Do I have the Holy Spirit in me?
Many of us always question and ask ourselves, “Do I have the Holy Spirit in me?” This is a wrong question to ask. Why? The moment we are baptized and confirmed as Christians we are given the Holy Spirit. No one is a Christian unless the Holy Spirit is in him. As St Paul says, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9 NKJV)and “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19 TEV) Jesus assures us that, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever . . . you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 NIV).So, if we are Christians the Holy Spirit is in us and He dwells within us. That is certain! Wherever we are, He is! We have to trust God’s promises in the Bible. We have to believe and accept that and proceed from there. When we recognize and know that the Holy Spirit is in us, it will make a difference to us and to the way we relate to those we are in contact with. It will change our attitude and our perspective of looking at things.
The right question to ask, then, is “Do I listen to the Holy Spirit?” And how do I listen to the Holy Spirit? How does the Holy Spirit of God manifest Himself to us? When we come to God in prayer and listen, we will find, in the stillness of our hearts His presence, His prompting, His direction, His guidance, His leading and His influence, and all that He does in us and to us and upon us. Don’t ignore them or brush them aside, as that will grieve Him.
We know that the work of the Holy Spirit is to purify us and that Jesus came into the world not only to save us but to purify us to be good and to do good works. When we do good works is it for our own glory or is it for the glory of God?Sure, we can do good works for our own glory extremely well. But if we aren’t good, can we be effective to do good works for the glory of God? St Paul reminds us that, “。 。 。in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 TEV) and “Who gave himself for us . . . and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 NKJV). Jesus died on the cross not only that we might be forgiven but more importantly to make us good. There is a hymn which puts it well:
He died that we might be forgiven;
He died to make us good.
Cecil Frances Alexander
One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is “goodness” (Galatians 5:22 TEV) and it is the Holy Spirit who prompts us, who leads us, who creates the desire within us to be good. How does He do it? How does He get us to be good? For example, at odd moments, we suddenly find ourselves desiring to read the Bible: then that shows the Spirit is at work! The Holy Spirit will stimulate us perhaps to prayer, or to meditation. He will tell us to leave something, and to do something else; it is all the Spirit, it is all a part of His great work in our purification. If we do not follow His leading, or if we try to thwart it, or if we try to postpone it, it grieves Him. Not to respond, or to postpone, or to say, “Well, I cannot do that now, I am doing something else; or to fail to give ourselves and to be led by Him. These are the ways in which we grieve Him. Similarly, we feel grieved when our children refuse to listen to us or ignore our advice.
Another example; we can claim that we are born with a hot temper, but the Holy Spirit will prompt us to control it and we must respond to control it. We are given the strength and power to do this, but we have to gear ourselves to do it. Don’t ignore it. No one can do it for us. We must be willing and make the effort of doing it for the Holy Spirit to enable us to achieve it. The same can be said about our impatience, our selfishness, our pride, our envy, our greed, etc where the Holy Spirit will prompt us to take ourselves in hand and develop the Christian characteristics of patience, self-giving, humility, kindness, gentleness, generosity, civility and love. We have to practise these character traits day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. We can start well in the morning, then something happens; and at that moment we must watch and remember to respond in accordance with that particular Christian trait. The more we persevere in developing the Christian character, the more we are unlikely to fail at odd moments. But this development of the Christian character is never on our own effort alone. We go to the Holy Spirit for help and we rely on His strength and power constantly to carry us through all the time.
Thus, how do we ensure that the Holy Spirit does not withdraw Himself from us？How do we get the Holy Spirit to dwell richly in us? We start by reading the Word of Christ, by meditating upon it, dwelling upon it; talking to ourselves about it and by talking to other people about it. We must immerse and soak ourselves in it, for we can never read it too much. The more we read it, the more it will be in us. The more the Word of Christ is in us, the more we will not want to grieve the Holy Spirit in our words, our actions and our thoughts.
St Paul says “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 NKJV) So God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit himself is the seal. And He seals unto us the gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit never abandons the child of God; the seal is a seal, and a seal is no seal which can be broken at any moment and then put back again and then broken again. We do not go in and out of salvation; we are not saved today and lost tomorrow and then saved again. That is not biblical teaching. A seal is a seal, it is God’s seal, and no man can break it. Jesus assures us that, “I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 TEV) and “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 NKJV).
So, when we grieve the Holy Spirit, He withdraws His manifestations. Does that mean that He has abandoned us? No. Definitely not! It does not mean He goes out of us. He is still in us and is there the whole time. He has just withdrawn His gracious manifestations, and He will convict us of our wrong doings. He will make us feel we were never saved, that we are lost, that we are damned and reprobate; He will do it in order to bring us back again to where we ought to be. He will make us feel helpless and hopeless. And then, when we confess our wrong doings, He will again reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to us as our Saviour who died for us and who still loves us, and He will wash away our sin again and He will smile upon us once more, and He will restore unto us the joy of salvation. As St John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV). Therefore, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. He is in us and He will have us, and He will bring us to that glory of perfection; and if we will not be led by Him, we can expect that He will chastise us! “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV). So, if we do not want to know these mighty strivings and convictions of sins by the Spirit within us, do not grieve Him. If we do, we will bring upon ourselves painful experiences and agonies of soul that we need never have had.
What are we to do then? Simply remember that the Holy Spirit is always in us. Start our day by saying, I am a child of God, and therefore the Holy Spirit of God dwells within me. Wherever I may be, whatever I may have to do, whatever may happen to me, He will be with me; my every thought, word and deed will be in His sight and in His presence. Thank God for the privilege of having the Holy Spirit in us! How careful I should be not to grieve Him or disappoint Him! Remember Him, remember what He is doing in us and then the things that grieve Him would become foreign to us. Think of the glory for which He is preparing us and do listen attentively to the Holy Spirit that is within us.