The Holy Spirit Waits
The Holy Spirit, fully God, is all too easy to ignore. He is gentle, speaks softly, and does not push himself into our lives. As my friend used to say, “He is a gentleman”. He is polite and kind and good, but he waits for us to invite him in, then to acknowledge and appreciate his presence, to learn to hear his voice, and, finally, to obey whatever he directs us to do.
Puritan writer John Owen gives some specific instruction for cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit, our comforter, guide, and helper.
First, Owen says, we must have faith in Him:
We must believe the he really does dwell within us and desires to be actively involved in our lives. We take our faith in him to the next level when we learn to trust him enough to obey whatever he says.
Then, Owen says, we should take notice of His kindness:
The Holy Spirit does some really good things for us and does not “blow his own horn,” so to speak. Instead he waits to be noticed and appreciated. What kinds of things should we look for?
His presence. He is with us always, never leaves. Let’s pay attention to the sense that he is there. Talk to him, ask him questions, thank him. Keep the conversation going.
His actions. He opens doors, he communicates great concepts to us in ways we can understand, he is good, and kind, and loving. Watch for it – you will see his hand everywhere in your life.
Then, we should give him praise:
When we notice good things that “happen” to us, we should immediately turn to thank the Holy Spirit.
In our praise, we not only thank him, but, Owen says, we also should reverence him, rejoice in him, preserve and keep holy our bodies for his habitation, and take care not to grieve him.
Owen also reminds us that we should pray to him for consolation:
Do you ever feel sad, depressed, or filled with grief? Turn to the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to him as the Comforter. He has been sent, in part, to bring us comfort. Jesus knows firsthand how hard it is to live in this world, how many trials we can face, and he, in his grace, sent the Spirit to comfort us in times of distress. We just need to ask him to bring his consolation to our souls.
You will be surprised at the varieties of his answer: sometimes a friend stops in, or a verse of Scripture or an old hymn comes to mind. Or you have an insightful dream or just a restful night’s sleep. There are many, many ways in which the Holy Spirit brings comfort to our souls.
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."- John 14:16-17
*Several points taken from the following:
John Owen, Communion with God (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications), pp. 413-418.