Monday, May 11, 2015

The Work of the Holy Spirit

(the following is a section I recently wrote for a short article on the Holy Spirit for the Brethren Church publication, the Evangelist.  My writing partner started her section on the nature of the Holy Spirit and I picked up here...)

Transitioning into the work of the Holy Spirit flows naturally from the nature of the Holy Spirit. This is true in our own lives, right?  Who we are determines the way we act, the work we do, the means in which we approach others.  Likewise the Holy Spirit, being an entity of God Almighty, acts in accordance with the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ the son. 

Though there are a multitude of characteristics of the Spirit, I want to hone in on just a few for this brief article.  Let’s start with what the Lord tells us the Holy Spirit is here for.  Jesus tells us that “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to You” (John 14:26 NRSV).  So in this way the Spirit acts as our teacher.  You know those little nudges of direction you feel from time to time?  That is likely the Advocate teaching you, reminding you, and guiding you in the times you are uncertain.

It makes sense that since Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), God gives us the Holy Spirit to teach us what that means.  He even states that the Advocate is “the Spirit of truth” who abides in us (John 14:17).  Truth is given to those who believe through the power of the living God working through us.  What an incredible concept! 

This empowerment is exceptionally evident in Acts 4 with the story of Peter and John, two men who were arrested because they healed and taught in Jesus’ name.  This is a great story to learn about the Spirit’s characteristics as healer and equipper.  I find it inspiring that “they were uneducated and ordinary men” (v.13) who became instruments for incredible power.  Through this act of the Holy Spirit they became bold and authoritative, ultimately revealing God’s mercy to those who witnessed.  The power of the Lord is not bottled up in those with PhDs or DMins or clergy living a particularly holy life.  Rather, the Advocate abides in us, equipping us to live more Christ-like. 

The nature of the Holy Spirit involves many attributes because it is a part of the Creator of the Universe who holds all attributes.  This may seem overwhelming, but I think it is important to acknowledge that the same power that raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:44), the same revealer that told Simeon he would not die until he had seen the Messiah (Luke 2:26), the same teacher that gave truth and understanding to the disciples (John 12:16), the same comforter Jesus gave the disciples (John 14:26), the same healer that gave sight to the blind (Mark 8:25), the same equipper who gave Peter and John boldness (Acts 4:8) is still just as active with and in all believers today and always.