We have recently discussed in great length who the Holy Spirit as a Person is, and I want to continue discussing this vital topic because so much of our success in life and ministry depends on our understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and how He functions in our lives. Many people never realize this powerful truth: You can only receive what you believe!
Before we dive into today’s discussion, I want to share some of my background. I grew up in a wonderful church that believed in and taught the Bible, but we didn’t believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believed that when the apostles died, the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased, and the supernatural activity of God in the Church ceased. And because we didn’t believe in the supernatural, we never saw it in our live or our church. When I look back, I can’t recall one time we ever prayed for anyone’s healing. When people got sick, we prayed for them to have the grace to accept their sickness — or, maybe, someone prayed, “Heal, if it be Thy will.” We simply didn’t understand the devil, spiritual warfare, or the gifts of the Spirit.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the headquarters of Oral Robert’s ministry. And if you didn’t know, Oral Roberts had a massive healing ministry that touched countless lives. Well, our pastor was so against anything supernatural that he would tell jokes about Oral Roberts or anyone else who was “Pentecostal.” We once had a woman in our church who became ostracized because she had an experience with the Holy Spirit. We thought she was crazy and needed to see a psychiatrist. That was our opinion about anyone who believed in the supernatural! And because of that, we lacked power and couldn’t see the supernatural demonstrated.
The first time I saw a miracle, I was attending a Kathryn Kuhlman healing meeting. When I saw those miracles, the Jesus I mentally believed in suddenly “appeared” right in front of me on stage as I saw the gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation. I remember thinking, I’ve been lied to my whole life. Jesus has always been doing this! He really is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
If we want to have and experience the supernatural power of God, we must have a partnership with the Holy Spirit and learn His ways, much like Jesus did during His time on Earth. The following is a list of significant instances in which the Holy Spirit was involved in Jesus’ life and ministry:
- The Holy Spirit prophesied His birth.
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus healed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus was crucified by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- When Jesus asceneded into Heaven, He poured out the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When you read about Jesus in the Bible, He is always working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit! John 5 tells us that Jesus was so dependent on the Holy Spirit that in His earthly ministry, He couldn’t do anything without the Holy Spirit’s direction! Everything He did depneded on His partnership with the Holy Spirit — isn’t that an amazing thought?
Jesus’ success was due to His dependence on the Holy Spirit. Likewise, our success depends on our own relationship with the Holy Spirit. We can see evidence of the importance of this relationship in the book of John:
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
— John 5:19
When Jesus’ ministry on Earth was ending in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), He gathered His disciples in the Upper Room and served them Communion. On that evening, He spent a significant amount of time with His disciples. And during His last precious moments on Earth, Jesus spoke exhaustively to His disciples about the Holy Spirit. He knew these would be the last words He would ever speak to them in the flesh.
Think about it. If you knew you were about to speak your final words to your loved ones, think about how careful you’d be with your words. With this in mind, think about how important Jesus’ final words regarding the Holy Spirit were. He could have spent those moments talking about so many things, but on that night, Jesus spoke to them about the Holy Spirit! Why? Because Jesus knew they would need to completely depend on the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ departure.
The Lord Has Given You the Gift of the Holy Spirit — Avail Yourself to Him!
You must understand that for a little more than three years, the disciples totally relied on Jesus. They fully obeyed every word He said and trusted Him completely. He told them how to travel, what to pack, and what to eat. He told them what to do when they entered and exited a city, how to cast out demons, and how to lay hands on the sick. For those three short years, they did nothing without Jesus’ instruction.
Just as Jesus instructed the disciples, the Lord wants us to utilize the gift of the Holy Spirit. How unfortunate it would be to have the Spirit of God in your life and not even know what it means for Him to be there! The Holy Spirit is truly a gift, but we must open this gift to receive it!
In John 14, Jesus spoke to His disciples about His ascent into Heaven, saying:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
— John 14:26
Notice where it says, “…The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name….” In other words, Jesus was saying that He would pray to His Father to send down someone just like Him — a Comforter who could take Jesus’ place on Earth. In fact, the word Jesus used during this conversation communicated the idea that the way the Holy Spirit sees, hears, speaks, thinks, and acts will be identical to Jesus.
Let’s look a little further back at John 14:16, where Jesus says, “And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” The word “Comforter” is powerful because it describes an advisor, instructor, master, trainer, or coach who comes to a student and says, “I’m going to show you what to do.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will speak to you. He’ll be your trainer and coach. He will come to you and tell you what to do and not to do — and where to go and not to go. He’ll tell you everything you need to know!” By giving us the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave us such a powerful gift — we’re in a unique position of having an advantage over the world!
Jesus understood that His disciples might be hesitant in trusting the Holy Spirit. They weren’t afraid to trust Jesus because they could see Him. They could touch and experience Him physically — and they had experienced walking with Him for the past three years. The Holy Spirit, however, is invisible, and it was natural to think if you couldn’t see Him, you couldn’t really trust Him. But Jesus addressed their concerns, and in His last moments on Earth, He again comforted them, saying, “There’s no need to be afraid! You can trust Him completely.” That’s why in John 15 and 16, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth” three times — meaning He will never mislead or misguide you. If you trust Jesus, you can trust the Holy Spirit.
And because the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus and gives believers worldwide an advantage over the enemy, is it any wonder why the devil doesn’t want people to partner with the Holy Spirit? Everything we do in Jesus’ name and for the Kingdom of God depends on this relationship, and that’s precisely why the devil tries to create a disconnect between the Church and the Holy Spirit.
In this day and age, it’s critical that we have a partnership with the Holy Spirit. We know of this importance because when Jesus could have spoken about anything to His disciples the night before His arrest, He spoke about the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus got to Heaven, He sat at the right hand of God. Jesus’ first act once He ascended into Heaven and took His place at the right hand of God was to pour out the gift of the Holy Spirit. And to this day, the glorious third member of the Godhead lives within us who have been born again. Experientially, He walks alongside us, guiding us through life, just as Jesus walked with His disciples when He was physically on the earth.
The Bible tells us in the book of Acts:
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many came with Peter, because tha ton the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
— Acts 10:45
Learn To Listen to the Holy Spirit!
Truthfully, God has enabled us to do many things well, but not because we’re brilliant! It’s because we have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit! He will tell us everything we need to know in life if we have an ear to listen. Simply incline your ear to hear what the Spirit of God would say to you. It’s that easy!
During Jesus’ ministry on Earth, He made this statement six times: “He that has an ear, let him hear.” When He spoke to the churches in the book of Revelation, Jesus said seven times, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.”
The Holy Spirit is speaking all the time, but not everyone is listening. If that describes you, you can change that today! Simply open your heart, be honest before the Lord, and say:
Holy Spirit, this is new for me. Following Your voice is a little unnerving because I can’t see You. But Jesus said You are just like Him, and I should trust You as I would trust Him. Please help me to listen and obey.
Some might say, “Oh, I wish I could’ve lived 2,000 years ago and walked with Jesus.” That is the wrong way to think! We’re walking with Jesus right now because He sent the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is exactly like Jesus — and He is here today!
When you first start following the leading of the Holy Spirit, you will make a few mistakes, but the mistakes won’t be with the Holy Spirit — they will be with you! You have to learn how to listen, and you have to start somewhere. If you don’t get started, you’ll never learn. It’s a process, but that’s okay! The Holy Spirit is your Advisor, Instructor, Master, Trainer, and Coach — He will help you every step of the way!