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Which book of the Bible mentions the Holy Spirit more than any other?

Give yourself full marks if your answer is Acts. Seventy times the Greek word for S/spirit appears in that book.

What was it like to be a disciple of Jesus living in those days? Those were times of amazing miracles, effective proclamation of the Good News of Jesus, and incredible in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. All of that was the work of the Holy Spirit in and through God’s people.

Do you yearn for God’s empowering presence to be active in your life? How can this be a present reality for you?

Begin by realizing that the Holy Spirit is not optional; He is essential!

Here are five reasons to show the Holy Spirit is not optional.

Necessary for living

Without the Holy Spirit—God’s empowering presence—there is no life. “The Spirit gives life.” (John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6b)

In the past, the Spirit was present and powerful at the Creation— “hovering over the water.” (Genesis 1:2)

In the future, the Spirit will give life in resurrection (Romans 8:11):

if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Writing to Christians, Paul declares (Romans 8:9-10):

… [since] the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Greek has several different uses of “if” that are distinguishable in Greek but often not so clear in English. Here I inserted “since” for “if” to remove any ambiguity of meaning. Simply stated, the Greek structure here is “if” + indicative mood of “live.” The indicative is the mood of certainty. It is not “if … then”—that would be a different structure. So, this text should be understood as “since the Spirit of God lives in you.”

Life is not based on coming forward, signing a commitment card, or saying a “sinner’s prayer.” Those actions or words can be empty and meaningless. If Christ has been received, the Holy Spirit is living in you.

Necessary for being transformed

God desires that we become more like Jesus. That is the goal of the process of discipleship or sanctification. As we submit to the activity of the Holy Spirit, we are

being transformed into [Christ’s] likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Greek word translated “transformed” is the verb of metamorphosis—the same term we use for the process of change as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.

For more on this subject, see “God’s Will for You.”

Necessary for understanding

The night before his crucifixion, Jesus spoke to his disciples:

the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)

when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (John 16:13-15)

Much more could be said of the Spirit’s teaching and guiding.

Necessary for worshipping

Reclaiming Worship” is an existing series you may want to review.

True worship cannot be reduced to a religious event. Our lives are to be a continuous act of worship. Such worship will be in the presence of God, and for the presence of God, in our world. 

For it is we … who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

Without the Spirit, true worship is not possible, for He is the One who gives direction, power, and life to worship. 

Necessary for serving

Just before his ascension into heaven, the Lord Jesus instructs his disciples to “wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” The promised gift is the Holy Spirit.

The Lord continues with:

you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-8)

The direction, purpose, power, and grace of the Holy Spirit are essential for serving God and serving people for God.

Summing up

I have only given you five reasons why the Holy Spirit is not optional for godly living. In the posts to come, I hope you will become more and more convinced of the need for His powerful presence in all areas of your life.

Future posts will explore more about who the Holy Spirit is and dive into the meaning and practical significance of His activities, including:

  • Baptism in the Spirit
  • Indwelling
  • Sealing
  • Anointing
  • Filling
  • Gifting
  • And more.

Ask yourself whether you are treating the Holy Spirit as optional in your life. How can He have a greater impact in your life? Take time to be thankful that the Spirit is God’s empowering presence.

I encourage you to read the book of Acts. As you read, pay particular attention to the presence and activities of the Spirit. Here is a quick overview of Acts to help you: “Jerusalem to the Ends of the Earth in 10 Minutes.”

I invite your comments and questions. Let me know the issue you wrestle with most about the Holy Spirit and why. Click here to write me

FORWARD TO “3 Metaphors for Knowing the Holy Spirit Better”

BACK TO “Is the Holy Spirit a Person or a power?”

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