Asher Witmer

rediscovering Jesus

The God Who Scares Us what should we do with the Holy Spirit?

A.W. Tozer said, “What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So, when you think about God, what comes to your mind?

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The Judeo-Christian God is one God—Yahweh. He is the only true God. There is none other. But as we see in the Scriptures, while Yahweh is one God, he is also three distinct persons. Three in one: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you probably understand God the Father as Creator, sovereign over everything, and the Person behind the events of life. And Jesus, the incarnation of Yahweh—we love Him because He totally reshaped the theological landscape of His day. Because of Jesus, we now have bold and confident access to the direct presence of Yahweh (Heb. 4:16). Jesus was and is our perfect, once-for-all sacrifice, tearing down the wall of partition so all mankind can enter into God’s presence (Eph. 2:14).

But most of us aren’t sure what do with the Holy Spirit. In fact, many are flat-out scared of Him!

Maybe that sounds a little strong, but as I observe Christians today, I tend to think it’s true.

The Holy Spirit is mysterious. We’re not exactly sure what its role is in our lives.

Yes, we understand that God spoke through the Holy Spirit to prophets of old, as well as the apostles who recorded the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:21). We see how being born again only happens because of the Spirit of God, not the result of clever speech (John 3:8, 1 Cor. 2:4).

But what about the believer’s life today? What role does the Holy Spirit have in the Christian walk, right now?

What role should He have?

And why don’t we hear many people talking about Him? We have classes on theology and Christology. But what about pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit)? When was the last time you heard a preacher speak on the Holy Spirit over the pulpit? I don’t ask this to criticize preachers or Bible schools, I ask this to bring to show how it seems we don’t know what to do with Him.

He’s the God who scares us.

And rightfully so. Perhaps, through the Holy Spirit we get in touch with the otherness of Jehovah. Maybe that’s what frightens us.

But I tend think we are more afraid of the Holy Spirit because of misrepresentations of Him, then anything else. We’re not sure those who think they know a lot about the Holy Spirit actually do.

But is that reason to ignore Him?

What is the Holy Spirit? And what does He do?

Jesus called Him a comforter or helper (John 14:16). He said the Holy Spirit will “bring to remembrance all that He commanded us, as well as guide us into all truth.” (John 16:13) What does that mean?

Paul told us the Holy Spirit is our seal (Eph. 1:13). A sign, so to speak, of our salvation. But what does that mean? And how does one know the Holy Spirit is in his life?

Will he begin doing miracles? Will he begin speaking in tongues or be “slain in the spirit”?

Does that have anything to do with the Holy Spirit?

Was the Holy Spirit only something that spoke to and worked through the apostles and prophets, but no longer speaks to or works through specific people, today?

Is the Holy Spirit something we can just kind of keep in the peripheral and still make it to Heaven? Or is He essential to salvation? Is it imperative, if we are to fulfill the call of Christ on our lives, that we embrace God’s Spirit regardless of how it leads us to live and relate?

Whether or not this was intentional, many churches in America have sidelined the Holy Spirit. He’s too mysterious to understand, so we’ve set Him off in a corner or tried desperately to control Him.

Scripture actually has a lot to say about the Holy Spirit. In fact, He seems to be the active presence of God throughout all of history, beginning “with the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:1). Paul said that we receive God’s love through the Holy Spirit (Ro. 5:5), which is the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead (Ro. 8:11). Furthermore, Jesus warned that whoever “blasphemes” the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10). Whatever the Holy Spirit is seems to be a really big deal to the Christian life.

Over the last year or so, many have asked if I would write on the Holy Spirit.

I feel ridiculously ill-equipped. I’ve tried touching on it in articles in the past, some of which were misunderstood or communicated improperly. More than anything, those articles have demonstrated to me how little we know about Him.

Many millennials are wanting to understand God’s Spirit better. I think that’s wonderful. But I also think some of us expect our discovery of Him to radically change something about Christianity. And maybe it will. I don’t know. I just know there are many thoughts and ideas about the Holy Spirit, and not all of them seem in-line with Scripture.

But ignoring Him, not facing the possibility of having our perspective of God rattled and reshaped, is not an answer. That only limits our understanding of God, and therefore, our relationship with Him.

So, I’ve been going back to Scripture and trying to understand the Holy Spirit from God’s perspective, not from what I’ve heard and been taught before. As a part of this process, and in helping other discover God at a deeper level, I will write out what I’m finding. Not as a continuous series, so much, but a post two or three times a month.

I invite you to join me as I process “aloud.”

Let’s journey together as we rediscover, in a sense, Jehovah by rediscovering (or discovering) His Holy Spirit. I’d love to hear your questions about the Holy Spirit, if you have any. What your thoughts about Him. What are your fears?

And maybe your thoughts and fears aren’t about the Holy Spirit, but about people who seem to be really close to the Holy Spirit (or people who want nothing to do with Him). Share those too. Because we’re not going to hide anything. We’re not going to accept cliché mantra.

We’re going to dig into God’s Word and do our best to gain a fuller, truer understanding of the God who, at the moment, may plain freak us out.

We may discover that’s actually a good thing.

So, what your thoughts, questions, concerns? Let’s talk about it in the comments. And if you want to know as soon as my next post on the Holy Spirit comes out, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything. 😉

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About Asher Witmer

I am a son of God, husband, father, and difference maker. I love helping people sort through hard questions they face and rediscover Jesus. I have written three eBooks dealing with church frustrations, and send out daily posts addressing faith, church and relationships.