Welcome to week one of our Embrace the Word study on “The Holy Spirit: Welcoming the Comforter.” I hope you have dived into our reading and writing plan. It is a great way to engage in the Word every day. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into the theme by reading the daily scriptures in context and doing your own study. God desires to speak to us through His Word. Open your heart to hear what He has to say.
Welcoming the Comforter: Responding to the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is not a thing, but He is a part of the Holy Trinity. He is God and was there in the beginning. He was present and active during creation, present and active throughout the old testament, and present and active in this Age of Grace. He lives within us and desires for there to be a fruitful, thriving relationship (a flowing river)! He speaks within our spirits, whispering gentle reminders of God’s Word, bringing sweet conviction when we misstep, and spurring us on with supernatural power working in us. We must yield to the Holy Spirit as He prompts, leads, and guides. We have an opportunity to respond through our own will. But if you are like me, you don’t always respond correctly. Sometimes I allow the noise of life to dull my ear, making me less sensitive to the Spirit’s nudges. And sometimes, I just go the opposite way. Oh, I heard correctly and clearly, but my selfish desires to be in control sometimes override my desire to be yielded. When we are prompted by the Holy Spirit, we fully control how we respond.
Scripture talks about ways we respond to the Holy Spirit. We can welcome His presence, help, comfort, and guidance, or we can rebuff His help.
Don’t Resist The Holy Spirit
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Acts 7:51
In this passage, Stephen is giving his defense (against the accusation of blasphemy) before the Sanhedrin Court. The Bible describes Stephen as “full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:54). In his defense, he preached the truth of the Gospel of Jesus. Those who heard Stephen’s message were “cut to the heart” (vs. 54). They felt convicted by his words because they were true. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. John 16:8 says, “When He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Holy Spirit used Stephen that day. At this moment, any of them that would have repented and believed would have been forgiven. Instead, they resisted the Holy Spirit’s drawing. Sadly, instead of welcoming the Holy Spirit, they resisted Him and stoned Stephen, making him the first Christian martyr.
Don’t resist the Holy Spirit. When the Word of God is given, commands are known, warnings are given, and conviction is felt, respond in obedience. The Holy Spirit will always lead you in the ways of Christ. Don’t let the Holy Spirit’s conviction pass without dealing with what He brings to your mind and heart. Instead of resisting, learn to walk in the Spirit so that you can live pleasing to God (Galatians 5:16).
Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person in the Trinity, and just as we, who are made in God’s image, have emotions, the Holy Spirit does too. We can cause the Holy Spirit grief when we sin. He indwells us and is present and aware of every aspect of our lives. Not only is He present, but He is active! He so sweetly nudges us to do the right thing.
Theologian Charles Spurgeon explains this so beautifully, “grief is a sweet combination of anger and of love. It is anger, but all the gall is taken from it. Love sweetens the anger and turns the edge of it, not against the person, but against the offense.” The sweet love that flows from the Holy Spirit is not mixed with gall but rather holy indignation that comes from a desire for the believer to obey for their own good.
When you feel that tender tug in your spirit, don’t plow ahead doing what you want to do. When you do, you cause the precious Holy Spirit sadness. He loves you and knows what will make your life better. Listen! Your life will improve in every way as you yield to His prompting.
Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Merriam-Webster defines quench as “to put out the light or fire of.” The Greek word for quench is sbennymi, which had to do with extinguishing a fire of sorts or suppressing and stifling divine influence. In scripture, the Holy Spirit is often symbolized by the image of a fire (Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:1-4). The fire of the Holy Spirit can burn within us. Not like a fire that destroys, but a fire that ignites! A fire that fuels! A fire that sets our whole life into motion.
Sometimes, we will feel the Holy Spirit moving on our lives. He may be leading us in actionable ways. He may say to speak with authority to effect change in your surroundings. He may lead you to share the Gospel with someone you deem unworthy. He may want to use you to operate in the spiritual gifts outlined in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12:3-8. It may be out of your comfort zone. You may feel like you are not well equipped. You may feel like you are just not the right person for the job. Say yes, anyway. The Holy Spirit is God. He knows what is best for you. He will empower every willing believer to do the things He leads you to do. And if the Holy Spirit chose you, you ARE the right person for the job.
Don’t try to suppress the Holy Spirit’s work in you. Instead of quenching the fire of the Holy Spirit, say, “Let the Holy Spirit’s fire be kindled in me!”
Jesus was grieved by the hardness of men’s hearts (Mark 3:5). When we resist, grieve, or quench the Holy Spirit, our hearts become increasingly hard. We will not be as sensitive to the beautiful things He wants to reveal to and in you. Instead, respond by welcoming the Holy Spirit. Welcome Him to fill your life again. He feels most welcomed when you obey. Follow closely as He leads.
- How can you respond in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
- Have you ever considered or acknowledged resisting, grieving, or quenching the Holy Spirit?
Father God, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who is active and present in my life. Help me to say no to sin and say yes to Your will, way, and purposes. Thank You for giving me a Comforter who lives on the inside of me. Help me to welcome Him daily.
In Jesus’ name,
**This teaching contains excerpts from the book Dwell: Living Life Fully, Knowing that the Holy Spirit Lives in You by Erica Bryant.
As I always say, the Word WORKS! We are walking in WHOLENESS, OBEDIENCE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and KINGDOM SUCCESS through the Word of God!
Your friend in the journey,