I’m not a theologian, so I’m not qualified to demystify the whole Trinity/three-in-one/God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit set up.
But I can share about my personal experience and relationship with the Holy Spirit, which is everyday reality for me. My whole life has really been in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Let me briefly set the scene ...
I was brought up in a Christian family home and attended church. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was seven. As I grew up, attending church, Bible studies, youth camps, etc, my knowledge and understanding about God, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit grew.
Throughout my life and journey as a Christian I’ve often had prayer that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit. There’s never been a moment when the heavens opened and I heard angels belting out the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, but there have been some overwhelming times—sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally. Sometimes I have felt waves of peace. But every time I have asked for more of the Holy Spirit, it has been like being refreshed, renewed and refilled.
The Holy Spirit helps me to live life God’s way. This isn’t about a life based on rules, such as ‘I must do good and be good, then God will love me and I’ll get a free pass into Heaven’; it’s a life built on a loving relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God wants to be in a relationship with me because he made me, loves me and knows me. And the Holy Spirit is God’s way of being in my life and helping me every moment of every day.
To understand how the Holy Spirit helps me, let’s take the All Blacks as a great Kiwi analogy. These men believe in the game, they love it and they enjoy playing it. To be a helpful part of the team, each All Black chooses to listen to their coach and his team (interestingly, the coaching team was known as ‘the Three Wise Men’ in Graham Henry’s time). The All Blacks follow the rule book because they know the game is much better and runs a whole lot smoother when they do so. A break in the rules and there are consequences— people can even get hurt if rules are broken. Team members still have their own free will while playing in the game, yet they know if they follow the coach’s advice and play within the guidelines, the game is so much better.
For me, it is the same with my walk with Jesus. As a Christian, I try to follow God’s guidelines in his Word, the Bible. I read the Bible, which tells me what Jesus is like, how he wants me to live, and how he wants me to treat his other children. I want to do my best to live like this, because my journey is so much better when I’m living within God’s guidelines. Yet I still have free will and I can and do make mistakes.
I don’t want to live life in my own strength and by my own willpower; instead, I want to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, who lives in me. My desires, thoughts and wants do not always line up with what God would desire for me, so daily I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me.
In John 16, Jesus talks to his disciples about the Holy Spirit and tells them the Spirit will come and guide them after Jesus returns to Heaven. Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit will only say what he hears God the Father saying. This same Holy Spirit is the one who guides me today. Yes, I still have questions and don’t fully understand how all this works (I’m hoping for some clarification on this subject upon my arrival in Heaven), but for now, surprisingly, Hollywood has done quite a good job in explaining the Trinity.
In the movie Bruce Almighty, the hero, played by Jim Carrey, is on a search for God. He gets into an elevator where he meets a guy dressed in overalls who is fixing the lift. This part is played by Morgan Freeman. Bruce then arrives at the floor he’s going to and walks into a large white room. In the middle is a ladder leading up to a hole in the roof where a guy is fixing the lights. A voice calls out, ‘Is the light working?’ Bruce looks up at the ceiling and suddenly a huge bright light shines down. He meekly replies, ‘Ah yes, it seems to be working now’, as he’s trying to recover his sight.
Then, to his surprise, Morgan Freeman climbs down. There’s a bit more conversation before Morgan Freeman removes his overalls to reveal a bright white suit underneath. We see recognition but still confusion on Bruce’s face as Morgan Freeman announces that he is, in fact, God.
Then Bruce announces, ‘So you are the janitor, and the electrician and God.’
… The janitor, the fix it guy, the one getting his hands dirty—Jesus. Left holy perfect Heaven to come to Earth, literally to get his hands dirty so that we may be fixed.
… God, the boss.
… And the electrician, the Holy Spirit, the giver of power.
Every morning, I have a chat with God about the day ahead. I always finish by saying, ‘Please, Holy Spirit, guide me today, lead me. Help me listen to you and to hear you today so that I may be the person you need me to be.’
How do I know that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to me? I don’t hear an audible voice, although I wish I did sometimes. But I do hear and feel the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind. He whispers words and prompts me.
How do I know it is the Holy Spirit’s voice, not mine? Well, I know the voice in my head, which can be quite loud. It is not as gentle as the Holy Spirit, nor as holy! I know the voice that says, ‘You deserve those three pairs of new shoes, just blow the family budget, it will be okay.’ I know that’s not the prompting of the Holy Spirit and I try not to give into that voice. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t—just ask my husband! But joking aside, the Holy Spirit will only speak what lines up with what the Bible, God’s Word, says. He will never go against that.
