The Holy Spirit is a person; he is the very Spirit of Jesus. Separate the humanity of Jesus and what you have is the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is Jesus, the Spirit. When Jesus promised that he will be with us forever, the Holy Spirit was how he intended doing that. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 NLT
“…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
As true as this is, many believers do not enjoy the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit, they do not know what it feels like and they just go about living a very cold Christian life. They are believers but they are cold about their faith. No one experiences the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit and not burn! Somehow, the believer who tangibly experiences the Holy Spirit will burn!
To enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit, you need to understand who the Spirit is, what he does and how he does it. Let’s see what Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 NLT
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”
Jesus was talking about himself here; he had promised earlier “I am with you always” and the Holy Spirit was how it happened. We also see that the Holy Spirit is our advocate and in 1 John 2:1, John refers to Jesus as our advocate who intercedes on our behalf. When we understand this, we become conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our everyday life. The consciousness of the Holy Spirit changes everything even in the place of fellowship with God. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues in verse 17 of John 14
“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth… You know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
Previously, in John 14:6, Jesus had called himself the truth and here again he refers to the Holy Spirit as the one who leads into all truth. This means that the Holy Spirit enhances our understanding of Jesus; he reveals the codes behind the written word which makes the real power of the word of God come into manifestation! But it doesn’t end there, Jesus wasn’t just trying to tell them that the Holy Spirit and him share similarities, he was saying to them “the person I am talking about is with you now, you know him already because he lives in your midst but a time will come when he will take residence inside of you.”
I am imagining the feeling Mary had, yes, the mother of Jesus! What a feeling when the same person she gave birth to got nailed to the cross, and then he resurrected, ascended into heaven and came back into her! What an experience! Doesn’t this understanding change something in you? Doesn’t it make you feel like switching off from everything and staying in that corner to enjoy the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit?
Another way to experience the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit is to understand what he does and key into it. If you want to enjoy the presence of someone, you give them time or engage them in an activity; it could be a conversation or other things. The same applies to the Holy Spirit. We cannot enjoy his manifest presence without engaging him. How then do we engage the Holy Spirit? Jesus said in verse 26
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
We engage the Holy Spirit in the place of sincere study of God’s word; the Holy Spirit is stirred to teach us each time we study! Many people cry for the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit and it seems not to be forthcoming but if they sincerely seek God through his words, their hunger will be met. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6
“…He rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
The essence of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth and we begin to experience his leading when we are ready to follow; this is greatly done when we stay in the place of the word with all our attention focused on God and with the consciousness that we are in the classroom of the Spirit. The sincere study of God’s word is a call to the Holy Spirit, we are saying to him “I am ready, lead me into all truth!”
This was exactly what happened to me years ago. I started preaching as a kid and on several occasions, I had experienced the extraordinary manifestations of God’s power, I have had inspiring dreams too. I remember I was struggling with certain flaws, I was struggling to be a better person and I also had lots of questions that needed answers. It came to a point in my life where I knew it wasn’t business as usual and then I decided to take the word serious, to go beyond the Bible stories and truly sit under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.
I remember how I started studying the book of Romans; I had finished praying and asked the Holy Spirit to teach me. That afternoon, it seemed like floodlight flashed through my eyes, it seemed a part of me was unlocked! I couldn’t handle it at first as I was seeing certain truths of God’s word that opposed all I knew. At some point, I was struggling with something in my Spirit; I was fighting the truth and wondering why Paul’s letters were allowed into the compilation that we have as the Bible today.
While I struggled with it, my teachings were taking a new shape, I was seeing transformations in my life and every page of the Bible I turned to seemed to be pointing at one thing! I understood the Grace of God, I understood the love and mercy of God and I gave up fighting and accepted it as a wholesome truth. It changed my conviction for life, it got people talking, it got some folks against me because I started teaching the gospel of salvation by grace alone in Christ Jesus without works!
I wouldn’t have known the truth if I hadn’t stayed in the place of study. God’s word can only be understood by revelation and not human logics, the Holy Spirit is ever-present to teach us if we want to be taught. Deliberate study of God’s word is how to engage the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us. The Holy Spirit can use the instrumentality of a Pastor, other ministers or just open your eyes to understand the word!
Many times, people have said to me “God just used you to open my eyes to an answer I have been seeking!” Sometimes, God uses teachers to break the words down to the level of those who are seeking the truth. We read about the Ethiopian Eunuch who studied the Scriptures but didn’t understand a thing out of it. In Acts 8:26 an angel of the Lord instructed Philip to go meet the Ethiopian Eunuch and eventually teach him.
