27th May 2012


“But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:26 (NIV UK)

It might be tempting to think of the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit as something we can call down from heaven to help us become bold, wise, healthy and wealthy. But we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is God, not a genie in a bottle to grant our every wish.

Jesus also said: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”  (John 14:13-14).

The Spirit doesn’t have his own agenda, only the agenda of the Father and the Son, who sent him. That is, human redemption and salvation—the gospel agenda. The Holy Spirit is not a scene-stealer or a circus act. The Spirit is God, and he is God with the Father and the Son—not on his own, somehow acting apart from the Father and the Son.

Our heavenly Father is the Father of Jesus Christ, the Father who loved the world so much that he sent his Son to save the world and who, with the Son, sent the Holy Spirit so that he and the Son would always be with us and in us. Jesus also said: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:16-19).

The Holy Spirit empowers us, not for selfish, personal means and ends, but for God’s means and ends, which have to do with conforming us to the image of Christ, not with granting us the life-style of the rich and famous. To be baptised with the Holy Spirit is to be baptised into the baptism of Jesus Christ. It’s to enter into new life in Christ—the life of the kingdom of God. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms,” Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10.

The gifts of the Spirit, then, whether tongues or healing or administration or teaching or whatever they might be, are for the benefit of the body of Christ, and not for personal acclaim or gain.

The Holy Spirit lives in us, unites us with the Father and the Son, and transforms us into the image of Christ. He stands beside us, bringing us hope and courage, endurance and peace. He leads us toward Jesus, nudges our conscience, and reminds of the Father’s love and mercy. And he does it without drawing attention to himself.

When we truly listen to the Spirit, what we’re going to hear is, “Listen to Jesus.”

Heavenly Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit and his work—your work—in us, bringing us more and more into conformity with your Son. We ask that you will help us to work with Him and to work harder at listening to his promptings, because they are for our ultimate good. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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