(By Epistle Marian Agbabokha)
- Understand who the holy spirit is to you
John 14:16 I will send you a comforter, the Holy Spirit and shall be in you and teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. As Christians we have to understand that where the word of God is spoken there is power and fulfillment of his word. Regardless of what we see, we know what God has said about our situation. There is the need to hold on to the word without a doubt as all we ask God for comes to pass. The grace to perform miracles is through the mercy and power of God and the holy spirit is the channel of the manifestation of the miracles we see today. Speak on a conscious level always to the holy spirit and you will always get all you want and even more
The Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, bears witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He is the source of personal testimony and revelation. He can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger. He is known as the Comforter, and He can calm our fears and fill us with hope. Through His power, we are sanctified as we repent, receive saving ordinances, and keep our covenants. It is through the influence of the Holy Ghost that we receive knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and feel their power, goodness, and love.
First things first. The Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity and as such is a person. The Spirit has attributes that only a person could have. He has intelligence (1 Cor 2:10-13), feelings (Eph 4:30), and a will (1 Cor 12:11; Acts 16:6-12). He prays (Rom 8:26). He does miracles (Acts 8:39). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). He can be insulted (Heb 10:29). He teaches and directs (John 14:26; Acts 8:29; Rom 8:14). Let’s look at two of these examples. In 1 Cor 12:11 Paul describes the Holy’s Spirit’s role in distributing spiritual gifts: “It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things” (1 Cor 12:11). Here the Holy Spirit is seen “deciding” what gifts to gift to each person. In other words, the Holy Spirit has a will, which is one characteristic of a person. In Acts 5:3 the Holy Spirit is directly equated with God. Here in the early formation of the church Peter is rebuking two individuals who state that they had given more than they actually had: “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!’” (Acts 5:3-4). Notice two aspects about these verses. The first is that the Holy Spirit is lied to. This means that the Holy Spirit is personal. You cannot lie to a table or to electricity because it is not a person. The second aspect is that lying to the Holy Spirit is equated with lying to God. This means that the Holy Spirit is God.
Every person who has been born again receives a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. Paul writes: “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all” (1 Cor 12:4, 7). This leads us to the very large topic of spiritual gifts and their use in the life of a believer. In some cases unfortunately this is a topic comes with a lot of questions and even controversy. Lists of spiritual gifts occur in Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. The gifts are listed in the order in which they are given.
Discernment of spirits
We can begin the process of studying spiritual gifts by describing points of clarity and agreement from 1 Corinthians 12-14. The first point is that each Christian has at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor 12:7). It’s not that some Christians have gifts and some don’t. Second, it’s the Holy Spirit who decides what gift(s) he gives to each person. We may want to have one gift or another but it’s the Holy Spirit who decides on the distribution (1 Cor 12:7-9). It’s not what we want but rather what he wants. Thirdly, gifts are to be used for the “benefit of all” (1 Cor 12:7). Gifts are not given primarily for the benefit of the gift holder but rather as a ministry for others. Spiritual gifts are not to be self-focused but rather others focused. Fourthly, not all people have the same gift. This is Paul’s point at the end of 1 Cor 12 where he asks a series of questions where the expected answer is no.5 For example, “Not all speak in tongues do they?” The answer is that no not all have the gift of tongues. Lastly, gifts are to be exercised in love. As Paul states, exercising gifts without love is like an annoyance of banging gongs or symbols (1 Cor 13:1).
Most evangelical Christians are at least somewhat aware that there are questions and points of difference and disagreement regarding spiritual gifts. For example, is God giving all gifts today, such as the gift of apostleship, prophecy, tongues, or healing? The gifts of apostleship and prophecy are foundational to the church and on which the church is built. Paul writes regarding the church “you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” (Eph 2:20; cf. Heb 2:3-4). One criteria of apostle in the early church is that the person saw the resurrected Jesus (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1). Unless Christ made a special appearance as he did to Paul on the road to Damascus this criteria would not be replicable today. There is no explicitly clear statement that some gifts have ceased but one must also compare the claim of possessing a certain gift with Scripture. What is the nature of the gift in the Bible? What is its purpose? How did or does it function? Comparing claims of how the various gifts operate with the Scripture itself is the best way to determine a claim’s validity or lack thereof. God can give any gift anywhere at anytime but the question to consider now is, “Is he giving all gifts today?” To answer this question, we need to compare the claim closely with the Scripture. Lastly, for most evangelicals even if one does not hold to all the gifts functioning today this does not rule out God doing miracles directly such as healing in response to prayer (James 5:13-18). My own view though is to be very cautious about accepting claims of apostleship or prophet or other “sign” or “revelatory” gifts. These were gifts of authority, infallible prediction, miracles/signs, and revelation that God used in the founding of the church.
