpg
NEW LIFE IN CHRIST