THE SPIRIT OF GOD
A Summer breeze or a hurricane A storm or a tornado The wings of a dove Or pinions of an eagle He moves and God speaks
There are many ideas about spirituality, and these can become confusing. The Christian faith rests on the Truth about God, His Creation and purposes for us. The revelation of this truth is in the Bible. The Bible describes itself as the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of Truth.
Ephesians 1:13 NIV And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Ephesians 6:17 NIV Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Holy Spirit of God has several titles, one is, the Spirit of Truth.
John 14:16-17 NIV And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever— (17) the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
When someone trusts in God, believes His Word, and obeys the good news about Jesus Christ, they become a spiritual being. They are born again, born of the Spirit. This connection with Almighty God is not about human effort or ideas. It is not about human feelings and desires. It is the work of God’s Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God was the agent of God in Creation.
Genesis 1:1-3 NIV In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (3) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Spirits of rocks and trees and weather are human ideas that try to come to terms with the world around us. The ‘world’ wants to know the Holy Spirit but cannot. Human concepts of spiritual things are mixed up with superstition and fear. The work of God’s Spirit complements the work of God’s Son, Jesus.
John 16:7-8 NIV But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (8) When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.
It is not palatable for many to accept that becoming spiritual arises from understanding personal guilt and sin and that we must be judged. There is a great deal of religious fervour around but not the kind that tells us that we are sinners needing to be saved! The world has become full of religions and ideas based on the human soul trying to contact the ‘spirit world’. Examine some of them if you want. To me, many seem commendable in concern for this planet and recognising that the world of humans is out of kilter with the world of nature. Some belief systems encourage love and kindness, family values and personal sacrifice. The truth is that none of us seem able to get much success in aiming for these things. So we put the blame on everyone and everything else. We blame poverty, poor education, other people, religion, even God.
Many pray the Lord’s prayer – which includes the request:
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
If the prayer is coming from a sincere desire I will be expecting my kingdom to go and my will to be submitted to God’s will. Such a change needs a new birth and the help of God’s Spirit. This change goes beyond merely trying to live to a code or set of rules. Rather, it is discovering the power to live God’s way. Even in a broken world.
Is that true? Is the world broken? Am I broken? Part of the message God has sent to this world through the Bible, through Moses, finally and fully through the Lord Jesus, is that we are sinners. We do wrong to God and to our fellow humans. Isaiah puts it this way:
Isaiah 59:2-4 NIV But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (3) For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. (4) No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
Isaiah 64:6 NIV All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
In a world hooked on happiness, these words are not welcome. I led a youth week away in Norfolk some time ago. A teenage girl, something of a leader among her peers, kept the other girls awake in her dormitory. She kept on at this in spite of requests to let people sleep. In the end I reminded her about the importance of honouring the Lord Jesus in her behaviour. She did claim to be a Christian. My comment silenced the room. Then her voice piped up, “You have taken away my happy feeling” (something like that). Happy means having my own way in the world. It rarely means making other people happy. The focus on happiness has brought a great deal of sadness and grief to this world.
God’s Holy Spirit is ‘poured out’ in the world. He has one purpose. To bring us to the Lord Jesus Christ. He encourages repentance, He promotes faith, He brings truth.
Acts 2:32-33 NIV God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. (33) Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Peter spoke these words on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit had moved into the world in a new way. There was a hurricane and a great noise, there were tongues of fire and languages of praise. This got everyone’s attention. The actions of the Holy Spirit drew attention to Jesus and glorified Him.