I want to talk about the BIGGEST testament of the Holy Spirit’s role in my life. But I want to make it clear that I do not mean to unduly elevate this above the many different aspects and roles of the Holy Spirit. But to me, from my personal testimony, I have found this particular role of the Holy Spirit to be the most precious. I have found this role of the Holy Spirit to be the one that is the persistent questi0n of whether the Holy Spirit is fully present in me.
And I get this role of the Holy Spirit from John 16:14 – He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. So very simply, this is the Holy Spirit’s most basic role in my life: He makes Jesus More and More Special to Me.
At the end of the day, I believe that the essence of Christianity that is different from all other religions and worldviews is the Person of Jesus. It is Jesus, and who He is, and what He did, and what He desires from us, that causes us to call ourselves Christians.
Yet, the sad reality is that even many sincere Christians so often reduce the Person of Jesus to facts about Jesus. I don’t know about you, but even so many of my Christian activities did not result in a greater knowledge of the Person of Jesus. I could preach sermons, I could debate competently on the validity of the Christian worldview, and I could even get others to agree with what I believed from time to time.
But there was not a growing adoration of the Person of Jesus. Sure, I became more and more secure in my point of view. I became more and more satisfied that I was truly on the right track, and comforted myself that I was not going to go to hell. But my relationship with the Person of Jesus Himself? He had not grown significantly more special to me. Now I am not saying that I was no longer a Christian or had lost my salvation. I am not saying that the Holy Spirit was not present within me at all. But what I am saying is that I was definitely limiting the Holy Spirit’s intentions for me. The Holy Spirit surely desires that we be absolutely holy. But He doesn’t want us to be holy as stand-alone creatures. And neither does He desire holiness by any possible means. He is very specific about how we become holy. We become holy by having Jesus be so very precious to us – that we lose more and more of our desire to do anything that displeases Him. This is a holiness that comes more and more naturally, and out of a deep adoration from Jesus.
So let me give you the way I would answer somebody who asks me whether I have the Holy Spirit richly dwelling within me:
I would ask myself whether in the past few days and weeks, I have found the Person of Jesus to be as precious and enjoyable to me. So it would be evidenced by things such as:
- I enjoy Jesus and I value His opinion
- I value the things that He values
- What makes Him sad, increasingly makes me sad
So if these things are STILL true in my life today, then I know that the Holy Spirit has freedom to do His work in my life.
I think this is something where ALL of us can see our own lack. I believe that this is one way in which we as Christians are supposed to “judge ourselves” and not think of ourselves as being above others. If we are open to the Holy Spirit every day, He will show us ways in which we are people in need of a greater love for Jesus ourselves. And it will create in us an inner divine humility and compassion. We will increasingly hate every form of sin, but yet we will also have a heart that increases in love towards every single person in the world.
But let me come back to something I said earlier. I don’t want people to condemn themselves by what I have written. I believe that the Holy Spirit is given freely by the Father to those who are sincere in their desire, hungry in their intent for Him, and recognize their need for Him. But we do many things to QUENCH the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Since we live in this world that is run by the devil, he operates with a completely different spirit than the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:2). So we have a fight on our hands so as not to allow the spirit of this world QUENCH the Holy Spirit within us.
And let me share with you a few PRACTICAL ways in which I see the spirit of this world quenches the Holy Spirit within us:
- A strong fascination with money/career/earthly talents, and taking lightly the stern warnings in the Bible against the desires for riches and wealth
- Being ruled and driven by our sexual urges, and disregarding the strong warnings in the Bible against all sorts of immorality
- An unhealthy view of our body, that results in being discouraged and depressed over the way we look, an insistence to be immodest in dress, abusing food, and an overall inappropriate value in the way we look
- Friendships with people who love the things of this world. These could even be people who call themselves Christians, but who don’t passionately love Jesus. But I think we all probably know how our passionate love for Jesus has been dulled by friends who are not devoted to Jesus.
I am sure there are many more ways, but these are some of the ways in which I believe WE quench the Holy Spirit. And I believe that beneath all of these ways is a cry and groan within ourselves to be significant, to be important, to be relevant, and to be loved.
So I do not want to diminish these groans. These are deep, deep groans that come from within us. And the world shows us ways by which we can gain significance and relevance, so we live our lives trying to pursue these ways. But I will tell you the answer that I have found (and am growing in) through the ministry of the Holy Spirit: I have found that the Holy Spirit is also one who groans for me, but He groans with great hope (perseverance and eagerness), always hopeful. And in addition, from what I have written here above, the Holy Spirit also longs to TAKE ME TO JESUS. And the reason He takes me to Jesus is because I AM significant to Jesus, I AM important and relevant to Jesus, and I AM infinitely loved by Jesus.
This is the journey I am on. This is the fight that I am choosing to fight. I have had to give up fighting many other fights that other Christians choose to fight. Because the fight that is most important to me is the fight to maintain my identity WITH Christ. I have found that this is a most precious fight, because the Holy Spirit is a more than able Helper to me in this fight, and fighting this fight wins me a deeper friendship with Jesus.
For those of you who are fighting to know the depth of God’s love for you, I want to give you some verses that have helped me:
- Psalm 139:17-18
- Isaiah 49:13-16
- Jeremiah 29:11-13
- Jeremiah 31:3-4
- Zephaniah 3:17
- Ephesians 3:14-21
Now there is nothing magical about these verses. You may read these verses and find nothing special. But I urge you to read them slowly. Write them out and put them in your purse or in your car. Put it on the desktop of your computer, and keep reminding yourself of these verses. I am absolutely convinced that like me, you too will discover great security and strength in these verses.
I pray that this will sink deep within us, and cause us to continue to draw closer to Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
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