Who is the Holy Spirit?
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”
I Corinthians 6:19-20
Recently, I was asked by a group of people who wanted to know exactly who the Holy Spirit was and would I wrote a blog. Thinking to myself, you know that is something I get asked about a lot and agreed I would do the research and write a blog. But simply stating that the Holy Spirit was part of the Trinity and substance of God wouldn’t be enough.
So, I earnestly set out to read all the verses in the Bible about the Holy Spirit and all the reference material. The more I researched the more complicated the answers became. In fact, when I read what scholars thought, I couldn’t seem to find concrete agreement from person to person. The search became murkier as I tried to distill the Holy Spirit into a simple explanation.
Some of the readings claimed if you had the Holy Spirit, you could talk in tongues. Some other writings called the Holy Spirit the great counselor. Others claimed the Spirit created miracles. But there was no one simple answer.
Then it dawned me, that it wasn’t important what scholars wrote, but how people experienced the Holy Spirit. That in their own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit was the true definition.
So, I went to Twitter and asked, “How do you experience the Holy Spirit? Surprisingly close to seven thousand people saw the question and many responded. As I expected I got a wide range of experiences.
One person felt the Holy Spirit in a grocery store after she helped a disabled person with their groceries. For no reason at all, she had felt compelled to help and after she got to her car she broke down in tears. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy knowing that she had experienced the Holy Spirit.
A sample of shorter descriptions that were written are;
The Holy Spirit gives me inner peace and calm.
The Holy Spirit reminds me to do good every day.
The Holy Spirit gives me strength, courage, and wisdom to lead my life.
The Holy Spirit is my daily guide.
I hear the Holy Spirit when I pray.
The Holy Spirit helps me see God in others.
I also got longer answers, like; I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I don’t have the gift of tongues, but I still feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Still, another wrote; I am an optimist 90% of the time, but on those days I am down, the Holy Spirit lifts me up and helps my attitude.
On and on these wonderful expressions went on. People sharing not because they were answering a question as if it was a test to get the right answer. But sharing a special relationship they felt strongly about. Each different, but all theoretically correct.
In my research, I found one verse that seemed to explain this phenomenon. Paul in First Corinthians states, that the Holy Spirit exists in all of us and our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit. A gift from God!
To me, this explains why each individual has a different explanation. Because we are all uniquely different. And our relationship with the Holy Spirit that dwells with us is a reflection of our individual life experience. Almost as if the Spirit which dwells within us meets us where we are.
Sure there are those who can speak in tongues and become wildly exuberant when they feel the Spirit. While others of us, feel the Spirit in a less demonstrative way. It doesn’t mean one person has a better relationship than the other, it means its different.
The Holy Spirit meets us where we are and in a way that we can understand.
I guess I wasn’t surprised that this was the result of a survey that seven thousand people saw. Many wonderful expressions of a very personal relationship that we all share.
So I didn’t complete my task and theologically explain the Holy Spirit. Rather, I discovered more important questions. Questions I and others should explore. How are we individually in a relationship with the Holy Spirit? And are we completely invested in this relationship?
Perhaps this is the place we should start versus trying to discover the metaphysical aspect of the Holy Spirit.
Try today to ask the Holy Spirit to visit you. The same Holy Spirit that Paul says dwells within you.
Listen to the Full Podcast – Who is the Holy Spirit – Episode 3 – Inspirational Christian Stories
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
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