The Holy Spirit used to be such an ambiguous part of the Godhead for me. I grew up in a church that taught that the gifts were no longer in existence. That God did miracles on occasion, but it was rare and it was mostly in third world countries where the church was getting planted. I believed that those who believed in the gifts of the Spirit or were “pew jumping Pentecostals” were suspect. They just did strange things that I didn’t read about in Scriptures. When I was in Bible college the Holy Spirit was one who sanctified us, regenerated us and lived in us, but was a distant entity of the Godhead. I was told that 1 Cor 13: 8 meant that the gifts of the Spirit were done and over with. After college I worked at a Christian bookstore and I literally would hide books written by Holy Spirit people because I just thought they were bad theology. And some of them were.
And yet I would study the Scripture and it would seem like the Holy Spirit did amazing things. I read the words, “eagerly desire spiritual gifts” (1 cor 14:1) and “do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Cor 14:39). They would make me wonder if there was more that I didn’t understand. So I prayed to God if there were more and it was true, that I was ready and open. Nothing happened.
During this time I still saw things that weirded me out about the Holy Spirit people. Like “giving birth in the Spirit”? Where’s that in Scripture. They would tell me Is 66:7 but I could not see that as justification for their strange actions. Or another one, “getting drunk in the Spirit”? Eph 5:18 they would reply. I didn’t feel like that was a legitimate interpretation of the Scripture either. Weird. And still stand my ground here.
So I would pray on occasion. But more than anything else I felt deep in my spirit there was “more.” More of God that I just wasn’t experiencing.
About 10 years after my initial search I was in a teaching about the Holy Spirit. One guy got up in class and said he felt the Lord asking him to ask forgiveness. He said, “we have the Holy Spirit in fullness often judge those who don’t. I want to ask you for your forgiveness for that.” When he said that I immediately felt a twinge in my spirit. I had anger in my heart and had felt judged. I received his forgiveness.
Later that week or sometime after, I came into the gifts of the Holy Spirit and more. Not the weird stuff, but how Scripture describes his fullness. And my soul has felt a satisfaction since that has never left me.
God is with me in a way I hadn’t experienced. But needed to experience.
In John 14 Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death. They don’t get it yet, but he tells them he will send a Counselor–the Spirit of truth. The world can’t accept him because it doesn’t see the Spirit or know the Spirit. But God puts the Spirit in us so that we are not orphans. We have his Spirit to help guide us, lead us and instruct us in what we need to know. Ephesians says He “is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:14).
A number of years ago this would have been a belief in my mind. But now it is an experience in my heart and soul. He really is with me. And when I feel alone, I need to make myself aware of His presence in my spirit, because this is Jesus. Telling me I am not alone. I am not an orphan. And he’s coming again to get me. To take me to a place he has prepares especially for me (Jn 14:1-4).