How does the Holy Spirit speak to me and what does he talk about? There are lots of answers I could give to these questions, but here are four instances to illustrate the interactions the Holy Spirit and I routinely share …
1. The relationship Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit makes me laugh. He doesn’t rock out knock-knock jokes, but he certainly has a sense of humour. For example, a few months ago I was in the kitchen and there was a huge dirty blowfly buzzing around. Out loud I said, ‘Where did you come from?’ And the Holy Spirit—God’s voice—simply whispered, ‘From me.’
The Holy Spirit is present with me 24/7, and is interested in everything I’m doing. He wants to engage with me—and isn’t that what friends do when they’re in a relationship?
2. The comforter Holy Spirit
The other day I was driving along, alone in the car. So I probably looked a bit weird as I was talking to God out loud again. I was talking about how I was getting nervous about a client I was going to be doing some work with. Once more, the Holy Spirit whispered into my spirit, my head, my heart, my being, saying: ‘Don’t be.’
Just two words that were accompanied by an incredible peace. The Bible describes it as a ‘peace that passes all understanding’. And it did—the nerves just left me. Just two words and I experienced God’s perfect peace and knew he would be with me.
3. The practical Holy Spirit
Brad, the kids and I were in town a while back, just looking around. Tayla was holding my hand while fidgeting with her pink headband. I looked down and saw her take the headband off and hold it in her hand. Right then, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, ‘Put it in your bag.’ I looked at Tayla and thought, ‘No, she’s okay—she’s got it’ and kept walking.
About 30 to 40 meters down the road, a little voice pipes up, ‘Mummy, I’ve dropped my headband’. Frustration wells inside me and I tighten my grip on her hand. But then I think, ‘If I’d been obedient to the prompting from the Holy Spirit, this wouldn’t have happened.’ I look back down the street to see a lonely pink headband in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, immediately after the point where the Holy Spirit had prompted me.
Isn’t this what a friend would do if they could see what was going to happen, just give you a little heads up? If I was willing to slow down more often and put my ‘listening ears’ on, I realise the Holy Spirit would actually save me a lot of angst. He is actually speaking to me a lot more than I choose to hear!
4: The miraculous Holy Spirit
Some of you would already know about the seven-year journey of infertility that Brad and I travelled. We were told by doctors we’d never have children, but I always hoped and prayed God would bless us with kids. However, I didn’t really know or feel one way or the other if this would be the case or not.
At the time, we were living in a two-bedroom bungalow and deciding whether or not to do some major renovations to turn it into a family home. One Sunday I was praying and feeling just so over it all. I said to God, ‘Okay, here’s the thing, I need to know really clearly if we should do the renovations on our house to ultimately raise a family in. Because God, respectfully, I don’t want to do the additions if we’re not going to have kids.’ I kept pouring out my heart to God. Then, as I waited quietly for an answer, the lovely Holy Spirit gently spoke into my spirit and said, ‘Look at Isaiah chapter 54.’
I wasn’t aware of ever having read that passage before, but I looked it up and saw these words: ‘Sing barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill up the air with song you who’ve never experienced childbirth you’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women, God says so. Enlarge your house; build on your additions, spread out your home, for you will soon be bursting at the seams. Don’t be afraid, you will not be ashamed. Don’t be embarrassed, because you will not be disgraced, you will forget the shame you felt earlier.’
Amazing! That was a miraculous, real, practical and very special moment in my journey and relationship with God.
I want to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit in my life. In fact, I believe if it’s not the Holy Spirit leading us, then someone or some other influence will take the lead. Whomever or whatever we spend most of our time with, we become like. That could be workmates, school friends, what we watch on TV and DVDs, the music we listen to, the books we read, the games we play on computers and online. What feeds us leads us. What goes in must come out.
I know the Holy Spirit of God wants to be in relationship with me—and me with him. Like all relationships, I don’t always listen to him as much as I should. Often, I think my way and my decisions are better. But when I take time to listen and choose to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s voice, life gets easier.
The designer and creator of this universe has got my back. All I have to do is listen.
By Sheryn Adamson (abridged from War Cry, 08 September 2012, p12-13)
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