When I first was stirred to re-work this website for the purpose of focusing on the redemptive gifts and development of our human spirit, one thing was foremost in my decision. Not for a moment would I present any of this material without a simultaneous study of the Person of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard it said there’s been a glut of teaching leading to understanding of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I don’t think so; not in regard to understanding the Personhood of Holy Spirit – the Divine Third Person of the Trinity.
There was a time when companying with many earnest Christians, I met the Holy Spirit in a deeply personal way. Not unlike an earthly courtship, acquaintance led to deepened intimacy; revealing and being revealed. Much of the early process has been recorded in Vineyard Days on my original blog Wellspring of Life. When a book by Dr. Fuchsia Pickett1 made its way into my hands, a personal statement she made leapt off the pages:
“After serving God as a Methodist professor and pastor for many years, I came into a fuller relationship with the Holy Spirit. I realized then that Someone had come to live in my life, Someone whom I was not personally or intimately acquainted with. When I surrendered my life completely to Him, He began to reveal to me that He had come to be my Teacher. He had come to unveil the Christ who had been living in me for 17 years. It was then that I began to become intimately acquainted with the Holy Spirit as a Person.” 1
This precious woman of God had described the inner journey I had been on for 25 years at that reading. It is now 30 years and counting; the biggest revelation is the beauty of His majesty, in this life, as a beloved one of Christ Jesus, the believer’s Bridegroom King. He does give a crown of beauty in exchange for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)
There is not a One God-Box Fits All for personal testimonies. God forbid that alive with His Spirit, we ever try to contain or constrain Him in a box of our small thinking and puny understanding. Yet that is how I view now the magnitude of what I did not understand then. Many believers in Christ have or continue to live their life independently as they orchestrate and as God has allowed. One could describe it as on-the-job living and learning, full of joy and pain. Nevertheless, it is God-dependency that brings the growth and maturity He seeks.
“come to unveil the Christ who had been living in me”
For many, the gift of becoming acquainted with the Holy Spirit as a Person after fully surrendering their life to Him, has become their new song of a transformed life and redemptive service to the King and His kingdom. These are they who testify in grace and truth that Holy Spirit has come to unveil the Christ living within them. Jesus, who lived life as the Suffering Servant described by Isaiah2, ascended to the Father. As mentioned in the first post of this study, Divine Someones –
Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and has never left. He faithfully remains, doing the work the Father sent Him to do. The spirit of Christ, who came in bodily form, now resides in our midst and in hearts of believers in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Refreshed Understanding: Who Holy Spirit is
Romans 12:2 bears repeating here: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (NASB)
To have refreshed understanding of the Person of the Holy Spirit is to bear out this scripture in one’s very life. Holy Spirit, who has come to be our Teacher, is competent and faithful to do His work in our mind and ways of thinking, as well as accomplishing His work throughout the earth. He actively dwells within so we may continue moving from the world’s conformity to transformation in keeping with God’s progressive – good, acceptable, and perfect (complete) – will for us.
…and what He is Not
To help determine more fully how we relate to Holy Spirit as a Person, it is important to know what He is not.
~ Merely an impersonal influence or divine power. As the divine Third Person of the Trinity, Holy Spirit is worthy of worship and honor for He is the very Spirit of Christ – holy, pure, faithful and true. If we rob Him by viewing Holy Spirit in an impersonal manner, we rob ourselves as well by our inability to honor Him with our love and trust, surrender and obedience. He is the One who knows the thoughts of God and is received by us that we might know the things freely given to us by God (I Corinthians 2:11b-12). Impersonal vs Intimate is the difference.
~An influence or power to be used for one’s own purposes. I believe many well-meaning Christians have landed in this category of less-than understanding for two reasons: 1) teaching, whether overt or construed in one’s thinking, that the Holy Spirit is there for us to ‘use’; and 2) referring to the Holy Spirit as ‘it’. It doesn’t get more impersonal – or erroneous in our thinking – than that.
This was a personal point of correction in how I had come to regard the Holy Spirit. Realization dawned that I had developed a mindset that relegated Holy Spirit to an ethereal influence and power. I knew His real ability to intervene on my behalf, but like Fuchsia Pickett, spoke about Him minus full recognition of Him.
~ Tongues and Gifts. I was raised in the Pentecostal denomination and am grateful for the solid teaching and biblical foundation I received as a child growing up. Too, I love the beautiful Spirit-language I was given as a young girl at the simultaneous healing from grand mal epilepsy. Singing in my prayer language is one way I worship; it also is the source of deep-seated prayer when I have no earthly words of adequate expression. The following scripture often comforts me that it is Holy Spirit praying in, for, and through me at such times:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we should,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
My spirit felt grief the day I was told in one of my former workplaces to never let my boss know I spoke in tongues. Sadly, it was in one of the several Christian organizations in which I’ve worked. My and the boss’s ‘reputation’ was at stake. Years later, I recall and understand in greater measure feeling the sadness of Holy Spirit reacting within me. Dear believers, the flesh’s reputation holds no equal to Holy Spirit’s reputation.
Too, I have since come to believe that the “evidence of speaking in tongues” is not the only “evidence”, as I was taught, that Holy Spirit has come to reside within. I Corinthians 12 lists the manifestation gifts as the result of the work done or impartation given by the Spirit, as determined by God. In my case, I regard the timing of being given my prayer language as the evidence of the physical healing He had just accomplished. Each believer will have their own timing, impartation, and testimony as Holy Spirit accomplishes the work in accordance with our faith and surrender into His keeping. There is an initial point, but it’s only the beginning.
As well, the passage about the manifestation gifts in I Corinthians 12 makes it clear that we are to seek the gifts, grow and develop in the gifts, but what and how many of the gifts we are given is ultimately up to God. We do well to remember they are called gifts for a reason; God, through Holy Spirit, distributes as He wills. It is not cause for thinking we belong to a superior order of Christians. Holy Spirit is effectual with diversity of gifts as He delivers them to individuals.
~ Religious manifestation has long been cause for ridicule, scorn, and doubt about the origin of physical signs. I recall two opposite times that illustrate a true expression by the Spirit and that which was a fleshly display.
The first one was, again, when I was a young girl. The church my family attended had a wide age group. During one service I witnessed one of the elderly women caught up in rapt worship of God. As she walked back and forth with hands upraised, her feet were not touching the ground. She was like a spiritual hovercraft about six inches above the floor. In my childlike youth, my spirit sensed it was real and not fake. She literally floated in worship.
On the opposite spectrum, what I witnessed made me recoil. In this particular service, my spirit was sensitive to the overtly sensual overtones displayed by a female ‘worshipper’. Eyes open or closed was not the point. What was is the effect it had on the spiritual atmosphere. Holy Spirit comes by His name “Holy” for a reason. The more intimate with Him, the greater the sensitivity to that which cannot stand in His presence. I often remember that God is not mocked and our worship reflects that.
As we grow in our relationship with and how we relate to Holy Spirit, He causes us to understand what we are to put away. What that is for me may well be different for you. Regardless, we share the same Holy Spirit.
Our human spirit and Holy Spirit
Embracing your design for redemptive living is part of the process whereby our human spirit becomes more attuned and responsive to Holy Spirit – the Divine Third Person of the Trinity.
1 Roll the Credits
2 Isaiah 53, specifically verse 11
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