What (or Who) is the Holy Spirit?

by Mandy Johnson on September 22, 2020

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his followers that it's better if he goes away because then he can leave the Advocate (the Holy Spirit), who will lead and guide us to all truth. He also said that he would leave us the gift of peace — peace of mind and heart —and it's unlike anything the world could offer.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, our Guide, our source of wisdom and peace, and our Advocate, among many other things. As you go through your day, you can access all of these things simply by talking to God. Learning to hear the "voice" of the Holy Spirit comes with practice. Practice paying attention to that still small whisper you might hear — practice following the path that leads to a deep sense of peace when trying to make a decision. Practice paying attention to new and great ideas that seemingly come out of nowhere and line up with what is written in the Bible. These are a few of the ways the Holy Spirit can speak to us throughout the day.

The Holy Spirit is also the one that changes us from the inside out. The book of Galatians talks about the fruit of the Spirit. It says we can know when someone is a follower of Jesus because we will see the fruit growing in their life. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are fruits of the Spirit, meaning it's through the power of Jesus that any of these things can be present in our lives. We can ask for help in growing in all these areas and becoming more like Jesus — we don't have to do it alone, and we certainly don't have to do it overnight! Growth takes time.

If that was all the Holy Spirit had to offer — a constant Friend, Truth-Teller, Peace-Giver, Advocate, and Fruit-Grower — we'd be very blessed and so grateful. But wait! There's more!

There are gifts of the Holy Spirit that are available to every person who follows Jesus. The Bible says God gives these gifts to us, and they don't expire (Romans 11:29). Have you ever tried to refuse food from a grandma? She won't listen. She'll give you the food anyway. There is nothing you can do to stop a determined grandma with cookies! It's kind of like that with the gifts of the Spirit. You can say no thanks or even believe that you aren't good enough to have the gifts, but you have them. They've been given to you by God, and he's not taking them back. It's just up to you if you want to use them.

As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you will also grow in your awareness of the gifts you have and how you can use them to point others to Jesus. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 lists many of the gifts — things like giving wise advice, having great faith, being able to discern the truth, helping others, leading others, and performing miracles. These are just some of the ways God has wired us to help those around us.

The important thing to remember is that God is the Giver of gifts, and Scripture tells us that he is a good Father and the best gift-giver. You can trust that if you ask, you'll receive it.

It's the Holy Spirit that changes us and helps us grow (see From Old to New on Day 2). It's not about you working harder to be better. In fact, it's kind of the opposite. It's about recognizing your need for a Savior and letting the Holy Spirit change you from the inside out.

Tags: holy spirit, gifts, fruit of the spirit

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