The last article I wrote was about how to make ourselves open to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. This is a continuation of that thought as we dive even deeper into the profoundness of what it is to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and how we can ensure we are keeping in step with Him.
Jesus assures us that we are not left to fend for ourselves, but that we are given a Helper that abides in us:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16–18)
The other day, my friend taught me that the Greek word translated “Comforter” (v. 16) is parakletos, meaning “to call to one’s side”. The English word paraclete is transliterated (transcribed into corresponding characters of another alphabet) from this Greek word. This Comforter or Counselor, the paraclete, is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity who has been called to our side. The Spirit is “another” helper, meaning “of the same kind”; with the same essence and nature of Jesus. The Spirit took over the work that Jesus had been doing with the disciples, and to have the Holy Spirit as our paraclete is to have God Himself within us.
To expand on this, my friend also showed me that the verb form, parakaleo, means to “plead” or “beg” and portrayed this beautifully as the hands that are grasping our collar, pleading with us and for us. In Romans 8:26–27 we are told that “…the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
In moments of suffering, the weight we bear is heavy, and we don’t always know what to pray for; but the Holy Spirit does. He knows us intimately, He knows our weaknesses and He knows the perfect will of God. He intercedes on our behalf; He rescues us when we are in trouble and pleads our case for us before God. He compels us to remember who we are in Him.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear these things, I am o v e r w h e l m e d by His love. I can’t help but soak up these words and feel an all-consuming peace and deeply entrenched warmth. There is something so beautiful about the knowledge that we have a Comforter who dwells within us; who guides us, teaches us, counsels us, and pleads for us. Let that sink in and stretch over your soul. Feel the weight of what this means. Recognize what a gift this is.
In order to stay in step with the Holy Spirit, we need to continually ask for help and guidance. The filling of the Spirit is a continual experience, not a one-time event and we hold the control knob that will determine how much of the Spirit we are tuned into. We have to choose for God to fill us with His Spirit and engage in Spiritual maintenance, which involves action on our part. I want to explore what that looks like in daily life by way of four vital things that keep us tuned in to His frequency.
- Desire God above everything and surrender ALLto Him. Praise and exalt Him in all that you do and fully acknowledge and understand that Jesus Christ is sufficient, that you are complete in Him (Col. 2:10), and in Him you have everything. Surrender anything you may be holding back from Him and engage in a continual search of your heart for the things that you have not fully relinquished to Him. Think about what that may look like for you… is there anything you’re still attempting to control? Are there things that are hurting you that you’re continuing to cling to?
Let it all go.
Release those things to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to consume you in that raw and vulnerable space. Your heart has been made new in Christ and a changed heart equates to a changed lifestyle. You cannot hold onto your old self. In Romans 8, Paul describes two kinds of people, the old and the new (v. 5–6), and explains that those in the flesh cannot submit to God, but God’s Spirit makes submission possible (v. 7–8). We are commanded not to love the world and its corrupt system of values for it is not of the Father (1 John 2:15–16), but instead to subdue the flesh and live according to the Spirit by setting our mind on things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). You must be willing to lose yourself in order to find yourself in Christ; you must submit and surrender to Him so that the Truth in Christ Jesus will direct you.
- Immerse yourself in the Word of God and be in continual prayer with the Father. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires continual and honest communication; therefore, we must have an open heart and open line of communication to the Lord. Being in God’s Word, the ultimate source of wisdom about how we should live, keeps us in tune with His will for our lives. Meditate on His Word and fill your minds and hearts with His truth and the Holy Spirit will teach you the ways of God (John 16:13). This will also help us discern whether our desires come from the Holy Spirit or from ourselves. The Word of God is described by Paul as the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). The sword, which is His Word, is our weapon that drives away sin, and we keep that sword sharp by immersing ourselves in His word daily. The Spirit’s requests are always in agreement with the will of God (recall Rom. 8:27), so the more we are immersed in His truth, the clearer His voice will be. Be fervent in prayer, pray often, and don’t relent. Continual prayer does not equate to non-stop talking but instead is an attitude of awareness that permeates through us. We are demonstrating a dependence on Him and are acknowledging He is with us and is actively engaged in our thoughts and actions. Prayer also keeps us in a place of humble honesty. Keep the portal open through which the Spirit can continue to flow through you, leading you and urging you in prayer. Worship the Lord, be attentive, engage in fellowship with Him, and ask Him how to apply the Truth to your life.
- Engage in fellowship with others by coming together in love, faith, and encouragement. The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia, which is further defined by words such as “community”, “communion”, and “joint participation.” When we are in the tune with the Spirit, we are also in tune with other believers. When we are filled with the Spirit, we share a common bond, and these commonalities bring us together. We honor and delight in the same God, we rejoice in the same Truth, and we walk in the same Spirit. We are in communion with one another. When we come together in His name and engage in genuine, authentic, and honest fellowship, we radiate the Spirit’s light and we are drawn closer to God and to one another. This creates a bright and sacred space for the Spirit to flourish, for “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another”(1 John 1:7). For those of you who are unsure of what this looks like in your life, it can be a structured event such as a bible study or church group and it can also be something less formal such as meeting a friend for coffee or going to the park or the beach – a place where you can simply come together with others to share, pray, encourage, comfort, and edify one another. Stay in constant fellowship with one another and keep each other in the light.
- Look for signs of His fruit in your life. I’m a visual learner so when I think of the fruit of the Spirit, I imagine these beautiful pieces of luscious fruit that cultivate from perpetually sprouting branches as we deepen our roots in the Father. In Galatians 5:22–23, we are told that “….the fruit of the spirit islove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” In order to ensure we are keeping in step with the Spirit, we should look for these qualities to grow and mature. Notice that they are not presented to us as fruits plural, butone We do not get to decide on a fruit we enjoy best and pick that one to nourish. They are to be thought of as a whole bunch. In love, we should be motivated to do for others what Christ has done for us and not in an attempt to receive something in return. Joy should pour from us regardless of how our day is going. When we are at peace, we maintain tranquility in the midst of chaos; our hearts are content knowing God is in control. Patience shows itself when we exhibit a godly perspective in the face of the various irritations in our life. Kindness is shown through serving others, letting your heart pour out to them. Goodness exudes a desire for others to experience Christ and reflects His holiness. We show our faithfulness when we are devoted to Him. Gentleness allows abounding grace to flow to others, and self-control demonstrates a release of our grip on fleshly desires. Walking in the Spirit produces these qualities, and when we are led by Him and not led by our self-focused desires, He produces the fruit and these qualities continue to grow.
Beloved, if you ever feel that you have strayed from His path, don’t be discouraged or defeated. Come humbly before the Father who always has His arms outstretched, ready to embrace you. All it takes is an admission that you’ve been walking your own way and a humble and sincere request for His forgiveness. He will empower you with His comforting Spirit to lift you up and help you live the life He has purposed for you.
Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon “Questions Which Ought to Be Asked”, sums it up beautifully:
“Here, then, in the nick of time, as a very present help in time of trouble, comes in the Holy Spirit! He draws near to teach us how to pray and in this way He helps our infirmity, relieves our suffering and enables us to bear the heavy burden without fainting under the load… The influences of the Holy Spirit, at times, pass through the soul like winds through an Aeolian harp, creating and inspiring sweet notes of gratitude and tones of desire to which we should have been strangers if it had not been for His Divine visitation.”
PC @mrskmarino via #belovedlife