The Post-Conversion Work of the Holy Spirit
What is the role of the Holy Spirit following conversion? The filling, empowering and guiding of the believer is included in this part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. While the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs once at conversion, the filling of the Spirit can happen multiple times after conversion and also is commanded. In Acts after Paul’s conversion we read, “But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at him” (Acts 13:9). Here the filling of the Spirit is at the forefront propelling Paul’s ministry and happens well after his conversion recorded in Acts 9. To the church at Ephesus Paul writes, “And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). Here the filling of the Spirit is given as a command to be followed. In this analogy the Spirit is compared negatively to wine. The point is don’t let wine control you but rather have the Holy Spirit do so. Closely related to being filled with the Spirit is being empowered with the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:16, 22-23). It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that enables Christians to live lives obedient to God. Lastly, not only does the Holy Spirit fill and empower but he also leads or guides the believer in Jesus Christ. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14).
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
A final area of discussion is that of some instances where the Holy Spirit is referred to in the Bible with a symbol. Four prominent symbols that refer to the Holy Spirit are the dove, fire, wind and water.6 Each one communicates something different about the Holy Spirit. When looking at a symbol, one must be careful to make sure the context is identifying the symbol with the referent you are considering in this case the Holy Spirit. For example, even though the Holy Spirit is identified with a dove in Matt 3:16 it would be an interpretive mistake to see the Holy Spirit in every place a dove is referred to in the Bible. In Genesis 8:8 Noah sends out a dove to see if the flood waters had receded, but one should not interpret this as Noah sending out the Holy Spirit.
Probably the most recognizable symbol of the Holy Spirit is the dove that appeared at the baptism of Jesus. It is recorded in all four gospels (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). Matthew writes, “After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him” (Matt 3:16). The dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit communicates beauty, gentleness, and peace. The dove also comes from above, perhaps suggesting coming from heaven.
Another symbol of the Holy Spirit is fire. In the Bible, fire can communicate the Lord’s presence (Exod 3:2), purification (1 Pet 1:7) or judgment (Lev 10:2; Heb 12:29) depending on the context. The most explicit passage that refers to the Holy Spirit as fire is in Acts 2. “Now when the day of Pentecost had come, . .tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1-4). In a similar analogy, Paul commands the Thessalonians, “Do not quench the Spirit” (NASB; I Thess 5:19). Disobedience to the Spirit is like throwing water on a fire.
The Greek word for Spirit (pneuma) can also be translated as breath or wind. Perhaps then it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit is seen and compared to as wind. Two verses in the New Testament communicate this.8 In Acts 2:4 Luke writes, “Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting.” And in John 3:8, John describes, “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The image of wind communicates that the Holy Spirit is powerful, invisible, immaterial and sovereignly blows where he intends.9
Lastly, water is also an image of the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes this explicit connection on one of the feast days of Israel. “On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, `From within him will flow rivers of living water.’ (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:37-39). As physical fresh water is needed for physical life, the living water of the Holy Spirit is needed for spiritual life.
- Learn to hear the voice of God clearly
When you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, you are one with him and he will always talk to you if you are willing and ready, a lot of us today do not have the patience to wait and hear God, and so we think or believe that he does not speak , or only chooses to speak to specific people. God has showed us in the old and new testament that he talks to us and wants to communicate with us always .there so many mysteries that the holy spirit wants us to know about and this can only come to reality if we are willing and anxious to love him and commune with him
- Learn to enter Gods presence
When we are entered into the presence of God everything is struggle free, we just say the word and there is instant unction action Gods word is true and is always fulfilled and looking at the scriptures where the presence of God is there is fullness of joy this confirms his word. Christians are to live a struggle free life but do we believe that it exists and if it does have we accessed this form of living where the angels provide for all our needs and wants
The Ministry (CTIM)
Ministry means “service”. We are all called to serve one another (Galatians 5:13) with whatever gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8).
The Holy Spirit inspires us to be the best and so every successful ministry is a product of the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to do God work, this is an honor and a call to service. The Holy Spirit gives gifts, anoints, leads and empowers Gods servant to be successful in Ministry.
