Finding Faith: Six ways the Holy Spirit transforms our lives
The Holy Spirit gives believers the power to live like Jesus and be bold witnesses for Him. Of course, there are many ways He goes about doing this, so we’re going to look at the most common ones.
Jesus said in John 16:7 that it was to our benefit that He would go away so we would receive the Holy Spirit: “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.”
If Jesus said it is best for us that He goes away, then it must be because there is something valuable about what the Holy Spirit was coming to do. Here is one instance in Acts 1:8 that gives us strong clues: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
From this Scripture, we can gather the foundational concept of what the Holy Spirit does in the life of a Christian. He sends us out as witnesses and gives us the power to do it effectively. We’re going to find out more what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of Christians, so let’s dive in!
How does the Holy Spirit work?
There are many ways that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians, but they all share one common goal: to make us more like Jesus Christ. He works in believers by renewing our minds to be like the mind of Christ. He does this by convicting us of sin and leading us to repentance.
Through repentance, He wipes out what was dirty in us and allows us to bear good fruit. As we allow Him to continue nourishing that fruit, we grow to resemble Jesus more as Galatians 5:22-23 informs us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Holy Spirit also works in us through the word of God. He uses the power of Scripture to convict us and influence our way of thinking. He does this to shape us into godly people. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
As we build a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit, He will also pull us away from things we have in our lives that don’t please Him. The point is, when He is at work in your life, it’s evident all around you.
1. The Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ
We already know the goal of the Holy Spirit’s work is to make us more like Jesus, but how does he do this? It’s a process known as sanctification. And no, it’s not as complicated as it appears!
Sanctification is the process of the Holy Spirit stripping away our sinful habits and bringing us into holiness. Think of it like peeling back an onion. There are layers. The Holy Spirit works in us by peeling away our sinful characteristics and replacing them with godly characteristics. His work in us makes us more and more like Jesus.
2. The Holy Spirit gives us power to witness
Just as Acts 1:8 mentions, the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. He gives us the boldness to testify of the Lord Jesus Christ in situations where we would normally be fearful or timid. 2 Timothy 1:7 encourages us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
The power that the Holy Spirit gives us is something that reflects in the natural as well as the supernatural. He gives us power, love, and self-discipline. Power can be many things backed up by the Holy Spirit, such as boldness to preach the gospel and power to perform healing miracles. Love given by the Holy Spirit is obvious when we have the heart to love others the way Jesus would. The self-discipline that is given by the Holy Spirit allows a person to follow through on God’s will and have wisdom throughout life.
3. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth
One beautiful title that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit is “the spirit of truth.” Take John 16:13 for example: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”
What Jesus is telling us here is that when we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, He will guide us in the direction we need to go. The Holy Spirit will not leave us in confusion but will reveal the truth to us. He illuminates the dark areas of our lives to give us a clear vision of God’s purpose for us as indicated by 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints.”
Needless to say, the Holy Spirit is our leader and those who follow Him are His sons and daughters. Romans 8:14-16 says “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful as slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.”
4. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin
Since the Holy Spirit is working to make us like Jesus, he convicts us of our sin. Sin is something that will always offend God and hold us back. If we have sin, which we do, He will bring those sins to our attention.
I will echo this statement: “conviction is your best friend.” If we stop feeling conviction, then we have bigger problems. As John 16:8 says, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
The conviction also comes before the sin happens. The Holy Spirit will start to tap on your heart once temptation comes. It is our responsibility to respond to that conviction. Temptation in itself is not a sin. Jesus was tempted and did not sin. Giving in to temptation is what brings sin. The Holy Spirit will nudge your heart before you make the move. Listen to Him.
5. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s word to us
When Jesus walked on this Earth, He taught everywhere he went. Since He is not here physically, the Holy Spirit has now taken that role. He does it by revealing God’s word to us through the Bible.
The Bible itself is complete and trustworthy, but impossible to understand without the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
The Holy Spirit teaches and reveals the meaning of Scripture to Christians the way Jesus would. John 14:26 reminds us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
6. The Holy Spirit brings us closer to other believers
The unity brought by the Holy Spirit is revealed in Acts 4:32 where it says: “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” The book of Acts describes the early church after receiving the Holy Spirit. It was the very Holy Spirit of God that brought about this kind of unity. This is the unity we need in the body of Christ today.
If we draw near to the Holy Spirit. He will place love in our hearts for our brothers and sisters and we will be compelled to unite. Ever heard the saying “There’s power in numbers”? The Holy Spirit knows this and looks to bring about that power in the church. We as Christians need to dedicate more time to understand the biblical scriptures about unity and apply them in our everyday lives.
Seek to know the Holy Spirit more fully
As we learned about what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of believers, my prayer is that your heart will be open to Him. Take what you have learned and share it with a friend and help them realize they need more of the Holy Spirit. We can always use more of Him. As you get to know the Holy Spirit more explore His other characteristics and learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Don Grant of Hillview Wesleyan Church, Flemington.