The Holy Spirit is probably the most misunderstood and overlooked of the Trinity. However, He performs several essential functions. God introduced Him in Acts 1:8 as One with power who would help the apostles witness for Him. At Pentecost, He came astoundingly as told, and the men spoke in each other’s native languages and miraculously understood each other. In her article, The Unsettling Holy Spirit, Dr. Judy Siker discusses the astonishment the Holy Spirit’s presence created. Instead of an entrance that made the men feel comfortable, the Holy Spirit’s presence shook the place and transformed the entire atmosphere and the men in it (Siker, J., 2004). This is indicative of who the Holy Spirit is. He’s the One who inspired biblical authors of old to record God’s message for humankind. Not only did the Holy Spirit inspire the writing of the Bible, but today he also interprets it for us. As interpreter, the Holy Spirit challenges our presuppositions, manifests God’s truth to us, enables us to understand what God is saying, and then empowers us to live according to it.
The Holy Spirit works in the Church through illumination. We’re able to know emphatically God’s word is divinely inspired. And, He tells us what God means. Can you recall times, if ever, when you read or heard the Bible taught or preached, and suddenly, a light turned on in your mind? No longer did it feel as if you were reading a fairy tale story. A sense of reality hit you like a thunderbolt. “This is true,” you suddenly realized! You had read or heard that scripture passage over and over for years, but you could never quite grasp its full meaning. It didn’t penetrate your spirit. You tried meditating on it, but nothing. This happened to me with the verse, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” found in Philippians 2:13 (KJV). It’s one often quoted or preached in church and discussed among Christian friends. For me, as often as I had read this verse, it never clicked inside me what God meant. Not until one day, while reading it, the Holy Spirit came and illuminated my mind. When the Holy Spirit works in illumination, it’s like He’s turning on a light. Your surprised! Stunned! It’s an OMG moment, where your eyes are instantly opened, and you can see! The Holy Spirit helped me understand how transformation into Christ’s image is a work God does. This scripture means the Lord works in us to even want to do His will and works in us to do it. I was one of those persons on a treadmill walk to successful Christian living (with many peaks and valleys and highs and lows, may I add). I approached my Christian walk the same as I did my job. Be on time, work hard, strive to be good at it, and toil long hours, if necessary, to get the job done. I was going to get this thing right. It was remarkable when the Holy Spirit explained this verse to me. I found so much freedom and relief from the stress I was under trying to live God’s life through my own efforts. Contrary to some popular church teachings and beliefs today, the Christian life is living the life of God–one we know nothing about. We’re humans, with a sin nature, and a proclivity for sin. God knows this about us. It’s why the Holy Spirit must come alongside us and enlighten us in God’s word and work in us a desire to do God’s will and live for His good pleasure. It’s not in my nature to want to do this. This is what our great Father–God, the Holy Spirit–is all about. It’s why, since Pentecost, He has continuously been helping guide believers and non-believers to understand the truth about Himself (John 14:6 NIV).
God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—the Trinity. They work in accord and each function in one purpose. Scripture tells how God, the Son–Jesus Christ–always did what pleased the Father (John 8:29 NIV). It makes sense then how it’s only through the Holy Spirit’s work in illumination that we gain a proper understanding of scripture, which helps us become like Christ. He only acts in accord with what is written in God’s word. His interpretation will be consistent in revealing what is written about God’s nature, His ways, and what pleases Him. The Holy Spirit will not alter the written word to appease our lifestyles or desires, to make us feel comfortable, or to make us be right. People do that. At the same time, however, The Holy Spirit does not do all the work for us in interpreting God’s word. “The Lord expects us to use the available Bible tools to discover God’s message” (Duvall & Hays. 2012, pp.229-230). Second Timothy 2:15 (NIV) supports this idea, where it states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…”
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Romans 12:17 tells us. By hearing God’s word, we become convinced about what God has said. Next, it takes root in our hearts and becomes our way of being and thinking. Finally, as we go about our daily life activities and encounter various type situations and people, we then do (or put into practice) what the Holy Spirit has made known to us. How do you know this to be true, you may ask? Well, in John 14:26, when Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure, He told them, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.” An advocate speaks up boldly to defend someone’s cause. We can rely on the Holy Spirit to come alongside us in our situations in life to boldly speak for God, reminding us of what He said and strengthening us to carry it out. He’ll be championing us on–assuring us “we can do all things through Christ.” I don’t know about you, but this is inspiring for me to know we have a Holy Spirit who equips and prepares us for all things that pertain to life and godliness.
So, in closing, I admonish you today to continue reading, studying, and meditating on God’s word, even when it makes no sense to you at all. Don’t become discouraged or disappointed because you’re not “getting it” and put it down, because you don’t know at which time you’re reading or listening to God’s word, when the Holy Spirit is going to show up to shake your world and change your life by turning the lights on to what God’s message is to you. If anyone is reading this who has never pursued the life of God or read the Bible, you can start today. Try it! Begin reading God’s words in the Bible today and watch! 😊
Be blessed until next time.
Duvall, J.S., & Hays, J.D. (2012). Grasping God’s Word. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI.
Siker, J. Y. (2004). The Unsettling Holy Spirit. The Living Pulpit (Online), 19.