The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,
but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;
so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
– John 3:8
This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your Holy Presence, living in me.
Sunday morning arrives in fine form. I’m in fine form, too. Dressed in my best Sunday clothes, I negotiate the thirty-minute drive to church with my favorite Christian band belting out “I’m awake, I’m alive” over the car speakers.
I slip into my usual spot near the back of the church and am soon joined by dear friends. The worship team begins to play and my heart leaps to the music. Joy infuses me as I give myself to join the voices raised to our Creator. Soon, the pastor challenges the congregation with a message from the Bible. I can feel God moving my heart in renewal. I know the Holy Spirit is there.
It wasn’t long ago I was in a different place as events beyond my control sucked the life out of me. I was frustrated and took it out on those around me. I wasn’t feeling holy or calm or civil. I longed for the comfort of the Spirit, but I couldn’t feel Him near.
Had I angered Him and made Him leave me? Was He powerless, busy, or uninterested? Or had He just deserted me?
Who Is the Holy Stranger Who Lives in Us?
The Holy Spirit is probably the least understood of that Godhead we call the Trinity. Sometimes He is referred to as a force, a fad, or an “it.” And yet the Scriptures reveal a wealth of information about Him.
The Greek term for the Spirit of God is pneuma, or “breath.” He is, however, anything but a mere stirring of air. The Bible describes Him as a powerful and pure personality. Within these verses, we discover this about Him:
- He is a real person, referred to by such pronouns as “He,” “Whom,” and “Who.”
Luke 4:18; John 7:39; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 5:3; Ephesians 1:13-14
- He is the vital third Person of the Triune God.
Matthew 12:31-32; 28:19; Mark 3:29; Acts 5:3,4; 1 Corinthians 2:11
- He is eternal and glorious.
Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 4:14
- He speaks to and through mankind.
Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11; John 16:13; Acts 4:25; 13:2; 20:23; 21:11; 28:25; Hebrews 3:7; 10:15; Revelation 2:7
- He is the Lifegiver.
Matthew 1:18; John 3:8; Romans 8:11
- He is our helper and teacher.
John 14:26; 15:26; Hebrews 9:8
- He can be grieved.
The Holy Spirit is not a thing. He is someone who can speak, be lied to, is grieved. He feels deep pain, great joy, and intense concern for us. He loves us enough to live with our mercurial human emotions. He cares enough to stay with us through the hopeless nights. He is sealed in His believers – for better or for worse.
What kind of a God leaves a throne to live in a clay house? What does He hope to accomplish by being here on earth?
Next Tuesday: What’s He Here For?
photo courtesy Erik Thorson/copyright 2013