1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own
The Spirit is holy. I know that seems obvious from the name Holy Spirit, but don’t gloss over it. We’re warned in Scripture not to believe every spirit, in fact to only trust the Holy Spirit, which is why God sent Him to live in us. Holy means “set apart” or “sacred,” so while there are other spirits that exist, the one true God is the Holy one.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:1-4
If He’s Holy, and He lives in you, then you are a temple. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in you, speaks to you, guides you, prompts you, comforts you, and empowers you. You have the power to overcome anything that you face because you walk in the Spirit. Embrace that and be confident that God is always with you. Don’t ever doubt His presence.
- Do you treat your body as the dwelling place for a completely holy God? Are there any sins you need to repent of, as they have abused His holy sanctuary?
1 Corinthians 2:10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
In discussion of the Holy Spirit, we can’t glance over the fact that He is God, as though everyone knows this. Understanding God is so complex that we can’t make any assumptions.
The Holy Spirit isn’t a force, but a relational being, part of the Trinity- One God who eternally exists as three distinct persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – who are each fully and equally God and in eternal relation with each other. The Bible equally declares Father, Son, and Spirit to be God. None are more important than the other, though each person of the Trinitarian God serves a specific purpose and has a specific role.
“Persons” does not mean human beings. Only Jesus became human. Person means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces. We can’t control the Holy Spirit because He has His own will. We can’t fool Him or hide from Him because He possesses all of the characteristics of God- omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.
The Holy Spirit will never act contradictory to God because He is God. He won’t lead us in any way that would go against God’s will, because it’s His will.
- Do you ever fall into the trap of seeing the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force instead of a person? How have you tried to “harness” Him instead of having a relationship with Him?
- Do you treat the Holy Spirit as God, or do you treat Him as lesser than the other two persons of the Godhead? How can ensure to treat Him as such?
“Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor?” Isaiah 40:13
Understanding the Holy Spirit completely may not be possible, but we’re going to get to know Him a bit more and since the Bible does say a lot about Him, there’s quite a bit we can find out.
The first thing to establish is that the Holy Spirit is not an “it.” He is not a power to be harnessed or an impersonal force. He is a relational being. The Holy Spirit is one person of the Trinity, One God who eternally exists as three distinct persons – father, son, holy spirit – who are each fully and equally God and in eternal relation with each other. Persons does not mean human beings. Only Jesus became human. Person means that each member of the trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces.
We are all susceptible to falling into the trap of trying to harness the power of some force that we refer to as the Holy Spirit rather than being in relationship with him as God. Without a good understanding of who He is, we will ignore the Spirit while trying to relate to the Father and the Son. That’s like trying to be in a relationship with some of the people who live in your home while ignoring others. No one thrives in that scenario.
The Holy Spirit is not some feeling that we get on Sunday morning, or a ghost, or something that makes us shake and shiver. He is a personal, relational being with whom we can communicate, find comfort, and abide.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
You are not who you once were. You’re not who you were before Christ, but you’re also not who you were right at the moment He entered your life. You’re being transformed by God to be more like Him. He’s revealing more of Himself to you and as He does that, you gain more of His character. To know Him is to behold Him.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. No, each and every thing that God needs to work on in your life to give you the image of Christ is done one bit at a time. One event at a time. One circumstance at a time. One tragedy at a time. One triumph. One stint of suffering. All of it, everything that happens in your life is part of the process. It may not seem so now, but over time it will make more sense. Look back at where you were and where you are now. Think of all the things you’ve been through that have shaped you into what you’ve become. And the process is only just beginning.
The journey of sanctification is ongoing and doesn’t stop until we’re just like Christ. It won’t end in this lifetime, but it will have an impact here. As the Holy Spirit works in you, it affects your character and the fruit you bear as a Christ follower. You walk more closely with God, understanding more as He reveals more of Himself. God is glorified in you and through you.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
The law brings bondage. Rule-keeping is grueling and not productive. Real freedom doesn’t come from doing what the law says, but from God. He has set us free by His grace and forgiveness.
We can search around for peace and joy and happiness, but we’ll only find them in Christ because only His completed work on the cross can bring us the forgiveness we so desperately need. The Holy Spirit works in us to bring about contentment and joy and they’re only accessible because Jesus chose to come to the earth and take on our sin and put His righteousness onto us. This is why we are free, we have the righteousness of Christ. God looks down on us and sees His sons and daughters and not the sinners that we are because we’re clothed in Christ. Freedom is experiencing God’s love in Christ. The Holy Spirit enables us to experience it.
