At Pentecost believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), and today when a man, woman, boy, or girl accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, that same baptism occurs. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in the new believer, fully immersing them in Christ.
Think about how a pickle becomes a pickle. For a cucumber to be transformed into a pickle, the vegetable must be submerged in brine. This immersion saturates every square inch of that cucumber and transforms it into a pickle. This same type of transformation occurs when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and we are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Other than the initial transformation that takes place through the Holy Spirit, though, what role does He play in the life of a believer? How does the Spirit help us live and what should our response be as a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives?
The answers come as we look at God’s Word and see the long list of promises about the Spirit’s work in our lives.
The Holy Spirit …
- Helps and comforts (John 14:16, 25, 15:26)
- Brings to our remembrance all that He has said (John 14:26)
- Teaches (John 14:26)
- Convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11)
- Guides us into all truth (John 16:13)
- Gives us power (Acts 1:8)
- Is the conduit of God’s love for us (Romans 5:5)
- Helps us as we pray (Romans 8:26-27)
Another gift we receive from the Spirit of God is the Fruit of the Spirit. Many people call this fruit, fruits (plural), but this is not so. The Fruit of the Spirit is one gift given to believers, once at the time of salvation. So why, you might ask is this fruit not always obvious in our lives?
Here’s where it gets difficult. We possess all of the Fruit, but we don’t always access the Fruit or allow the Spirit of God to be in authority over our lives. Instead we allow our fleshly nature to be in control, and settle for a mediocre Christian experience rather than a Spirit-filled life.
Here’s what I mean. Read Galatians 5:16-26 below.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Scripture tells us that the Fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Our love is not always unconditional, it is often based on performance and emotions.
- Our joy envelops us only as much as our circumstances thrill us.
- Peace comes when the sea stills, but when the billows roll our peace drifts away.
- Our patience runs thin and kindness runs screaming from the room (literally!).
- Any goodness that we possess becomes tainted by our own selfish will.
- Faithfulness waivers.
- Gentleness turns to harshness.
- Self-control flies off the handle.
Why does this happen?
This happens because we choose to walk our own way rather than walk by the Spirit.
We choose not to regulate our lives in the way of the Spirit. We choose not to conduct ourselves as the Spirit of God would.
This happens because we choose not to keep in step with the Spirit.
To keep in step with the Spirit means to direct one’s life in the way of the Spirit. It is a military term that means to march in rank or march in line.
How can we allow the Fruit of the Spirit to become more evident in our lives?
John 15:1-5 says,
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We must abide in Christ. We dwell with Him, by immersing ourselves in His Word, going to Him constantly in prayer, and surrendering our selfish will to His selfless sacrifice of love.
When we do this, we can love as He loved, serve as He served, and “Go There” for others in His power for His glory.
What do you need to do this week to surrender more fully to the Spirit of God?