Sometimes, the Holy Spirit may not necessarily ask someone to come to you, he may direct someone to make teachings based on the silent questions of your heart! Something in you will bear witness that it is the workings of God’s Spirit!
Another way we enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit is the place of prayer. One of the reasons why many people do not enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer is because they are the reasons they pray, they simply pray about money, about their enemies and about their career and that is all! They are not hungry for God but hungry for themselves.
We need to come to that point of reliance on the Holy Spirit where we just love on God, being conscious of his, and singing songs of love and worship back to him. Doing this with the understanding of God’s word brings us to that realm of the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. At this point, nothing else matters but God and we yield completely to the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote in Romans 8:26 NLT
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.”
When we starve ourselves of God’s word and prayers, we are simply letting ourselves grow cold, we are making the Spirit dormant in us and we are denying ourselves a wonderful fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Again, when we only pray and cry for more of God without staying in the place of God’s word and growing in knowledge, we will settle only for temporal emotional fulfilment. Temporal emotional fulfilment is the best many have gotten when there is more than that!
The Holy Spirit brings clarity, gives direct instructions, releases ideas and comforts us even in times of challenges. In prayers, we speak back to God and in the place of the word we understand better what God has said to us. The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak outside the boundaries of God’s word, this is one of the ways we discern the Spirit! Jesus said in John 16:13
“…He will not speak on His initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
If the Holy Spirit speaks outside God’s word, we would be easily deceived by demons who also transform as though they are of the light. However, the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak outside God’s word.
Fellowship means a friendly relationship between two or more people; it also means a relationship of people who share a common interest. As believers, we don’t just have a friendly relationship with the Holy Spirit, we also share a common interest! We are born of the word of God and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the word! The Holy Spirit is what truly activates us as Christians.
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit is not sustained by us, he created this fellowship, he sustains it and he chairs it! All we need to do is to engage in it. Another way we engage in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is by fellowshipping with other brethren. Believers aren’t just people who experienced transformation; we are also people who have been joined together as one by the same Spirit! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:13-14
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
You can’t do well as a believer or even experience a certain degree of fellowship with the Holy Spirit when you despise the gathering of brethren. You are not complete on your own because you are only but a member of one body powered by one Spirit! Haven’t you noticed the sincere love that flows in the place of fellowship with other believers? Haven’t you noticed that each day you meet with other believers you feel lifted? The believers make up the one body of Christ and we are individually a part of it.
The fellowship of believers if founded by the Holy Spirit, it started in the upper room and this is the reason Jesus prayed thus in John 17:21
“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
Jesus wasn’t praying that all believers stay under the leadership of the Pope just as many believe, Jesus wasn’t praying that we all fall under one structural body. Jesus was making a prophetic prayer concerning what was to take place from the upper room onwards! This is why fellowship is important. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, and let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
You may not be seeing what I am seeing here yet. We see two roles that believers play in the life of one another. One is to stir up one another to love and good works, another is to encourage one another. These two roles also fit into the role the Holy Spirit plays in our lives. If we include the role of Pastors, Evangelists and so on which is to mature the saints, we also see that it fits into the role of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit comforts us, teaches us and also makes us willing to do good works. As much as the Holy Spirit comforts us even in solitude, there are also many times that he uses other believers to comfort and encourage us. He teaches us and leads us into all truth and as much as this happens in the place of personal study and prayers the Holy Spirit also uses other believers to train us so that we grow into maturity.
While God, through the Spirit works in us to will and do good works, he also uses other believers to motivate us unto love and good works.
The Holy Spirit is our helper; men may serve as the instrument through which the Holy Spirit helps us. He is our Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener and Standby. We can talk to him, we can ask questions and we can just love him in the place of prayer. Do you want to enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? Just engage him! Find a time you aren’t distracted, you don’t need to have lists of requests, you don’t need to arrange words, you just need to know that he is right there and start pouring yourself out on him.
Personally, sometimes I find myself in such situations where I just love on God through sweet words and songs, sometimes I groan and hot tears flow from my eyes, I find myself muttering in unknown tongues and feeling his hands wrapped around me. At these moments, he is all that matters! Your biggest limitations may be that you only come to request for breakthroughs, you only come to request for healings and so on. He wants to have fellowship with you. His fellowship is nothing short of sweet. And just like Paul said, I say to you
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14