How to Know the Holy Spirit
Many times, as humans, we are searching for things to fill the voids in life that can only be found in the person of the Holy Spirit. If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit—who is the maker of galaxies and the universe—lives inside of you.
Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person of the Triune Godhead, often being reduced to an experience, tongues, or a flame. In all actuality, the Holy Spirit is a person who desires to have an authentic and intimate relationship with you.
The Story of the Lame Man
There is a story in the book of Acts about a lame man who was carried daily to the temple gate. Those who carried him never actually took him inside the temple, but rather laid him at the gate where he begged for money. Although he had legs, he could not use them; and although he was at the temple’s gate, he did not go inside to worship God. Instead, he begged.
And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple.Acts 3:2
With the exception of genetic disorders, humans are normally born with their two legs–free of charge and in perfect condition. However, you are not born walking just because you have legs, that is something that is taught in the months following your birth. The man at the gate unfortunately had a physical infirmity that prevented him from using his legs; he couldn’t learn to walk even if he wanted to.
Similarly, when someone is saved, they receive the Holy Spirit upon salvation. God automatically gives you the Holy Spirit in the package when you cry out for God to save you. Contrary to what many believe, the Holy Spirit initially comes into your life when you surrender to Jesus Christ, not when you receive the gift of tongues.
But being saved and having the Holy Spirit does not mean that you are walking in the Holy Spirit. These two are different and it’s something that many Christians don’t learn how to do. This is similar to the lame man who had legs but did not use them. Walking in the Holy Spirit means knowing and living with Him by building a close, one-on-one relationship with Him.
Three Characteristics of Christians who have the Holy Spirit, but do not have intimacy with Him:
1. They don’t invite people to church because they need someone to bring them!
Someone who does not have intimacy with the Holy Spirit will have a hard time attending church on a regular basis. Like the lame man, they most likely need to be carried to church and often attend because they have an alternative motive. They need to be reminded, bribed, or even lured into going to church. Because they have a difficult time going on their own, they never invite anybody to come to church with them either.
2. Someone whose body is in the pew but their mind is at the gate.
Without intimacy with the Holy Spirit, it’s easy for the mind to become distracted at church. Their thoughts will wander everywhere else—from social media to football—while they sit in church. They often blame the preacher saying that he’s too boring to pay attention to, while the person sitting beside them on the same bench is getting blessed and inspired.
Instead of your legs carrying you, you just carry them around. In the same manner, instead of Holy Spirit carrying you, you just carry Him. You are not walking in Him.
3. Someone who begs God for things that are always secondary.
Your prayer requests show where your relationship with the Holy Spirit stands.
After the man’s leg started working, he went inside the temple, leaping and praising God for his healing. This shows us that the thing he really needed most in His life was not money, which he was begging for. What Peter gave him that day was much more valuable—the activation of the legs which he already had but couldn’t use.
Every Christian can have is a friendship with the Holy Spirit.
What you already have as a Christian is the Holy Spirit, who is a bottomless well of spiritual treasure, life, light, and love. He is more important than a relationship, a car, followers on Instagram, physical looks, getting friends, or even schooling. The Holy Spirit is the solution for everything and He is everything we need. Without Him, our lives are focused only on secondary things, which although they may be important, are not the most important thing. The greatest need that we have as Christians is not just to have the Holy Spirit but to develop a friendship with Him. When you discover this relationship and intimacy, He will begin to work out the things that you used to wish could happen.
3 Tips to Activate Your Relationship With the Holy Spirit:
1. You cannot have a relationship with the Holy Spirit if you do not see Him as a person.
If you want a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you cannot view Him as only being a power, a force, a dove, tongues, fire, oil, or even the experience of shaking, and crying. The Holy Spirit may manifest Himself in those ways, but He is a person and desires to be your friend.
Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not tongues. Many people receive the gift of tongues but choose to continue living in sin or indifferent to the Holy Spirit instead of learning to walk with Him as a result of that gift. He is a person and is so much more than the gifts that He gives.
It is easy to associate God the Father with earthly dads and Jesus with actors who give us an idea of what He could have been like. But when we think of the Holy Spirit, we have a difficult time defining Him in our minds because He has no body. Why does Holy Spirit not have a body? Because He chose to live in yours! The Holy Spirit is no less of a person than Jesus just because He does not have a Jewish body!
Why does the Holy Spirit have no body? Because He chose to live in yours!
Not only does the Holy Spirit talk, instruct, guide, teach, correct, and convict, but He also fellowships with us. The Father and Jesus are in heaven, while the Holy Spirit is here on earth with us. Just as you chat with friends, your kids, your family, and your spouse, you should not go a day without fellowshipping with Him. Talk to Him and allow Him to talk to you; you will begin to feel a closeness and sense of unity with Him.
