“Holy Spirit-our Strength, our Comfort, our Helper and Guide”
[Line 3 from “Morning Prayer”]
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” — Romans 5:5
Paul in his letter to the Romans points to a key identity and role of the Holy Spirit in our lives; and it’s not merely the emotional “good vibrations” that come during times of public worship. Although people will often say things like “the Spirit was present” during such times, it is also relatively easy to elicit similar emotional reactions through a variety of carefully orchestrated “emotive buttons.” When we based the work and presence of the Holy Spirit on an emotional reaction or some other pre-determined set of actions and reactions, we can be can probably assume that what is being observed in not the Spirit at work.
The presence and work of the Holy Spirit is something very different. We should not deny that the Spirit can and does work in the midst of energetic, emotionally charged, and so-called “spirit-filled” times of worship…but we also cannot deny that it is just as likely that ordinary, seemingly mundane, moments are also regularly filled with the Spirit’s presence and work.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
— Romans 5:5
The work of the Spirt in the life of the believer is to encourage, strengthen, and empower one to carry out the purpose and mission for which one has been called, both collectively (as part of the Church) and individually (the specific plan that God has for individuals). For Paul, the key to that purpose began with God love being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit works in our lives as a conduit of God’s love to us as well as being the One who emboldens, empowers, and encourages us to shower the world around us cooling mist of Christlike love.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
—Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
The Spirit is living and active in the life of the Church as Comforter, Helper, and Guide as well as the One who convicts and converts. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture in ages past, inspired its compilation, editing, and canonization, and inspires all who read and meditate on it through all time and in all places. But it is love—the same love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit—that is the natural, spontaneous, uncontrived, not-manipulated, holy fruit of the authentic follower of Jesus Christ. The same love is the beginning of point of every other fruit that Paul gives—joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Where is the Holy Spirit living and active? Follow the trail of fruit.