When I was a young believer, the Holy Spirit confused me. Certain denominations talk about Him only rarely, if at all. Others present Him as almost superior to God and Jesus in His role. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned more about this third Person of the divine Trinity and His unique role in our walk with the Lord.
We should first note that Holy Spirit—I now call Him by His proper name (without “the”), just as I would God or Jesus—is one with God and Jesus. They are one God, but three unique Persons who each fulfill different roles. Holy Spirit is simply the spirit, or essence of God Himself. He is not separate from God, but simply a different manifestation of His character.
So what does Holy Spirit do? His role is absolutely essential to us as believers in Christ. It is Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to us when He ascended to heaven (Acts 2) to fulfill His promise to send a Helper (John 14). Without Jesus’ physical presence, early Christians would have been on their own in this new way of life (and so would we!). But God saw fit to send His very Person, indwelling each of us, to give us the strength to resist temptation and pursue holiness.
Below are four things Holy Spirit does for you as a believer.
1. Holy Spirit comforts 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 that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
When you are discouraged, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed, Holy Spirit is your comforter. He is the One who reveals the presence of God in difficult times. Even when circumstances are beyond our control, Holy Spirit brings us the peace of God, teaching us how to persevere and reminding us of God’s goodness, love and wisdom.
2. Holy Spirit counsels you.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
Holy Spirit gives you guidance in all your decisions. When you lack peace about something, it’s usually Holy Spirit counseling you to seek God before moving forward! As you listen for His voice and learn to live each day according to His guidance, His voice becomes more and more recognizable.
How do you know if what you are hearing is the Spirit? What you hear will never contradict the word of God. Since Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word, nothing He guides you to do will contradict what is written in the Bible.
3. Holy Spirit convicts you.
I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-15)
When you sin, the voice of conviction is Holy Spirit. It’s important to note that Holy Spirit brings conviction—but He does not bring guilt. Conviction is recognition of your sin which, when properly dealt with, leads to repentance. Guilt is different. Guilt will trap you in shame and defeat, telling you not to come to Christ until you’ve “cleaned up your act.” Don’t listen to it! Follow the voice of conviction, repent of your sin and let God welcome you home to newness of life.
4. Holy Spirit transforms you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Finally, Holy Spirit is the one who transforms your character. It is His work in you that makes you loving, kind and gracious. The “fruit” of the Spirit only grows when you are connected to Him, talking to Him, listening for His voice and letting Him grow those seeds of virtue in you. You can’t grow them on your own!
By understanding who the Spirit is and what He is doing, we can better embrace His work. Regardless of how you have seen Holy Spirit described (or even misrepresented) in the past, He is residing in you as a believer! Learn to know Him, to love Him and to allow His transforming work to lead you further into God’s Will.