In marriage, wives desire intimacy from their husbands. Although having a house, a car, and money are great, intimacy is what she truly wants and needs. Without your attention and affection, she will feel alienated from you even if you do share all of these material things with her.
Likewise, you can have Holy Spirit right inside of you but feel like He’s miles away just because your attention and affection are not there. The Holy Spirit waits to be wanted. He longs for your affection. The reality is we may think we enjoy God’s presence in our lives, but the Holy Spirit enjoys our presence even more than we can ever enjoy His. Our love for God is so small compared to how much God loves us even on our worst days.
Intimacy with the Holy Spirit begins when you realize He is not an “It,” not a “force,” but a real person.
Intimacy with the Holy Spirit begins when we realize He is a person.
2. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit won’t go further than our obedience to His voice.
When we are led by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus was, we begin to see His supernatural power at work in our lives. This doesn’t happen without living a life of full obedience to Him. Your obedience determines how high your relationship goes. If He is leading you to cut some things out of your life or to forgive someone, don’t ignore your conscience and fast instead. This is what King Saul did when he tried to rectify his disobedience with sacrifices. Sacrifices do not increase your relationship – obedience does.
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit after He was filled with Holy Spirit.
Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. He left the Jordan River, and the Spirit led Him into the desert for forty days.Luke 4:1
Instead of focusing on the leading of the Holy Spirit, you should focus on being filled with Holy Spirit. Whatever you are filled with will lead your life. Don’t focus on hearing God; instead, fill yourself with Him and you will start thinking like God and walk under His guidance.
That often leads to the question:
How do you get filled with Holy Spirit?
The Bible tells us to be actively filled with the Holy Spirit (Greek: be being filled continually), not to wait for Him to come around and fill us. This means that we need to make an effort daily to fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit and not just wait for a special moment at church or in a prayer group. We are told to not be drunk (under the influence) with wine but controlled by Him.
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.Ephesians 5:18
How do folks get drunk in this world? People only get drunk when they buy alcohol and choose to drink it. If they sit there and ask the bottle to get them drunk, nothing happens; if they sit there looking at the bottle, nothing happens. They must make the decision to drink.
In a similar manner, our pastors and worship leaders do their best, but it is up to the individual to open their mouth and drink in the Spirit to be filled. You cannot keep your mouth closed in church and be filled; allow Him to pour into you through worship, prayer, and participation. Don’t just go to church to be a spectator and watch others; open your mouth and drink from the Spirit. Open your mouth and let praises and worship flow out.
When you don’t feel like doing that is when you really need to fill yourself with Holy Spirit. As you get filled, you’ll sincerely want to worship and participate. Christians often won’t get filled with the Holy Spirit often because they fill themselves with other things like social media, TV, pleasures, and food instead. Sad to say, we crave distractions of this world because there is a void in our lives that only Holy Spirit can fill.
You will begin to feel Him leading you only after you are filled. You may then start getting ideas as to how to bless someone, invite someone to church, open up a conversation, give something away, or receive words of knowledge. The Holy Spirit always leads a “filled” person, not an empty person. An empty person is bait for the devil, but a “filled” person is a blessing used by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit always leads a person who is full of His Spirit.
It shouldn’t be our primary desire to seek prophetic words or gifts of healing, but to be filled with Him. When you are filled, you will find whatever you need in the Holy Spirit. He will lead you as a result of a life full of Him. Filling yourself with the Holy Spirit is not what He does, but it is you choosing to worship, pray, press in, and honor God. Then, He will come upon your life and bless you because you’re being a blessing to others.
3. Your relationship with the Holy Spirit won’t go further than your willingness to trust His Word.
You will go further if you stand on God’s word. The Holy Spirit will take you to places that only the Holy Scriptures can get you through. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to fast. You will know it is the Holy Spirit leading you to do things when it costs you your pride, selfishness, and ego.
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for a 40 day fast. When it got tough and Jesus was tempted, He did not wait for another infilling of the Spirit; instead, He took the Word and spoke it. When you cannot feel the Holy Spirit in your wilderness, you will find Him in the Word. You will never find Him in your emotions, which create confusion, doubt, and fear.
When you cannot feel the Holy Spirit in your wilderness, you will find Him in the Word.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:17
Ephesians teaches us that on the evil day, get the sword of the Spirit and use it because that’s how He’ll manifest His power and presence in His Word. Sometimes you won’t find the Holy Spirit in worship, but when you begin to stand on His Word and the Truth, His power and anointing will flow in and through you. He will provide the endurance you need to get through the wilderness.
You will come out of your wilderness as an overcomer, defeating the devil with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Joseph was in an empty pit. Lazarus and Jesus were in their tombs. Paul and Silas were in a prison. All of them suffered hardships. But, if the Holy Spirit is with you, you will not stay imprisoned forever. If you are faithful to Him in your wilderness, He will shift you out into a season of refreshment.
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