Growing up in church, I learned a lot about the Trinity. The idea of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — the three in One — never struck me as odd. It simply always existed as truth for me.
With this upbringing, I learned a lot about God, mostly that he was like a grandmaster in chess and we the pieces on the board of life. Jesus became the focus at Easter and Christmas, and the Holy Spirit existed as a passing name in creeds and Scripture recitation.
Of course, we talked about all three together — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — whenever we talked about the Trinity, but most of our discussions centered around God. This is probably why I’ve never doubted God’s existence or who the Bible says he is and what it says he does.
Partly a gap in teaching. Partly me not paying attention. Probably partly a spotty memory of my childhood too. For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit never hit my spiritual radar much until my late 20s.
Holy Spirit Influence
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)
“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
When these Scripture referring specifically to the Holy Spirit finally opened up to me, I realized two important things:
- The Holy Spirit had been active in my life since salvation.
- The Holy Spirit constantly offered me more, and I failed to see it.
Now I see the Holy Spirit offering encouragement in my walk as a Christian. Even though most of my struggle is self-inflicted, he still works within me to lead, guide, and comfort.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and 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.” (John 14:16-17)
Getting Out of the Way
As I experience the Holy Spirit’s activity in my life, I want more. In that quest for more, I’ve come to realize that the way to experience lies mostly in what I need to stop doing.
“Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, AMP)
In other words, the Holy Spirit stands ready to help, advocate, comfort, and encourage, and I need to avoid hindering or quenching his work. Simply put, I must choose to be led by him.
I “quench” (i.e., stifle, extinguish, put out) the Holy Spirit’s influence in my life when I get too busy, overwhelmed, and focused on anything but God’s desires and glory. Conversely, when I quiet my life and focus on hearing from him, the flame of the Holy Spirit continually burns bright and lights my way.
Make no mistake, I do nothing to generate or create the Holy Spirit’s activity in my life, but I sure can do a lot to impact how much I notice and follow it.
Pursuing The Holy Spirit
With these realizations, pursuing a Holy Spirit-led life consistently involves two main approaches for me.
- Don’t let my life get so busy I can’t hear his voice over the noise.
- Get into Scripture daily since it’s the primary way the Holy Spirit “talks” to me.
Simplicity creates space in my life for the Holy Spirit to move. Not that he couldn’t anyway, of course, but I certainly fail to recognize his beckoning when my life gets too busy and complicated. This pursuit of simplicity has deepened my faith and drawn me closer to God through his Holy Spirit more than any other practice in my life.