I feel like the ‘juicy’ topics these days, especially for us youth are all the ones to do with raves/music/drinking and boys/girls, relationships/marriage etc etc which let me clarify are very important things to understand concerning the Christian lifestyle. There seems to be however a lot of blurred lines within these topics (unfortunately) and as interesting as the debates can get, we can lose sight of the real issue.
There are atheists who don’t drink or go clubbing or sleep around purely due to their own principles. You don’t need to be a believer to decide to forgive someone or to obey your parents. People live life without God and demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit without even realising.
What separates a Christian from someone else then?
It’s the relationship you have with God, as cliché and basic as that sounds. All the other decisions come as a result of you wanting to please Him because of that existing relationship. You don’t tend to do things for people, especially make hard sacrifices that go against your natural desires, unless there is a relationship you have built that you wish to maintain with them.
Relationship with God- by that I mean in terms of, all that He is.
You’ve got God- everyone knows him. The UK habitually recites He saves the Queen if anything. Jesus is born in primary school nativity plays and then there’s the Holy Spirit.
What even is the Holy Spirit…? To me it used to feel like some sort of…thing…just lurking around I dunno. But He’s not a thing or a dove or a shiver down your spine during praise and worship. He has a mind and a will. He can be insulted and lied to and he comforts and teaches. He’s emotional. Just like people.
Paul knew and understood this when he was writing his letter to the church, emphasising the role of each one in our lives:
2 Corinthians 13:14- ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.’
It’s a package deal (parts not sold separately), all with their respective roles. The Holy Spirit’s role of communion i.e. fellowship, displays the intimacy he should have in our lives. Jesus is not physically here anymore and is sitting beside his Father in heaven (Acts 1). It’s the Spirit that we have by our side and we’re missing out if we don’t realise this.
When do we know…that we know the Holy Spirit?
- We can recognise His voice
In Acts Ch 8, Philip can tell the difference between the Spirit’s voice and an angel’s. Verse 26:- ‘Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go towards the south…”’. Just 3 verses later he now realises that the voice has switched to the Spirit talking:- ‘Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot”’.
Neither instructions are very distinctive. It’s not like one was to kill his whole family and the dog too that he thought hmm let me double check. The angel could have easily said both in the same way that the Spirit could have said both, but he still knew who was who. Discernment isn’t just knowing what God has said and what the devil has said. Aside from the two extremes, there are voices within the ‘good’ side that we should distinguish between.
- We can speak on his behalf
If you’re planning a surprise party for someone, (using practical examples because it helps to compare), obviously you can’t call them to ask who they want to come. Most likely you’ll be the one making the decisions, sorting out the food and music in terms of what you know they’d like. That’s only because you know them. Otherwise it’s just a painful guessing game that no one asked you to play. It’s the same way lawyers can go to meetings and speak on behalf of their client. There’s an element of trust and a mutual understanding of what each other wants.
Acts 15:28:- ‘For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us…’, this verse demonstrates how although yes it seemed good to them, they knew that the Holy Spirit would also approve. It ‘seemed good’- there’s no certainty here but they are able to accurately represent Him without Him having to speak for himself.
Do not grieve Him
When I was younger this Matthew 12:32 verse used to scareee me- ‘Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come’. Like what’d you mean? I didn’t know what the Spirit was let alone how to not offend and be doing irreversible damage. The Bible is all about forgiveness and how we should forgive others because God forgave us and yet here it says not now not ever will you be forgiven if you speak against the Holy Spirit. You can see the protectiveness here. God can take the blasphemy of this World, Jesus can take the nails to the cross but you will not be forgiven if you try anything with the Spirit. Like if someone slaps me I might be alright but slap my Mum and for your own health and safety I would really just no I’m joking, just trying to make a point (serious prayer and fasting to tame my soul there though let’s not be pretending).
The Spirit is relatable to us humans and very present and around us, should we invite Him in. A cheque in your name only counts once you’ve cashed it in- claim your inheritance and claim what God has given to you. Get involved with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s like a love triangle. Except everyone actually likes everyone and there’s no inner jealously. Yeah, it’s not a love triangle, it’s a compatible square. The ultimate group chat that no – one leaves or airs.