By Dan Wilt, Crosswalk.com
Over the years, after a message or conference talk on the Holy Spirit, I’ve spoken to many people asking a singular, pressing question. That heartfelt question is often blurted out, half in exasperation and half in desperation, as if the mysterious, elusive answer may never come their way:
“I want to experience a life full of the Holy Spirit and walking with the Holy Spirit—but how do I actually do that on a daily basis?”
It’s a great and important question, deserving a thorough, thoughtful answer. In some cases, these honest followers of Jesus may feel as though they are somehow spiritually flawed if they don’t have a rich, ongoing awareness of the Holy Spirit’s activity and perceived closeness in their lives.
If that is you, you are not flawed, friend. Cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit is a lifelong journey of learning, for every believer, a relationship that requires daily attention and care to grow.
Expectation, Listening, and Trust
As a fellow sojourner, learning to walk in and with and by the Holy Spirit, my answer usually goes something like this:
“The Holy Spirit is God, a Person as much as a Mystery, carrying God’s loving presence and transforming power into our lives. The Holy Spirit is also in us (Rom. 8:11) and with us (John 14:16-17)—as close as our breath and as present as the Spirit is promised to be (John 15:26). If we
- begin our day with the awareness that we are already experiencing the Holy Spirit, and
- move through our day listening and responding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, and then
- close our day, trusting we’ve experienced the Spirit’s presence,
then we will experience a growing daily relationship with the Holy Spirit.”
Those three words—awareness, listening, and trust—will take us far on the journey of growing in intimate fellowship with the Person of the Holy Spirit.
How to Make a Relationship with the Spirit Part of Your Everyday Life
Let’s look at each one of these for a moment. Each of the following assumes we are a follower of Jesus, eagerly desire to be like him, to learn what it means to be his beloved, and to help others to experience his love for them. If that’s you, try these three steps starting today.
1. Begin Your Day… Aware
Every day, we can assume the Spirit (who has the same character as the Father and the Son) will do what the Spirit always does—convey the love of the Father to our hearts (Gal. 4:6), bring God’s loving, peace-giving, and creative order to the chaos of life (Gen. 1:2), empower our natural gifts for God’s glory (Ex. 31:1-6; ), give us wisdom as we move through the day (Eph. 1:17), show us how to live in the way of Jesus—the way of love (1 Cor. 13:1-7)—and so much more.
If we start each day saying, “Holy Spirit, I am aware of You, and I expect to notice all that you are already doing today,” we are in the right posture to experience a close partnership with the God who reveals himself to us.
2. Walk Through Your Day… Listening
What if you and I assume, every day, that the Holy Spirit is moving, acting, and speaking—and our invitation is to perceive, discern, and listen for partnership opportunities? The Spirit is in us (Col. 1:27), our guarantee of the New Creation to come (2 Cor. 5:5). The Holy Spirit is speaking to us through God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:14-17) and through the way and life of Jesus (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is empowering us with the Father’s love (Rom. 8:14-15), and speaking to us through impressions and insights (Acts 20:20-22).
When we are aware of the fruits of the Spirit growing in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23), we can and will be used in the great symphony of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7). The Holy Spirit is also always looking to bring God’s loving order to chaos—the messes—all around us. We can play our part with the Spirit in the lead!
If we walk through the day assuming that God is moving, acting, and speaking, and we have our “sails up” to catch the Spirit’s wind that’s always blowing, we can act with intention in the lives of others and trust the Spirit will work in and through us.
3. Conclude Your Day… Trusting
When your head hits the pillow every night, what do you allow to run through your mind—worries and cares about the day, thoughts about how adequate or inadequate you were in your work or relationships, or warmed-over scenes from the streaming series you are currently binging (I say all this from experience)?
What if we gave Jesus those precious bedtime hours, intentionally and thankfully recounting in our minds what the Spirit was doing in us that day—in transforming our character (Gal. 5:22-23), ministering through us in the lives of others (1 Cor. 13:1-7), and healing us as one Body with the faithful, who the Father has loved with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)?
If we conclude our day trusting that the Spirit has moved in that day, and that the Spirit will be with us in the night and moving as we wake, then we will begin to find ourselves encountering the Holy Spirit with far greater frequency than we did before.
The Holy Spirit Wants This More Than You Do
You can have a unique, daily relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is part of your inheritance with the saints. And the delightful truth is that the Holy Spirit wants this relationship more than we do!
If your heart is set on following Jesus, knowing the Father becoming His own, and walking forward into who He has designed you to be as His child, applying these three steps each day will help your relationship with the Spirit to flourish—for decades to come.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ipopba
Dan Wilt is the author of Receive the Holy Spirit: A 70-Day Journey through the Scriptures (Seedbed), and is a speaker, author, worship leader, and poet. He and his wife live outside of Nashville, TN, and love to watch the Holy Spirit work in mysterious ways in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
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