(Romans 8:27) “And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”(John 14:26) “But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom My Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person equal in Divinity and power to God the Father and God the Son. He is not a power to get hold of and use as we will but He is a loving, sensitive and Divine Person who wants to get hold of us and use us according to God’s will. He is certainly not merely an impersonal force for good in the world or some illuminating influence that imparts spiritual truth to our minds. He is someone who loves us deeply, who wants to be involved with every part of our lives and who wants to do the very best thing in us, with us and for us. Without Him we cannot do God’s will at all. He is one who is worthy of our adoration, respect, our faith, our worship and our love. Above all else He is worthy of the surrender of our wills to Him.
The Holy Spirit has all the marks of personality.
1. The Holy Spirit has knowledge.
(1 Corinthians 2:10-11) “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
Because He is Divine and Infallible He knows God intimately and knows the deep things about God. He himself possesses the infinite wisdom of God. He knows what God is thinking at all times and always acts in perfect harmony with God’s perfect will. Only He can reveal to us the deep things of God to us. His wisdom is far beyond the capacity of human wisdom, knowledge and insight. Only those who have the Holy Spirit living within them can have God’s spiritual wisdom. They can understand God and His Word the Bible. They can recognize His guidance and presence in their daily lives and be regularly led by Him. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14).
Without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives we will never understand the deep things of God. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God because they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any mans judgment (1 Corinthians 2:14-15)
If we have the Holy Spirit within us then we will know what pleases God and what doesn’t please him. We will have the capacity to evaluate our attitudes, values, desires and ambitions as God evaluates them. The person without the Holy Spirit cannot perceive what pleases God because the things of God are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them. God Himself is the only true source of all wisdom and the Holy Spirit will impart that wisdom to us if we ask Him for it. (James 1:5-6) Only He can interpret the Bible and teach us how to please God. Only He can give us the capacity to fulfil God’s will with all of our heart. The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person who is filled with God’s wisdom and who reveals to us what He knows about God. If we have been born again then He is accessible to us for every situation and circumstance of our life.
2. The Holy Spirit has a mind.
(Romans 8:27) “And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
The word “mind” in the original Greek language contains the ideas of “knowledge” “feeling” and “purpose.” God himself knows the thoughts, the feelings and the will of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows God’s as well. The Holy Spirit knows how to pray and what to pray for. If we have the Holy Spirit living within us then we will have the thoughts, the feelings and the will of Jesus Christ himself. (1 Corinthians 2:16) It is a wonderful thing to know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us perfectly according to God’s will. If we have the Holy Spirit operating freely in our lives then we will be able to live according to God’s will.
3. The Holy Spirit has a will.
(1 Corinthians 12:11) “All these (spiritual gifts) are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each man just as He determines.”
The Holy Spirit is not a power to get hold of to use for our own ends but someone who wants to get hold of us and use us to according to God’s will. He decides how He will reveal his gifts through us to the body of Christ. Just as the anointing oil was poured out upon Aaron the High Priest and flowed down over His robes so the anointing of the Spirit that is on the Lord Jesus Christ our Great High Priest flows down over His body the Church. (Psalm 133) (Acts 2:33) The Holy Spirit determines where and how we will serve the Lord and imparts the gifts we need to complete the task.
Many believers become frustrated in their service for the Lord because they want to choose how and where they will serve the Lord and decide what gifts they would like to have. They may be very sincere yet their motives in asking are wrong and their prayers go unanswered. (James 4:3) The Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabus to the mission field. (Acts 13:2) They did not call themselves. Their call came through fasting and prayer and was confirmed by the local church. The Holy Spirit sent them out; likewise, He distributes His gifts according to His will and not ours.
4. The Holy Spirit has feelings.
(Ephesians 4: 30-32) “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We can grieve the Holy Spirit because He is extremely sensitive to sin of any kind. He is grieved by unwholesome talk, swearing, and filthy jokes and by bitterness towards others. He is grieved by temper tantrums, outbursts of anger and resentments. He is grieved when we shout others down with our own opinions or by slander and criticism. He is grieved when we entertain evil thoughts, covert sinful desires and when we fail to love other believers. He goes where we go and sees what we do. He sees what we watch on TV and the books and magazines we read. Anything at all in us that is not like Jesus in word, thought and deed grieves him beyond all human understanding.
5. The Holy Spirit has love.
(Romans 5:5) “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
The Holy Spirit has the same love that God has. Everything the Holy Spirit says and does springs out of that love. He loves us with a deep and tender love and empowers us to love others especially those who are hard to love. He loves us wholeheartedly, unconditionally and without reservation. If we have been born again then we have His love within us and the capacity to love others but we need to let out the love we have. Our faith works by love. (Galatians 5:6) When we take the initiative to love others then the power we need to do just that will be activated as we act in faithfulness to the command to love. The Holy Spirit never withdraws His love. We can be spiritually gifted but if we do not have love then we achieve nothing as far as God is concerned. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
6. The Holy Spirit is good and brings guidance.
(Nehemiah 9:20) “You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.”
When Israel was in the wilderness they had an infallible friend and guide in the Holy Spirit. He desired only their good and was always mindful of their welfare. He always had their best interests at heart. His guidance is always the very best guidance we can ever have. His guidance is always reliable, sound and uncomplicated. He is the Spirit of truth and wants to lead us into all truth and will never lead us into sin or into doctrinal error. He will never guide us to say or to do something that goes contrary to God’s word, the Bible. (John 14:26 16:13 17:17)
The Holy Spirit wants to guide us in all the circumstances of our lives. He wants to be our best friend and closest companion and He eagerly wants to show us the deep things of God. If we really want God’s best then we will yield ourselves completely to the control of the Holy Spirit. We will learn best when we allow Him to teach us. (1 John 2:20) Sometimes we do not know God’s will because we do not know the Holy Spirit as intimately as we should.