2 Corinthians 3:6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Trying to keep up with every rule and restriction can be tiresome and in the end doesn’t bring about perfection anyway. We’re unable to keep the whole law and that’s why we have it. The law shows us that we are imperfect and in need of a savior. In Christ we have that Savior and a new covenant, one not dependent on rule-keeping, but on grace.
Trying to reconcile with God based on following the rules and doing good will still result in death. We cant’ reach God in this way. Only through the grace of Christ do we have a chance at a right relationship with God. Now He’s made us ministers of that new covenant. He’s shown us grace and now we’re to show grace on His behalf.
The Holy Spirit works in us to show the life-giving grace of God to others through our lives. Because we’ve been forgiven, we are empowered to forgive. Because we’ve been shown love, we are able to show love. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit are we competent to minister to others in this way.
2 Corinthians 3:3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
We may not always realize the impact our lives have on those of others, but it’s a significant matter. Our experiences with other people can change the way they think or feel about any number of subjects, including God. How we represent Christ can make a difference in the way others see Him.
Jesus was sent to this earth as a self-revelation from God. In Him we see all of the attributes of God in human flesh. He walked the earth and those who lived during that time saw God for what He is. Now, Jesus ascended back to sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven, so who is left to represent God?
The Holy Spirit was sent to do God’s work in and through us as Christ followers. Now, we are God’s letters written to human hearts. We are what people look on and see God’s character (although not perfectly as in the person of Christ). The Holy Spirit connects our hearts with those of others, helping us bear witness to the work of Jesus and His saving grace. At times it may not even be something we say or do that draws another to Christ. It may seem unexplainable how they came to know the Lord through us, but that’s all the more proof that it’s Him doing the work.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
As followers of Christ, we represent the Lord whether for good or for bad. What we say and do can have an impact on the faith of other people because we’re agents of God, and for some, the only thing they’ll know of the gospel. But truth be told, sometimes when we’re at our best, that is, most rightly representing Jesus, people will hate us. Some people will hate us, not because of something we did wrong, but because of something right in us. Some people are repelled by the aroma of Christ.
Some will experience the gospel message through us and turn to God, others will sense the gospel message in us and turn away. The thing is, it’s not our job to make sure that every person gets just the right scent, it’s our job to represent Christ in all we say and do. Some people will be turned off from this, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We do none of this on our own. The responsibility of being a representation of Christ is huge and we just aren’t sufficient in our own strength to carry that out. The Holy Spirit works in us to make sure that those who will turn to Him see what they need to see.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Paul wrote once about his ability to be content in all situations. How it is that he was capable of such a steady demeanor, regardless of whether he was in prison or in comfort? A statement in his second letter to the Corinthians gives some good insight. He writes to them after his plans changed and he was not able to visit as he would have liked to. His attitude though is one that shows full trust in God. He speaks of active ongoing action on God’s part (establishes us), completed action (anointed us), and the guarantee that God has given.
Paul could be content because he knew that no matter where he ended up God had sent him. When he was sent, God equipped him. And when he went, God protected him. He knew the Lord was with him at all times because he had been given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee. So have we. God is with us at all times because, as Christians, we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit. He lives in us and works through us. We are sealed as God’s own by His Holy Spirit in us.
The Holy Spirit can do great things through us, and that includes granting us boldness to speak the truth and courage because we know we are guaranteed His presence no matter where we are. We’re never without God because establishes us, equips us, and seals us.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…self-control
“I can’t believe I did it again.” How many times have we all found ourselves in the situation that leads to such a thought? We tried to control ourselves, but that one thing that just always seems to creep back into our lives overtook our willpower once again. Yes, we gave in to temptation.
It’s a likely scenario, both for the nonbeliever and the Christ follower. It can be very difficult to keep our fleshly urges under control, whether those urges are overeating, lusting, drinking heavily, cheating, stealing, lying, or any other number of sins. The difference between us and those who are not redeemed by the blood of Christ through accepting His gift of salvation, is that we have been granted power above what we are humanly capable of possessing. We are not impotent to change our situation. We have the Holy Spirit working in us.
In the matter of self-control, the name given to this trait referenced in the Fruit of the Spirit scripture may be a bit of a misnomer. For it is not really “self” control that we possess, so much as it is “Spirit-control”. We have been given the ability to restrain ourselves through the help of the Holy Spirit living within us, as believers. We are told in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” That one passage is reason enough to believe that we are quite capable of bearing the fruit of self-control in our lives.
Self-control is not about trying our hardest not to sin. Rather, self-control, like the other Fruit of the Spirit, is attained through submission of our lives to the leading of the Holy Spirit.