When I first learned the wonderful truth of the Holy Spirit’s personal nature, I desired to cultivate a friendship with the mysterious third Person of the Trinity. I found everything about His essence to be alluring, magnetic. As I examined the scriptures, I sought for clues and insights to His nature and personality. I wanted to understand His every nuance, familiarize myself with His every quality.
In search of the Spirit, I turned the pages of the Bible. My inner being would become lit with joyful anticipation. My eyes enjoyed the glimmer of every truthful word. In the Old Testament, I saw the Spirit hovering over the face of the deep and so gloriously displaying His power that men trembled in fear, in awe. In the New Testament, I saw this same Spirit gently descend upon Christ as a dove, raise Jesus from the dead and assist the Apostles in the book of Acts.
As many do at that point, I cried, “Lord, I want more of you!”
I would soon be encouraged by this revelation: The believer does not need more of God. All that God was, is and ever will be came to dwell in the believer at the very instant of salvation! When the Holy Spirit comes, He comes in fullness, not in partiality. For how can the eternal be divided? Half of infinity is, after all, infinity. It is both a logical absurdity and an anti-scriptural error to conclude that the Spirit is given in portions.
The issue is not how much the believer has of God but how much God has of the believer. At salvation, we surrender the will, and we spend the rest of our natural lives giving away and dying to self.
Therefore, it is our goal, not to obtain the Holy Spirit but to fellowship with Him – to befriend Him. And when we are given to this friendship, everything changes and progressively becomes as it should. The entirety of our spirituality is summarized in our interaction with God’s Holy Spirit.
So how does one go about the cultivation of this friendship? How can such a lofty idea become a present reality by means of practical application? How can we reduce this to everyday living? Though I am certain there are many more, I have discovered at least five keys, which I first wrote about in my book, “Carriers of the Glory”. But for the sake of this article’s length, I’ll go over just three keys.
#1 – Dependency
I travel across America and other nations preaching the gospel and praying for the sick. A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from an enthusiastic pastor. The pastor had called me in order to invite me to minister at his church. We spoke the usual chatter that finds itself in such a conversation. But, while nearing the end of our call, the pastor said something that shook me!
He spoke casually, “Brother David, I’m glad to be finally having you at my church. We’ve been waiting to bring you in.” My curiosity moved me to ask, “And for what specifically were you waiting?” He replied, “Well, I know you minister the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I wanted to wait until my people were ready for that next level.”
I don’t imagine that my response was entirely appropriate, but I guess I would, in this case, plead “Righteous Indignation”. I was forward when I asked, “And why on earth do you think the people shouldn’t hear about the Holy Spirit until they’re at the ‘next level’?”
He replied, “Well, brother David, I don’t want to freak people out.”
Dear reader, think about that.
Much of what we do in life and in ministry requires no spiritual power. Much of what we start is founded upon the natural. So if we don’t need the Holy Spirit to start it, we don’t need the Holy Spirit to sustain it; and that’s not a good thing.
The Holy Spirit is not a reward for the spiritually elite (if ever there was such a faction). He is not a prize for those who become spiritual; rather, He is our only hope at ever becoming, at ever even desiring to become spiritual.
The Holy Spirit is not a special guest speaker or a special event. The Holy Spirit is not a private prayer partner Who prays for the sick in back rooms, as to avoid frightening the visitors. The Holy Spirit is not a style of ministry; He is the cornerstone of all ministry.
If we are to befriend the Holy Spirit in a more meaningful way, we must become dependent upon Him – I mean desperately dependent upon Him.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you.” - Romans 8:11
I love that verse, and it’s of popular use. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit within us. However, think about what the verse implies in passing: the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus depended upon the Holy Spirit to raise Him from the dead. If Jesus depended upon the Holy Spirit, how much more should we?
We must move from treating the Holy Spirit like a liability and move to depending upon Him as our source. Depend upon Him; He knows best how to build a church, how to raise disciples and how to win the lost. We don’t know better; He does.
Now, to be fair, I’ll grant this: many have good reasons to become nervous when people use cliche suggestions like this:
“Let the Holy Spirit have His way.”
“We can’t be so structured.”
“We need to leave room for the Holy Spirit.”
Those points are valid. But different people mean different things when they say such phrases. In fact, people often just really mean to say, “I’m going to get wild and you’re a religious bigot if you try to stop me.” We must note that, spiritually speaking, being free is not the equivalent of being loony.
Now don’t misunderstand me. At my miracle services, whether you attend in person or watch via television, you’ll see people speaking in tongues, trembling under God’s power and even being slain in the Spirit (often even in the crowd, out of my sight). Believe me; I love the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I love when the glory of God manifests in tangible ways.
But if those who shy away from the Holy Spirit need to learn dependency, then those who insist on hand stands and dog barking need to learn reverence.
Reverence in any friendship is key.
So we must understand this: The Holy Spirit did not come to make you senseless and silly; He came to make you spiritually sharp. He came to empower world evangelism.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8
The Holy Spirit’s power can be ministered with class. There’s a beautiful, gentle air of Heavenly elegance about a move of God. He is not chaotically bizarre.
He is both classy and unifying. Sure, there are things that He does that will make you uncomfortable. But, in the church overall, there needs to be more reverence for the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit has helped me to grow in my trust for Him.
I recall a challenging week where I was fretting over lack of ministry finances. I did extra fundraising, but I wasn’t even getting close to what was needed. So, after I had exhausted all effort, I became anxious. The ministry’s financial needs were rising, and, at least for that week, the donations were dropping.
It was one of those “Lord, how are you going to do this?” moments.
I prayed and paced – paced and prayed. Suddenly, the Spirit spoke to my heart, “I’m going to take care of this need. Just trust me.” Those words were comforting, but I didn’t have the faith, in that moment, to receive them.
Thankfully, the Lord showed Himself able. One of my ministry donors was willing to help with the dip in donations and promised to send a check. I was immediately relieved. Despite my wavering, God was faithful.
But there was a deeper issue. The Holy Spirit again spoke to my heart, “Why did you have peace when a man promised to meet your needs but continue to worry when I promised to meet your needs? When you can trust in my promise more than you can trust in a man’s promise, I will be able to trust you with a greater measure.” “Lord”, I wondered, “How will I know when I trust you this way?” I heard in my spirit, “When you are just as relieved in hearing my promise as you are when you see a check.”
Since then, I’ve grown in my trust of the Holy Spirit. And, dear reader, He wants you too to grow in this kind of trust. And in trusting Him, you will experience a greater level of friendship with Him than ever before.