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Going Deeper—The Spirit of God (with Study Guide #11b)

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Dear Readers,

Though all members of the Trinity remain invisible, the Holy Spirit may be perceived as the most abstract. Jesus inhabited a human body for a time, and we think of Him as Shepherd, Friend, and Bridegroom, all concrete images. God is often referred to as King or Father, also images that are more tangible than Spirit.

In contrast, the Holy Spirit is like the breath, continually supplying life to every cell. He is the eternal spring from which rivers of living waters flow. He is like the wind, and no one knows where it goes. Though such metaphors do not invoke human images, the Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal “force.” As believers, we should never get over the wonder that this Spirit of God has graciously come to live in our innermost being.

The Spirit of God

spirit

By Ruth Wood and Kay Smith

The Holy Spirit is like a shy friend, the kind who avoids attention and prefers to work quietly in the background. He’s always shining the spotlight on God the Father or His Son, but it seems that when we attempt to look directly at Him, He’s hidden in shadows. Yet in this world we have no closer ally.  Proverbs 18:24b says, “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The Holy Spirit is such a friend.

Think about all the wonderful ways in which He’s our best friend:

In Commitment
The Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts means that life, eternal life, resides in the place that was formerly dead. Jesus said, “The Father . . . will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit will never leave or forsake us. His commitment is to give us life and to make sure that we possess it forever. What faithful loyalty!

In Closeness
Think about the difference between an old friend and a new friend. A new acquaintance may care very much about you, but an old friend shares your history. From the day of conception, the Holy Spirit witnessed your every moment. He relates not from cold, clinical data collected in some cosmic computer, but from intimate, personal knowledge about you. And when you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit permanently took up residence in your innermost being. You can’t get any closer than that!

In Comfort
In the following scripture we can see the compassionate and comforting heart of God the Father and God the Son. Keep in mind that as part of the trinity, the Holy Spirit is often called the Comforter, or the Advocate:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ (II Corinthians 1:3-5).

The Holy Spirit also comforts and encourages by praying for us:

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).

In Counsel
Isaiah 9:6 describes the Messiah as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Think of how the Holy Spirit ties into this scripture. You will never find

• a greater counselor/therapist
• a greater lasting power
• a greater source of peace

. . . than the One living within you.

He is the Counselor to whom you don’t even have to tell your story because He already knows it. He is the Spirit of Truth who will be frank with you as needed. He is the Helper who has the power to change you and change troubling circumstances. He is the Teacher who will “teach you all things,” and “will guide you into all truth” (John 14:26; 16:13).

As Gift
Thus, as God and as our closest friend, the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift we could ever receive. Pope John Paul II called the Holy Spirit the “Love-Gift.” St. Augustine wrote (my paraphrased translation):

Love, which is of God and is God, is particularly from the Holy Spirit. He is the One who pours the love of God into our hearts, a love in which the whole Trinity shares . . .therefore, the Holy Spirit . . . is also called the gift of God.

How has the Holy Spirit been the Love-Gift to you personally?

©2013 Ruth Wood and Kay Smith. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Published by www.Comfort-Cafe.net. Contact info: ruthywood@gmail.com

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