Misc. · Theology

Becoming Acquainted with the Spirit

 

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I’m interested in just mulling over some ideas and questions dealing with the third member of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit. Any discussion on this topic would be appreciated, because I have to be honest, the Holy Spirit has always been awe inspiring yet somewhat of an amorphous concept to me. In retrospect, in the beginning of my walk with Christ, I did not see the Holy Spirit as a “who” or a “Him,” but rather a “what” and an “it.”

 

As I have grown and learned more about Christianity, I realize that the Holy Spirit is not just a force, but has a personality, has a mind, has emotions, is one with God, and is a person within the Trinity. Not only that, through the years He has been there revealing so much to me about Christ, God the Father, and the Bible. Now I continue to pray that He would reveal to me a bit more about Himself, because I still find Him to be mysterious.

 

One way that I have personally come to a better understanding and relationship with the Spirit is reflecting on the things that He does, mainly the work that he does within us. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He influences us, He guides us, and He comforts us. Boa, in his book Conformed to His Image explains: “The ministry of the Holy Spirit is multifaceted, but three essential aspects are bearing witness to Jesus Christ, applying Christ’s redemptive work in human hearts, and working personally and progressively to form Christlikeness in the lives of believers.”[1]

 

The Spirit helps to shape us as we traverse along the road of our Christian journey. In addition, He allows us to produce spiritual fruits and also equips us with the gifts of the spirit. These gifts are meant to bring diversity to the Church body that comes together as a brilliant whole. Everyone is gifted with different talents that can be used to build one another up in Christ. This of course is if the gifts are used correctly and selflessly.

 

A question about the Holy Spirit that came up during my course work is how we should understand the difference between being filled with the Holy Spirit and having the Spirit dwell within. A professor of mine once suggested a fascinating point concerning my question. He suggested that perhaps it isn’t so much a literal “filling of” (as one would fill a pitcher by pouring water into it from the faucet) but more of a change in relationship. I agree with this to an extent. I think that the Spirit can literally dwell in us, but the concept of being filled with the Spirit seems to be based on our relationship with God.

 

It seems it is possible for Christians to have the Spirit dwell in them while not necessarily being filled with the Holy Spirit. There are several references in scripture that I think imply this. For instance Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit” (NIV). “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30, NIV). Finally, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18, NIV).

 

These pieces of scripture suggest that there is some type of internal quality we have that is capable of diminishing the presence or activity of the Spirit in our lives. Then there is also Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (NIV). I think that the fruit of the Spirit we see in our lifetime may indicate the level at which we are “filled” with the Spirit.

 

Still, I have so many questions. The concept of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is so abstract to me and very difficult for me to explain. I want to know more. The Spirit does so much and loves so deeply. He is God, He inspires scripture and prophecy, He was active in Christ’s ministry, He comforts, He empowers, He bestows gifts, etc. I simply would like to learn more.

 

If anyone has any experiences they’d like to share with their personal relationship with the Holy Spirit I would love to hear them. Also, any ideas of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit vs. having the spirit dwell within would also be interesting to me.

 

 

 

 

[1] Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 292.

 

 

Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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15 thoughts on “Becoming Acquainted with the Spirit

  1. “it isn’t so much a literal “filling of” (as one would fill a pitcher by pouring water into it from the faucet) but more of a change in relationship… I think that the Spirit can literally dwell in us, but the concept of being filled with the Spirit seems to be based on our relationship with God.”

    I love this distinction your professor made, and your development of the thought. Because I think it is urgently important that people accept the truth that they are indwelt by the Spirit of God as a starting place – without requiring a 40-day fast or an immediate manifestation of all nine of the fruits. Our relationship with the Spirit is a work in progress. But it is based on the fact that God, by giving us this Spirit, has in a sense already given us ‘everything.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great thoughts. I agree, God has given us everything we need by giving us His spirit, and that our relationship with the Spirit is a work in progress. Thanks for reading and offering insight. It is greatly appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you’ve opened this up for discussion and I love your concept about who and what the Holy Spirit is. I agree that the Spirit is a being that dwells within us, once we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. The relationship and place of the Spirit in our lives is absolutely based on our willingness to listen, learn and grow with Him just as we do with our earthly relationships. Think of a Husband and Wife, they meet and begin to spend time together, they grow in relationship and closeness so much so that they can recognize one another’s voice in a crowd, they know what the other like’s and doesn’t. When we build a relationship with God we are building a relationship with the entire Trinity, thus being filled with the Spirit. I have not written about my personal experience with the Holy Spirit, but I personally have gone through very obvious stages of development in my relationship with Christ and can first hand tell you that it’s a relationship that takes work but over time you realize that Faith is the most important part to having a strong relationship. There will always be things that we, this side of Heaven, can’t fully grasp regardless of how well it is explained, and for me personally, that is totally okay 😀 Great blog post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and thank you also for the thoughtful feedback.I love your analogy about the husband and wife. I totally agree that building a relationship with God takes time, effort, a willingness to listen, and of course faith. I often sit and ponder what stage I am at in my Christian growth and my relationship with Christ. The Christian journey certainly is an adventure. 🙂 Have a wonderful day.

