“You might as well try to see without eyes, hear without ears, or breathe without lungs as to try to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit.”
A.W. Tozer, a twentieth-century spiritual sage, famously said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.” Can you say, “Ouch?” Talk about a scary thought. Tozer seems to be on to something here. He recognized what many Christians today fail to recognize—the role of the Holy Spirit. The early church knew what the Holy Spirit was up to and the importance of recognizing His role in the church. But does today’s church at large have this sense? No, says Tozer. And I’m inclined to agree.
This lack of understanding isn’t because the Bible is thin on content. No, the curious Christian is amply supplied with material about the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a brief look at what the Scripture has to say regarding the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.
It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins (John 16:8). First of all, He’s the one who sheds light on our conscience when each of us falls short of God’s glory. Also, the Holy Spirit’s role is vital in bringing nonbelievers to salvation (Titus 3:5). So much so that no one is saved apart from the work of the Spirit. If you’re a Christian, it’s because you’ve experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Once we’re saved, the Holy Spirit provides us with an assurance of our salvation (Romans 8:16). As Christians, we are fortunate. That’s because the Holy Spirit comes bearing gifts—spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). Our spiritual gifts are given to us to be a source of blessing and encouragement to others. They come tethered with a purpose. It’s hard to fulfill God’s will if you haven’t unwrapped the gift(s) He’s given you to help fulfill it. Thankfully, we aren’t left to our own strength after we become Christians. Here’s what
The Holy Spirit is there for us to both empower and fill us with His presence so that we can make the most our lives (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 5:18). Trying to fulfill the Christian life in our own strength will only serve as a lesson in futility. The Holy Spirit is passionate about producing spiritual fruit in our lives. This fruit represents a Christ-like character. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Now go back over what I just wrote and ask yourself, “Where can I cooperate more with the Holy Spirit in my life?” Paul admonishes us, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Learn what the role of the Holy Spirit is, and then watch the difference He can make in your life.
Thought to Ponder
Trying to live the Christian life apart from the Holy Spirit is as senseless as trying to iron a shirt without plugging the iron into the outlet. As Christians, we need to get plugged in.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).
Question to Consider
Do you sense the Holy Spirit at work in your life? If so, how?