Early Church fathers said that every movement of God toward us begins with the Father, comes through the Son, and is accomplished in the Holy Spirit, while every genuine movement of humans toward God originates in the Holy Spirit, and goes through the Son to the Father. So if God’s movement toward us is accomplished in the Holy Spirit, and if our genuine moves toward God originate in the Holy Spirit, then we need this Spirit! Today we learn more about the Holy Spirit, and why Jesus left the earth so the Holy Spirit could come and fill it – and us – with God’s love!
The Jews thought that the Messiah would redeem, and stick around to rule, their country – so they were confused when Jesus often talked about leaving them. Why would Jesus leave us? Because we’re actually better off with the Holy Spirit moving about the earth than with Jesus on the earth in a human body. For example, if Jesus had stayed, he’d be confined to one place on earth whereas the Spirit can live in each of us simultaneously. God wants to have a relationship with each of us, but if Jesus had stayed in human form, imagine how difficult it would be for all of us to spend any decent amount of time with him! We’d have a Jesus-honoring faith, but not a Jesus-transforming faith – it would be a religion of people trying to conform, not a gift that empowers people to be supernaturally transformed.
The Holy Spirit’s role is to be our comforter, our friend, our advocate that lives in us. The Spirit takes Jesus’ “DNA” and splices it into ours, so to speak, so that we can truly become like Jesus. That’s why Paul said in Galatians, “…my dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU…” It’s Christ that is formed in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. We look more and more like Jesus as his character becomes our character. We take on his compassion, his patience, his love, his humility… You’ll always be you, but the Holy Spirit helps you to become a Jesus-like version of you – the “you” that God created you to be.
This is a spiritual thing that we either choose to participate in or to ignore. The Holy Spirit won’t do this “to” us, we have to invite him to do it “with” us. 1 Thessalonians 5 says that we should not suppress or grieve the Holy Spirit. In other words, we have to be willing to crucify the bad parts of us so that the Holy Spirit has room to “splice in God’s DNA”. God wants us to be in loving relationship with him, others, ourselves, and all creation, but we can’t do that if we decide to hang on to the things that get in our way of experiencing all that love. We suppress and grieve the Holy Spirit when we hold on to something that hurts us or others – as well as when we try to look Godly without actually letting the Spirit transform us from the inside out. The Holy Spirit’s job is not to force us to change, it’s to help us to change as we decide that we’re ready to.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Truth means “uncovered” or “unconcealed”. So through the working of the Holy Spirit, we who are in Christ are people who don’t have anything we need to conceal from one another. This doesn’t mean that we’re instantly perfected so we no longer have struggles to report. On the contrary, it means that we’re to be people who look as messy as we really are because we no longer need to conceal our struggles and shortcomings. Where the Holy Spirit is at work, we’ll be confessing our sins to one another, encouraging one another because we sometimes need to be encouraged, and we’ll be honest about our “highs and lows” as we walk with others in obedience to Christ. In this way, even though some “lows” will still happen while we’re walking together through this world, the Holy Spirit frees and empowers us to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control every day of our lives. We’ve got our best friend living inside of us, his intention for us is entirely Godly and good, we can talk with him anytime we want, and he’ll transform us from the inside out if we’ll let him!
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