I have spoken before about the awakening in my heart to a hunger to know more of the Holy Spirit. As I have stated, I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but there came a time [within the last ten years] when I experienced a huge shift in my theology and relationship with the Father and Jesus and I came to understand the full personality and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It wasn't that I didn't believe in the Holy Spirit, it was just that in my 30+ years as a Christian I had been given no guidance for a personal knowledge or experience of Him as His own separate and equal Being. It had always been presented to me that He was an extension of Jesus; a substitute or understudy, so to speak. But as I began receiving revelation from the Word, I could see and discern that He was God Himself, just as Jesus was. And with that knowledge came the desire to know Him and experience Him, as the Bible tells me I can.
To be honest, when those revelations came, I was a bit jealous of other Christians who had grown up in denominations where the presence of the Holy Spirit was vibrant and active, and a relationship with Him was customary and familiar. And I was surprised that as I sought to grow in my knowledge of Him and began to develop an intimacy with Him, I also began to see a distancing or separation from some of my other fellow Christians. I was told that the kind of experiences I was looking for weren't possible for today's Believers; that the power and fire that rained down on the First Century Believers was only to jump-start the Church; that the closing of the Canon has left us with centuries of faith in the saving grace of Jesus, and that's all we need. But is that really the case?
That kind of thinking has shown me just how misunderstood the Person of the Holy Spirit is in the 21st Century Church. And let me make a statement here that is not meant to offend, but I feel I must clarify for me. There are times that I distinguish "the Church" from "the Body of Christ", and this is one of those times. For the sake of this discussion, the Church represents those Believers who, like the Pharisees, are clinging tightly to their belief systems and the rules of their particular form of theology. If their denomination holds to the doctrine of cessationism [the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for the establishment of the Church and ceased with the deaths of the apostles], then their interest in developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit will be minimal. But for the Body of Christ, who walk in Jesus's ways as their model, there is a recognition of [and reliance on] the Holy Spirit to convey the thoughts and will of the Father as it pertains to our purpose in His Kingdom on earth.
For me, the Holy Spirit is that friend that has only your best interests at heart; the One that prays for you, intercedes for you, and whose heart burns to guide you into fulfilling the purpose for which you were created. Because Jesus remains in Heaven, for now, and the Father sits resolutely and powerfully on His throne, the Holy Spirit commits to be with you through, as prophetic minister Graham Cooke says, "every circumstance of life; of warfare, of crisis, and of opportunity". The Holy Spirit wants to see you succeed and overcome; to fulfill all that God has planned for you! He will be with you in good times and bad. He is the One who will not leave you nor forsake you.
And so, I now find myself talking to Holy Spirit as often as I do Jesus because I know that He is the conduit -- the instrument God uses to protect Jesus's transmission of His will for my life. And I can trust Him. Heaven's message to me will not be corrupted or perverted when I lean on His truth, and not my own understanding. In fact, He has shown me that my understanding is sometimes wrong, and He's not afraid to correct me and discipline me. He desires to help me in my weakness, and encourage me in my strengths. He is with me when my soul is in the depth of despair, and celebrates with me when my spirit bows down in humble adoration before the throne of my God. His Presence is the life force of my faith.
But there is another aspect of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life that I have had to learn, and which I want to pass on to you to encourage you. I love those times when I am overwhelmed with His presence; experiencing evidence of His presence as it manifests physically in my body; or I hear a word in my mind that I know is Him. And I rejoice in those glorious times! These times are a reminder that, without a doubt, He is ever-present and always exists with me. But there are also those times that my soul and spirit don't sense His presence at all. In other words, I don't have any particular physical or spiritual sensation that He is with me. In simpler terms, I don't "feel" Him. And that's when I have to simply trust the promise that He will never leave me. That's when I have to decide ... "Do I believe in the promises of the Word? Are they mine, or are they just empty hope"? That's a determination each of us must come to if we are to walk in confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, I will not be tempted to doubt the Holy Spirit. And I will not limit Him to a ritualistic or denominational doctrine. I will welcome the fruit of His presence in my life -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I will ask for all He has to offer. I want to be filled up to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. I want to experience manifestations of His Presence and I won't limit displays of His power in me as I surrender to God's calling on my life. I will seek and ask for the fullness of the Spirit in my ministry and in the gifts He bestows upon me. I will be subject to the Spirit's teachings and His wisdom. And above all else, I will testify that Jesus is the Lord of my life, having been empowered to speak of His saving power through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I praise God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and I welcome Him as the means of God's gifts, signs, wonders, miracles and revelation in my life and this Age. Holy Spirit, You are welcome here!
2 Timothy 1:14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious Truth that has been entrusted to you.