by Stephanie Olson, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
I will never forget, after one of our full community events, I received a phone call from a woman who attended. She shared how much she loved the day and how life-changing it was, and then she said something that made my jaw drop. She said, "I heard you talk about Jesus, I heard you talk about the Father, but I never heard you talk about the Holy Spirit. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?"
Whoa! I was stunned. I thought, Of course I believe in the Holy Spirit. He's the One who gives me the ability to even function in a modicum of godliness. But, as I reflected on her statement, I realized that, yes, I talk about Jesus a lot. It's all about Jesus and His saving grace; however, we wouldn't have any of that without the Holy Spirit. And perhaps I haven't given Him quite the "credit" He deserves.
I grew up in a church early on in my Christian walk that talked about the power of the Holy Spirit, a church that understood Who He is, and a church that recognized that without Him moving through us we would be nothing. And yet, perhaps at times I forget about Him and the fact that He is a person, not a ghost, but a person in the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity with a very distinct personhood, is all throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis 1:1-2 (the very first book of the Bible), He has a starring role: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
The Spirit of God! That's Him. And in Revelation 22:17 (the very last book of the Bible), we see Him again: "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." Amen!
Of course, He is everywhere in between as well. But what is the job of the Holy Spirit? What does He do?
He is our Helper and Comforter
When Jesus is preparing to die and be resurrected, He tells us, "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 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 things that I said to you."
That word for Helper in the Greek (also called a Comforter) is the word paraklētos, or the English variation: paraclete. A paraclete is an advocate, or (I love this one) someone who pleads another's cause before a judge. That's what the Holy Spirit does for us!
He is our Guide
Jesus says in John 16:13, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
The word for guide is hodēgeō, which means to be a teacher and to lead one's way. He leads us in His Truth!
He is our Standard
The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin. Now, I have to say, there is a bit of controversy on this. Some say the Holy Spirit only convicts the world, not believers. But, I'm definitely not in that camp.
Jesus says in John 16:8, "And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."
Yes, He will convict the world; however, we see in Ephesians that believers can grieve the Holy Spirit: "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Eph. 4:30)
And we're told this in Hebrews: "And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.'"
I, for one, am grateful that the Holy Spirit gives me a standard and works with me to follow it.
He is our Intercessor
We're told in Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
He goes to the Father on our behalf when we have no idea how or what to pray. He is our strength when we are at our weakest!
He gives us Freedom
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor. 3:17)
The Holy Spirit is who indwells us and makes us whole. He is the One who gives us power and strength. He gives us the boldness to speak His words to speak when we are afraid. He is our Comforter! Thank you, Holy Spirit! You are not forgotten in my book!