Many people misunderstand what and who the Holy Spirit is. Few realize that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit during Baptism (not Confirmation). Few recognize that the Holy Spirit is actually living within each of us (and cannot be removed), and His temple is our body (which is why we are to keep our temples clean and sinless). And few understand that we are given different gifts of the Holy Spirit but we use all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (yes, there is a difference) to keep us on the right path, live a life for God and provides an example for others to follow.
Let’s learn more about this Third Person of the Trinity, the Person who knows YOU best!
Before we begin I want to let you know, Sophia Press has an awesome new book from Dr. Kevin Vost titled The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, where much more can be learned about receiving and using these transcendent gifts. Give it a look.
1. It’s the GREATEST gift
The greatest gift God has given to us is true love poured out and given freely, the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we did to receive this gift, and there is nothing we can do for God to take it back. This is why there is only one Baptism – we can only receive the gift one time and it is ours forever. It is our choice to accept and use the gift.
2. The Holy Spirit has a role
In turn, it is the Holy Spirit that pour’s out God’s love into the world. We can struggle on our own trying to find our own happiness, but once we realize God’s love is free and what gives true happiness, we can finally accept that we don’t have to prove ourselves or our goodness to Him. We can rest in the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through us.
3. Jesus delivered the Holy Spirit
Even though the Holy Spirit was around during the Old Testament, Jesus promised after his death to send the Counselor who would indwell us. Instead of just being given the Holy Spirit during certain times during our life, we have the Holy Spirit living within us, guidings us to do right wherever we go.
4. He knows us better than we know ourselves
We may live in denial of a sin, but just like God who is all knowing, so is the Holy Spirit all knowing (the Third Person, ya know). It is the Holy Spirit that gives us that “funny feeling” that something is wrong. Ask Him to show you where you may be living in denial and change your ways.
5. It does many things
Here are just a few of the amazing things the Holy Spirit has done throughout the Bible and for us still:
- Numbers 11 – The Spirit rested on the seventy elders and they prophesized.
- Judges 3 – The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and allowed him to deliver the Israelites from the Cushites giving them 40 years of rest.
- 1 Samuel 10 – The Spirit of the Lord possessed Samuel and put him into a prophetic frenzy.
- Isaiah 11 – Isaiah prophesied all of the gifts of the Spirit will be given to the “shoot of Jesse.”
- Ezekiel 11 & 36 – The Spirit removes the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh.
- Mark 2 – The Spirit gives us the ability to read hearts.
- Luke 1 – The Spirit came upon Mary, and conceived Jesus, and allowed Elizabeth and John the Baptist to know when Jesus was near.
- Luke 2 – The Holy Spirit rested on Simeon so that he could prophesize to Mary.
- Luke 4 – The Holy Spirit led Jesus, and he followed.
- Luke 6 (and throughout the New Testament) – The Holy Spirit cures the sick and drives out the unclean spirits.
- John 14 – Jesus tells us the Spirit of truth will “abide with you and he will be in you.”
- Acts 2 – The Holy Spirit gave the apostles the ability to speak in all languages, and gave Peter the words and confidence to preach the Gospel in the Temple.
- Acts 7 – The Holy Spirit gave Stephen the words to proclaim Salvation History and the strength to endure being stoned.
- Revelation 1 – The Spirit showed St. John what is to come which is written in Revelation.
The Holy Spirit still gives us the gifts to speak the truth and continue the work that Jesus began, which is to bring us closer to God.
6. There are gifts
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are those which help us to live for God and help in spreading the message of the love of God. These are:
- wisdom – to know the difference between good and evil
- understanding – the ability to know who God is and accepting the gift of faith
- counsel – being able to tell others right from wrong and explain who God is
- knowledge – being able to gather and recite facts and information about God
- fortitude – courage to face evil without backing away from godly values
- piety – to live a live pleasing to God, reverence for the Lord
- fear of the Lord (wonder) – not to be “afraid” of God, but awe and wonder about who God is and natural curiosity to want to know more about who God is.
St. Paul explains to the Corinthians that each of these gifts is given differently to each one of us, but are all from the one God. For example, I may be able to understand the Bible, whereas you may be able to speak many tongues (1 Corinthians 12). We are all given different gifts so that we may all participate in furthering the Kingdom of God.
7. It is through the Spirit that we are adopted
The Holy Spirit is like our ‘letter of adoption’ into the family of God. St. Paul writes, “When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:15b-17). Just as a child is adopted fully into a family, we become full family members with Christ. This is all done during the Sacrament of Initiation, Baptism, which welcomes us into the Church family.
8. There are also fruits
We are each given the fruits of the Holy Spirit, although we may not always put them on full display. These fruits are the attributes of God: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It is our job to work with the Holy Spirit to perfect these gifts so that we may be holy examples to others.
9. The Holy Spirit can be invited
During our lives, we suppress the voice of the Holy Spirit and live on our own understanding. Stop doing this! Be still, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to pour forth the love of God, bringing joy, peace and the presence of God and stir something in you.
Only the Holy Spirit can prompt your heart to say ‘Father.’ Only the Holy Spirit opens your heart to love.
Come Holy Spirit, come.
If you love this, you’ll love the new book from Dr. Kevin Vost titled The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, where much more can be learned about receiving and using these transcendent gifts.