There could be entire libraries filled with books written about The Holy Spirit.
And rightly so. As one part of the triune Godhead, we experience the fullness of God living in our very lives through The Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said that He must go so that The Holy Spirit can come. While God is omnipresent (meaning He is everywhere at the same time), Jesus was only in one physical location at a time while He lived on earth. He chose to submit Himself to the laws of nature, taking on the actual form of a man.
The Holy Spirit, however, transcends human limitations creating the very dynamic of His presence in every believer at the same time.
He simultaneously lives in Heaven, in me and in every person who calls on the name of Jesus. What an amazing reality. The very Spirit of the living God, living in the lives of His creations, humans.
What does that mean for us? How does the presence of The Holy Spirit in our lives affect our lives?
Over the next few weeks I’d like to look at what the Holy Spirit does in and to our lives as He dwells in us. More specifically, what does He produce in us. Let’s look together at what happens in our lives as He makes our lives His home.
Often times we define ourselves based on our actions or intentions.
We say things like, “I’m a good person.” “I do good things.” “I mean well.” Or we define others by these same standards. Assigning goodness to ourselves and others based on what we have done or what we intended to do. In other words, we often times believe that our actions or even our intentions produce some amount of goodness inside our very being.
There’s a built in problem with this idea. If our good actions produce goodness in us then our bad actions must produce badness in us as well. We don’t like to think about that. We don’t like to mull over our mistakes, our violations of others’ rights or our outright lawlessness. We focus on our good deeds and intentions and marginalize our bad behavior and ill-intentions.
In this dichotomy, we employ the principle of cause and effect yet assign the wrong dynamics to the cause category and wrong dynamics to the effects category. We think that good deeds and good intentions are the cause and that our goodness is the effect. That would be like the athlete who only shows up to the game relying totally on natural ability to give him victory while never focusing on the fundamentals of his sport.
So fundamentals should focus on in our lives to win in the arena of a Godly life? Indeed there are fundamentals but they are not always made up of our good deeds. Certainly, we should practice our faith by putting it into action, yet we must also realize there is someone else at work in our lives.
The Bible says that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If we have sinned then we live in a condition of badness, or what the Bible calls “living under a curse.” The life of Jesus allows us to be transformed back into our originally created condition of living as a blessed or righteous creature. The change of our condition or state of being occurs both instantly when we believe in Jesus and through out our lives as The Holy Spirit works in us. He, The Holy Spirit, literally performs good actions inside of us, producing goodness that then becomes a part of our character.
The Bible says as much in Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” What? I thought we were supposed to do the work of making ourselves good? I thought I was supposed to build my own character. This says that God is doing the work on my behalf.
As well the Bible says in Galatians 5:23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Fruit is something that is produced. Fruit is not something that produces.
A tree grows fruit based on what kind of tree it is. The fruit does not tell the tree to be something different. The type of tree determines the type of fruit that is produced. In this case we see that it is the Spirit of God that is producing fruit inside of us. It is not us saying that our loving actions produce the goodness in our lives. Or that we can some how muster up peace or forbearance out of thin air and that that ability somehow makes us righteous. It is The Holy Spirit working in our lives that creates these good and righteous attitudes and behaviors. The good deeds and good intentions are therefore the result (or fruit) of the goodness that The Holy Spirit is producing in each of us.
How freeing! This reality allows me turn my focus from trying to be a good person to cultivating an intimant relationship with The Holy Spirit. We can move from a focus on works to a heart of relationship with our living God through the person of the Holy Spirit. The development of this relationship becomes the fundamentals of our spiritual life. Instead of trying to be patient or gentle or kind, we will instead focus on prayer and study of the Word of God and a conscientious awareness of the presence of The Holy Spirit in each and every moment and location of our lives; knowing that He will produce patience and gentleness and kindness in our lives. These virtues become the fruit of the work of The Holy Spirit in our lives as we submit ourselves to Him in intimate relationship.
Over the next few weeks I will look at each fruit the the Holy Spirit produces in our lives as listed in Galatians 5:23.
While I don’t believe this represents an exhaustive list of all The Holy Spirit does in our lives, it is a great place to start, especially in regards to the virtues He produces in us. As we walk through this list let’s keep the clear perspective that our part is submission to Him in intamate relationship and it is He who produces these virtues in us. At the end of the day if there be any goodness in us, it is because He has produced that fruit in our lives.