Matthew 3:16-17 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
What we see at the baptism of Jesus is the Father confirming the ministry He was sent for and the Holy Spirit empowering Him by coming upon Him. Jesus, being God himself, is at all times filled with the Holy Spirit, but the picture we get here as believers is that when God calls us to something, He empowers us to do it. We have the blessing of the Father, the authority given by the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to carry out God’s mission.
All three persons of the Trinity are at work as we carry on with what God has called us to do and each plays a part in their own respective roles along the way. As finite humans who are quite incapable of fully understanding how God works, we may never know exactly how God is working in a given situation, but we can know that He is working and that He is simultaneously acting in the distinct persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one and they equip us to do what we’re called to do.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
Ephesians 6:18a praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
One aspect of Christian belief that does not often make its way into devotions or teaching on how to apply biblical truth to daily living is the Triune nature of God. We neglect to focus on the nature of God as three persons in one as part of our view of God in daily life. But it’s essential that we remember who God is as we seek to know Him more, as we petition Him, as we carry out His will.
As we pray, we are in fact engaging with all three distinct persons of the Trinity. We speak to the Father, asking Him for our needs to be met, giving Him praise, interceding for the needs of others, and giving Him thanks. We do this through the Son, who is our mediator. Were it not for the role of Jesus Christ standing in the gap between man and God, we would have no access to the throne and our prayers would go unanswered. Since God himself is spirit, we must act in the Holy Spirit to communicate with Him. All three persons of the Triune God are present and active as we pray.
We can’t neglect any part of God’s nature as we seek Him. If we forget that He is good, we will have an unnatural fear of Him. If we forget that He is all-powerful, we will tend to pray without expecting results. If we forget that He is all-knowing, we may fear that we won’t quite say the right thing and that God will answer our prayers incorrectly because we didn’t get our message across right. The fact is that God is all of these things and He is present in our lives as our Father, as Jesus the Son, and as the Holy Spirit.
“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.