The Holy Spirit performs certain actions that could only be said of a person.
1. The Holy Spirit searches all things.
(1 Corinthians 2:10) “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
Only this could be said of a person. Here He is described as a Divine and intelligent spiritual being who has the capacity to give and to receive knowledge. Only He can search and know the deep things of God because He knows everything that God does. If He knows everything there is to know about God then he certainly knows all about us.
2. The Holy Spirit speaks.
(Acts 8:29) “The Spirit told Phillip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Phillip the Evangelist was sensitive and obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He had just completed a successful evangelistic campaign in Samaria when the Holy Spirit told him to go to a desert road to speak to an official from the Ethiopian court. His obedience led to the conversion of this man and opened the way for the gospel in Ethiopia. If we listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit more than we do we would never lack guidance. If we listened to Him we would find other people being touched by Him in our witnessing. The key to hearing his voice is to be totally at His disposal to use us at anytime and in anyway He chooses. If we knew the word of God more thoroughly then we would hear the Holy Spirit’s voice more clearly. Whether we are involved in the excitement of a big meeting or when we are dealing with an individual we need to be open to His voice moment by moment. This is why we must always seek to be constantly filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit at all times. (Ephesians 5:18)
The first century believers in the book of Acts lived and moved in step with the Holy Spirit constantly. Paul himself says, “Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) The Holy Spirit led the early Church in all of it’s decisions. Nothing was done without his consent and confirmation. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter and led him to take the gospel to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:19) The council at Jerusalem wrote a letter to Antioch giving specific instructions to Gentile believers. We read where they said, “It seemed good to us and to the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit still speaks to us today as He did in Bible times. But how does He speak? We need to remember that the early Christians did not have the New Testament as we do today. They only had the Old Testament because the New Testament was still being written. Today the Canon of the scriptures is complete. There is no more new revelation or doctrine only a deeper revelation and understanding of what has already been given in the Bible. The Holy Spirit does speak to us in other ways. He can speak to us in prayer by an inner certainty or conviction that what we are praying for will come to pass. Sometimes He will speak through others and again through circumstances. A good example of this was when God sent Jeremiah down to the potter’s house and there spoke to him through what the potter was doing with the clay on the wheel.
Sometimes God will organize the circumstances in our own lives in such a way that we will have only one way to go. He will effectively close all other doors. The Holy Spirit may speak to us through dreams and visions or through others exercising spiritual gifts. At other times He will us devotional books and commentaries. However he will never tell us to do anything that contradicts or goes against the Word of God. Today he speaks mainly through the Word of God. If we want to hear His voice then we need to be diligent students of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will give us light and guidance through God’s Word. (Psalm 119: 97-99,105,130) God will give us his wisdom if we ask for it and believe we receive it when we ask. (James 1:5-6)
The Holy Spirit Himself is called “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding” and He lives in us if we are born again. Every believer has the right and privilege to hear His voice and be led by Him. His speaking is not limited to church leaders, ministers or to those in fulltime ministry. Every born again believer has the Holy Spirit in them to speak and to guide them through life. In fact if we do not have Him dwelling in us we do not belong to the Lord Jesus. If we really belong to the Lord then the Holy Spirit will regularly lead us. (Romans 8:9, 14) We can hear His voice if we will take the time to read and to study God’s Word. After all “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
3. The Holy Spirit prays.
(Romans 8:26-27) “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
The Holy Spirit is not a spiritual force that comes upon us compelling us to pray but He is a person who prays Himself. He is one who prays for us according to God’s will. The word ‘helps’ brings out three separate functions of the Holy Spirit in relationship to prayer itself. There are three ideas expressed in this word ‘helps.’ They are ‘with’ ‘in place of’ ‘to take hold of.’ The Holy Spirit prays with us when we pray. He also prays in place of us when we find words hard to express and He also takes hold of the problems that we are wrestling with in prayer. The Holy Spirit is one who stands in our place. He is one called alongside us to strengthen us in all the circumstances of our lives. We are not alone in prayer. We may come to pray not feeling very spiritual at all but as we yield our minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit and begin to pray He begins to pray through us. At the end of our prayer time we will be charged up with expectation from God and with our confidence in Him renewed. (Jude 20)
Right now the Holy Spirit is beside us. He knows what should be said and how it should be said. He knows just what needs to be done. He will teach us how to pray and lead us in prayer. Sometimes when we come to pray we need to wait on Him to lead us how to pray. However, there will be times when we don’t know how to pray or for what to pray but at such times the Holy Spirit will be interceding for us according to God’s will. Sometimes we will groan inwardly and at such times we need to know that a loving and Divine person is there interceding with God on our behalf. If we want to hear His voice more clearly then we need to spend more time in prayer. It is only through prayer that we can be filled up with God’s power for our Christian living and service for the Lord Jesus.
4. The Holy Spirit teaches.
(John 14:26) “But 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.”
The Holy Spirit is a living and personal teacher who knows us intimately and how best to teach having us. The instrument He uses to teach us is the Word of God. Without his illumination we cannot understand the Bible in the way God intends us to understand it. Just intellectual or background knowledge of the Bible isn’t enough. The Holy Spirit will never teach anything that contradicts the Bible. He can use others to teach us from the Word of God but there are some lessons that only He can teach us by personal experience. The Holy Spirit is our own personal instructor in spiritual matters. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) (1 John 1:20) What a wonderful friend we have in the Holy Spirit. Someone who loves us deeply and who wants us to get to know Him better!