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  3. Thanks for your post, it’s always good to get different perspectives and opinions. My personal belief on this is that when we become Christian (Give our lives to Christ) we receive the Holy Spirit but there is a distinction between receiving the Spirit at conversion and being baptized in the Spirit. As you read through the book of Acts it is evident that people came to faith in Christ but didn’t “receive” the Spirit in the sense of a baptism in the Spirit evidenced by Spiritual Gifts and various manifestations of the Spirit in peoples lives. I definitely believe you grow in your walk with the Spirit through submission of your life to Him but in Scripture, specifically the book of Acts there is a distinction clearly made between being a follower and “receiving”, “being baptized with” the Spirit. As the Apostles ministered to different people groups (Some of them already followers) they knew they received the Spirit just like they themselves had because of the manifestation of the Spirit in their lives. This “receiving” or “being baptized” in the Spirit was done through preaching/teaching and laying on of hands. Just my 2 Cents!

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    1. Your 2 cents has been very valuable. Great thoughts here, and you do a great job backing up those thoughts with examples from scripture. Acts is actually one of my favorite books in the Bible, I believe you are right, much that we see happening with the disciples suggests that receiving the Spirit upon conversion and being baptized in the Spirit are different.

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  4. K Marie, We thank you for sharing your thoughts, and praising the Lord for you, as one so young, for giving you the desire to know and to write about what He is teaching you. Considering that all things are a matter of interpretation, I offer two things. After almost eight decades, and still searching and learning by the power of HIs Holy Spirit and through His Word, I wrote four articles on this subject, relating to our topic of Contentment. The Spirit of Contentment https://godsgracegodsglory.com/2017/02/22/the-spirit-of-contentment/ was the preface, followed by three parts (links follow each article).
    Recently I have studied a book from an author from the 1700s which Andrew Murray often quoted, and wrote the introduction to the ebook (.99) found at this link.

    I pray the Spirit of Christ to lead you, and many blessings as you continue to seek HIs kingdom and His righteousness for your life and for others. You have no idea how much your writing may influence others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just completed a study with teens last year called, ‘The Transferable Cross Training,’ where it touches on the essentials, apologetics, and leadership. This was a great study by the way! In the essentials book, it covers (among many things) The Holy Spirit. What an important thing to talk to another believer about! Anyway, what the author said was that there is a difference in being sealed with Holy Spirit when your are converted and then filled with the Holy Spirit which is progressive thing based on our obedience and willingness to strengthen our relationship with The Lord. Being filled with the Holy Spirit was based on following HIS will (Ephesians 5:17-18 Acts 2:4, 4:8, 31, 4:29-31, 13:9). He did mention that being sealed with the Holy Spirit was also being baptized by the Holy Spirit, both occurring at the time of conversion. (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 4:30, Ephesians 1:13-14). Hope that helps! I had never even thought of these things in distinction honestly, but it was great that the difference was made and that I could address it with the kids:-) God bless and keep blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! You have put into words something that I’ve been feeling… but haven’t quite been able to articulate – that the Spirit can be within Christians, but not necessarily fill them. I think that is a very good point, and one that makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you!

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  7. When I pick something up I use my hand, when I need to say something I use my mouth, when I need to listen I use my ears.

    This is how God works, when he needs to save us, he gives us the blood of Jesus. When he needs to guide us, he uses the Holy Spirit. When he needs to cast a mountain into the see, he uses the almighty power that was used to create us.

    All of these things are like parts of his body that he uses at the appropriate moments in a life changing way!

    Have a powerful day

    Breakthrough Futures

    Liked by 1 person

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