A Spiritual Gap
The church I attended from birth to age 18 talked a lot about the Holy Trinity with most of the focus being on God. We also tossed around Jesus’ name some but mostly just at Christmas and Easter. We really talked very little about the Holy Spirit and then only as the name for the third part to the Trinity.
My lack of early learning about the Holy Spirit resulted partly from a gap in the teaching received and partly from me not paying attention. Misremembering likely plays a role too. For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit simply was not only my spiritual radar until my late 20s.
When I discovered what Scripture said about the Holy Spirit, though, the embers were stirred, the flame flickered, and I realized two things:
- The Holy Spirit had been active throughout my life. In fact, we’re filled with the Holy Spirit at salvation (1 Corinthians 12:13: Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14). I could actually look back and point to His activity throughout the years.
- I missed out on what the Holy Spirit offers largely because of my own ignorant resistance.
Holy Spirit Offerings
“And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever… you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17, AMP)
For the first three-quarters of my life, the Holy Spirit seemed like this mystical, otherworld being. We called him the Holy Ghost, and he really did seem like a ghostly sort of figure to me. Certainly out of reach and definitely not a comforter, advocate, intercessor, counselor or strengthener.
When I discovered the Holy Spirit’s role and looked back on my life and saw Him fulfilling that role even when I didn’t look to him, I wondered what role he might have in my life if I were to deliberately look for and seek him.
More of the Holy Spirit
“Do not quench [subdue or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
The Holy Spirit is always ready to comfort, advocate, intercede, counsel, and strengthen, and I need to not push that help away or get in his way. I simply must choose to walk according to the Spirit’s leading.
Personally, I “subdue” (other versions use “quench,” “stifle,” and “extinguish”) the Holy Spirit when I get too busy, become overwhelmed or put my focus anywhere but on God. Conversely, when I purpose to spend regular time with him through studying the Bible, spending time in his creation and fellowshipping with other Christians, I more clearly and more often “hear” the Holy Spirit.
So, pursuing encouragement through the Holy Spirit involves making God a priority every day. It involves not letting my life get so busy I can’t hear or don’t recognize his promptings amidst all the other noise. It also involves trusting Scripture and relying upon it as the guide for my life and the main tool the Holy Spirit uses to interact with me.