We understand that we need the presence and the power of the holy spirit for the success of our ministry, or else we cannot continue in flesh , he stamps out discouragement, burn out, politics, negative circumstances(including financial), sin, or sickness. We must understand from the beginning that our work is for Gods eternal purpose, so we donot rely on our selves, as the holy spirit encourages us when we are down and he gives us joy in times of adversity.“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’. (Luke 4:14-19, NIV)We have already seen how central the Holy Spirit was to Jesus’ life and all He did and so the holy spirit is for CTIM
There is no confusion when the Holy Spirit leads (1 Corinthians 14:33). He helps our prayer life and promises to guide us (Romans 8:26, 27; Ephesians 6:18). Ministry should be a response to that direction.
Leadership skills no one wants but is vital for Leaders
He gives spiritual authority to leaders. People often confuse natural authority and spiritual authority. Spiritual authority is not “power” or force, hierarchy or demand-driven unquestioning accountability, which can lead to intimidation, competition (“size matters”) and exploitation. Spiritual authority is influence; it is demonstrated through humility and service. Headship is not meant to be domination.
When God’s servants rely on human capabilities to exercise leadership they (may) succeed on one level because of natural talent, personality, education, circumstances, or positional authority (eg title), but the fruit is often not from God. This can lead to excessive reliance on networking, pride, abuse of authority, or uncritical adoption of secular “management approaches” instead of the authority that comes from God in connection with being set apart by Him for a unique purpose.
Nevertheless, the responsibility of every Christian is to submit to Christ and to leadership God has placed over them, in His purposes, and trust Him for the outcome.
Genuine spiritual authority is transformational. It always ends up with people being directed to Christ, glorifying God and being changed as they grow in their relationship with Him and with one another.
He speaks into the life of the church, “I will hear what the Lord will speak” (Psalm 85:8)
What is the Holy Spirit saying? How do we know? Spiritual leaders should always be able to speak on God’s behalf to His people. However, they will not be the only conduits through whom He communicates. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2 and 3) He provides clear direction, opening and closing doors according to His will. There is no confusion when the Holy Spirit leads (1 Corinthians 14:33). He helps our prayer life and promises to guide us (Romans 8:26, 27; Ephesians 6:18). Ministry should be a response to that direction. When the Spirit opens doors, He produces results in line with God’s will (1 Corinthians 2:10).
He gives His servants supernatural boldness
Boldness to speak in God’s name cannot afford to stem from self-confidence. When Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit made him bold. Paul attributed his boldness to God.
He gives supernatural love for God’s ‘flock’ even in difficult times. Many servants of God give up because of people. It can be difficult to love others when we feel betrayed or unappreciated, or our efforts are not yielding the results we wish for. The Spirit pours God’s “agape” love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), which is greater than every human dimension of love (see also Romans 15:30).
He gives supernatural discernment about peoples’ needs. Jesus did this all the time. God expects us to use the faculties He has given us, but there will be times when human wisdom alone will not give insight into what people are going through, or the answers they really need. We should ask the Holy Spirit for that insight.
He gives supernatural discernment about spiritual challenges facing the church. Even when others do not perceive underlying issues/causes (read Acts Chapter 5 and 13:8-12). This can include attack, or understanding what lies behind developments in individual lives and the Ministry corporately.
Spiritual challenges are not accurately perceived or dealt with by human intellect or emotion. They require wisdom and the kind of insight mentioned already, that comes from the Holy Spirit. With that insight comes guidance as to how to respond.
Christian ministry is not just about teaching, it is also about the message “getting through” (including when we do not use words); this is a supernatural act, so that the message does not bounce off peoples’ minds or become limited to intellectual consideration. God’s Word is “…. living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) People without God are spiritually blind and deaf; they need to be “drawn” to Him and given the capacity to hear, see and understand, repent of sin and turn around.
The work of the Spirit is to make this happen. He provides “correction“ Everyone involved in (any kind of) ministry can make mistakes or need correction. If we are humble and have “ears to hear” what He is saying, the Holy Spirit can correct us when we go in a wrong direction, make a wrong decision, or start to entertain sin in our minds. If we are prepared to listen to Him, we will save ourselves a lot of heartache, time, resources and negative consequences. He anoints us, so the results are His, not ours. This does not mean we do not need to work for results (study, plan, press through difficult issues, work with people, put in long hours), but remain aware that the results have to be from God, 1 Corinthians 3:5-7. The outcome is not about “us”, but about God’s purposes and glory. He is the ‘spiritual’ side of our ministry. Ministry is not a human “activity”, a 9-5 vocation, but a developed lifestyle and a choice.
“A true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit works in and through him/her to a greater degree than in those he/she leads.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)