Wind is one of the most powerful forces on earth. It powers mills, propels sailing ships, and produces electricity. But it can also be peaceful and soothing. What is more refreshing than a gentle breeze on a summer’s day? It is no surprise, then, that the Bible uses wind as an analogy for the Holy Spirit. Both the Old and New Testament words – ruach and pneuma – mean “breath, wind, or spirit.” Luke describes the Holy Spirit’s coming like this: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2 NIV)
However, it would be a mistake to think of the Holy Spirit as a power you can manipulate, as Luke Skywalker learned to do with “the Force” in the “Star Wars” saga, because the Holy Spirit is not merely a force. He is a Person who loves you deeply and has all the traits associated with personhood. Ephesians 4:30 says He has emotion and that we can “grieve” Him by our bad behavior. Romans 8:27 says He has a “mind,” while 1 Corinthians 12:1 says that He has a “will.” Words are important, and in promising to send us the Holy Spirit on His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “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.” (John 14:17) Jesus never refers to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” Instead, 5 times in one verse He uses the personal pronoun “Him” or “He” to describe the Holy Spirit, emphasizing that He is a Person and not an impersonal force.
Furthermore, Jesus emphasizes the Holy Spirit is a humble Person. He adds, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself but…He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 14:13 KJV) – The Holy Spirit’s purpose is not to draw attention to Himself, but to point people to Jesus as the Savior of this world. Consequently, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, what will our purpose be? We too will become humble, forgetting about our image and ambitions and focusing our efforts on bringing attention and glory to Jesus Christ.
But the most important fact to recognize is that the Holy Spirit is God. Jesus promised His disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17 ESV) There are two words for “another” in the Greek language – heteros, meaning “another of a different kind,” which Jesus would have used if He wanted to say that the Holy Spirit was less than God. But He used allos, meaning “another of the same kind.” In other words, He was saying, “The Holy Spirit will be another Helper of the same kind as Me!” And who is Jesus? Jesus is Lord! Understanding the mystery of the Trinity is too much for our finite minds. Augustine warned, “He who tries to explain the Trinity will lose his mind; he who tries to explain it away will lose his soul.” This is a wonderful truth we must accept by faith – that the same Spirit of God who moved over the surface of the waters and took part in the work of creation (Genesis 1:2) has come to live in believers today!
Why is this important? It is important to know that the Holy Spirit is a Person, so we don’t try to manipulate Him. If He were an impersonal force, there would be nothing wrong with manipulating Him. But there is something terribly wrong with manipulating Someone who loves you. Recognizing His humility also helps us to submit to His efforts to produce the same kind of humility in us. After all, if God is humble enough that He doesn’t need to draw attention to Himself, then what in the world do we have to prove? Finally, it is imperative for our faith to realize that He is God. Otherwise, we would be perpetually insecure. However, knowing that God Himself lives within us takes away our fears, “because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
To listen to the full audio message, click the link with your left mouse button. To download it, click it with your right button. Introducing the Holy Spirit.
(Next study – “The Holy Witness!”)