Father. Son. Holy Spirit. Anyone who’s familiar with Christianity has heard of the Trinity. It’s a concept that can be difficult to understand, but it’s one that’s central to our faith as believers in Christ.
If you’re like me, you’re comfortable with the first two members of the holy trio. They seem tangible. Then we get to the Spirit, and we don’t really know what to do with him. As a result, I think many of us are missing out on the supernatural power he wants to give us.
Breaking Down the Trinity
God the Father is easy enough to grasp. The concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful creator of all things is widely recognized by religions around the world. The God of the Bible is also referred to as our Heavenly Father, and since we understand the relationship between parent and child, we can accept that someone wiser than us is looking out for us and redirecting us when we get off track.
Obviously I'm just scratching the surface here. Entire books have been written about God's character, and we could go on for days about the intricacies of his being. But at a basic level, we can concede that a higher power exists.
Jesus—the Son—is even more relatable. He’s God in the flesh, which means he knows what it’s like to be human. He had a family, a job, and he experienced joy and pain, just like we do. As an earthly prince inherits his father’s kingdom, Christ entered our world to continue the work of his Heavenly Father, so it’s not a stretch to see the two as individuals who are united by a common goal.
The Holy Spirit, though … who is he, exactly? If the King James Version is your translation of choice, you know him as the Holy Ghost, which sounds even more mystical and further removed from our present reality.
For a long time, I thought of him as the “essence” of God. Even though I was well acquainted with the Trinity, I viewed the Spirit as an extension of God the Father—more specifically, God’s voice.
While that interpretation is not entirely wrong, it denies the Spirit his unique personhood. The truth is, he is his own being, working in harmony with Jesus and the Father.
Getting to Know the Holy Spirit
He’s also known as Comforter, Counselor and Helper. As these names suggest, the Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity who is working on our behalf, interacting with us on a personal level. His is the “still, small voice” spoken of in 1 Kings 19:12.
In John 14, Jesus explains to his disciples that he is leaving them, but will send the Holy Spirit to be their Advocate while he is away. The promised Spirit will teach them and remind them of everything Jesus taught. What’s more, the Spirit will be in them one day.
Later, in chapter 16, Jesus reiterates that it’s a good thing he's going away. Otherwise, the Advocate wouldn’t come! Most of us would be pretty psyched to meet Jesus in the flesh— to actually see him in the room and be able to ask him anything. But according to him, it’s better to have the invisible Spirit living inside us. Do we believe that, though?
The majority of us don’t live our lives as though the Spirit of the living God is IN us.
We might concede that the Spirit is floating around somewhere in our vicinity, but we don’t fully grasp the reality that he is inside of us. We literally have his power at our fingertips, yet we don’t take advantage of it.
Holy Spirit as Homemaker
I recently read a book that introduced me to another title for the Holy Spirit: Homemaker. This role describes the way he prepares our hearts and transforms us into a home where the Father and Son can live comfortably. C.S. Lewis explains this concept further in Mere Christianity:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
What "Spirit-Filled" Looks Like
If all this is true, it means our new life with the Holy Spirit should look radically different from our old life without him. When he lives inside of us, change is inevitable. He transforms us into new creations.
If you’re wondering whether or not the Spirit has taken up residence in YOU, here are some things to consider:
- The Fruit of the Spirit - Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. should guide your thoughts and actions. These qualities should be more prevalent than anger, worry, irritability, selfishness, etc.
- The Gifts of the Spirit - His power should be evident in what you do. You should expect to see things like wisdom, healing, deliverance, prophecy, unwavering faith or other spiritual gifts manifested in your life—things that are unexplainable without the Spirit’s involvement.
If you’re ready to stop playing small and start experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit, I invite you to pray this prayer with me:
Triune God, forgive me for overlooking and underestimating the power you’ve made available to me. Holy Spirit, I invite you to come inside and transform me into a dwelling that’s worthy of your holiness. Strip away anything that’s holding me back from reaching my full potential as your ambassador. Release your gifts into my life, and help me to be fruitful. Make your presence unmistakable to those around me. I ask these things in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.