I’ll never forget my first day at my first job.  I was super-excited about being a bag boy at the local grocery store.  Before I could start earning tips, however, I had to complete orientation.  The manager gave detailed instructions on how to bag groceries, mop floors, and perform price checks.   I had to sign a waiver which signified I understood my job description.  When it comes to the Third Person of the Trinity, Scripture attests that He has a unique role.  Unfortunately, many are unaware of His job description.  As a result, they never experience the full blessedness of the Christian life.  Consider four functions of the Holy Spirit.


When Jesus introduced His first followers to the Spirit, He said, “It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come” (John 16:7).  The word translated “Counselor” is a compound one which strictly means “to call alongside.”  The Holy Spirit’s presence is similar to a trained counselor who comes alongside a person to help during the storms of life.  He offers comfort, peace, and aide when it’s needed most.  Believers simply need to learn to listen to His promptings and to sense His support.


In writing to first century believers who were being threatened by a dangerous heresy, John said, “…you don’t need anyone to teach you…His anointing teaches you about all things” (1 John 2:27).  The apostle’s words weren’t intended to discount the place of teaching in the church (Ephesians 4:11).  Instead, they were supposed to highlight the way in which the Holy Spirit provides instruction.  At conversion, we receive an inner-tutor who helps us discern spiritual things.  As we study Scripture and pray concerning the issues of life, He gives us supernatural light.


When Paul ministered in Asia Minor, the Spirit gave Him step-by-step instructions.  It led him to the city of Philippi (Acts 16:6-10).  Through the apostle’s ministry in that city, several people believed in Christ (Acts 16:11-34).  The Spirit’s guidance may not always lead to such dramatic results, but it guides us nonetheless.  Paul spoke of the way in which believers “are led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18).  By following the Spirit’s leadership, Christians receive insight on how to think and live (Galatians 5:16).  This naturally leads them to live in a way that fulfills God’s will (Romans 12:1-2).


The Bible says, “Don’t get drunk with wine...but be filled by the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).  Much confusion has been generated by the apostle’s words.  A lot of it is based on a misunderstanding of what it means to “be filled.”  In our minds, we often think of a container receiving contents; thus, we assume that we can receive greater amounts of the Holy Spirit.  That wasn’t Paul’s meaning. He intended to convey the idea of control.  To be filled with the Spirit means that we allow Him to have His will and way in our lives.  The illustration supplied is helpful.  Just as a drunkard allows alcohol to control his personality, we are to allow the Spirit to control our lives.  When we do, the life of Christ will shine through us!

Dr. Patrick Latham

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