Before we dive too deeply into how the Holy Spirit can help us, let’s take some time to figure out exactly who He is. Where did He come from? Is Holy Spirit just another name for God? How is He different? All great questions.
Imagine as far back in time as you can. Before earth. Before our universe. God was there. But He wasn’t alone. Well, not exactly.
God has three different forms. There’s God the Father, or just God for short. Then there’s Jesus, God’s son. And there’s the Holy Spirit. Mysteriously, all three are different, but they’re all 100 percent God. Each one uniquely expresses God’s nature to us, but none is greater than the other. In Christianity, this three-in-one concept is formally known as the Trinity.
When you read your Bible, it can seem like Jesus first came on the scene as a baby 2,000 years ago. Then, out of nowhere, the Holy Spirit appears in the book of Acts. But the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been hanging out together as far back as you can imagine.
In Genesis, when God created everything, it was actually the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Now, you might be wondering, if all of them are God, what’s the point of having three? Another great question.
While Jesus was on the earth, He was only obeying His Father. He didn’t do anything on His own but only what He saw His Father do. When His curious disciples asked Him to show them the Father, He said, “If you’ve seen me, then you’ve seen the Father.” Basically, Jesus was telling them that He was God in physical form. God the Father has no physical form, but Jesus is God with skin on. Through Jesus, the love of God became something tangible we could see and feel.
But, as Jesus’ time on earth was nearing an end, He made a promise. He told His followers it would be best for them if He went back to Heaven because then God would send them the Holy Spirit. In the same way that Jesus became the body of God in tangible form, the Holy Spirit revealed Himself as the mind of God living inside of us.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17 NIV
So, the Holy Spirit leads us to the truth. He’s the very mind of God, available to you at all times because He lives within you when you choose to follow Jesus. He’s the voice that fills your head with God’s thoughts. Intimate. Close. Personal.
In His physical form, Jesus couldn’t engage with people at the level of thought. That’s why He said it was better that the Holy Spirit come.
Let’s talk about Jesus’ promise and what it means for you.
Can you imagine trying to send a group text using pen, paper, and the post office? Imagine writing out letters by hand to your five closest friends, buying stamps, stuffing envelopes, and mailing them to five different addresses. After waiting for two or three days, the letters would start arriving at your friends’ houses. Then, each would respond with a letter of their own, making copies for each person in the group and waiting a few more days for each reply. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It seems silly since you can accomplish the same thing in a few seconds using your smartphone.
The Holy Spirit works sort of like that. He makes it possible for Jesus to communicate with every single one of His followers in real time across the globe. Jesus could only be in one place at a time. His first disciples didn’t know much about the Holy Spirit or His purpose. That’s why Jesus spent His last days on earth preparing them for His death. They didn’t know He was about to die, and they certainly didn’t understand why. So, instead of trying to dump His entire plan on them all at once, He made them a promise.
He said that when He left He’d send someone else in His place—the Holy Spirit. Jesus wasn’t saying that they would be trading their relationship with Him in exchange for the Spirit. Instead, the Holy Spirit would come alongside them and help them understand everything Jesus had taught. Plus, the Holy Spirit could teach them new things as they learned to hear His voice.
When the Holy Spirit came, He would lead them to the truth. He wouldn’t have His own agenda, but He would be totally committed to completing Jesus’ mission on earth. In fact, the Holy Spirit would do everything to bring honor to Jesus. He would relay messages straight from Jesus into the hearts and minds of all His followers. But, here’s the best news of all: That promise wasn’t just for the disciples who were sitting around that night. It was also for you!
Think about how that changed the game. Before Jesus gave us access to the Holy Spirit, Jesus was the single source of information, and He was limited to physically being in one place at a time. He had to spread His message one crowd at a time. But, when the Holy Spirit made His home in the heart of every believer, Jesus’ message was engraved into our hearts.
The Holy Spirit can speak directly into our hearts and minds.
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”