How does the Holy Spirit assist and guide us to help others?
A guide by Karen Newbould
This guide will first look at God and the Holy Trinity. Then it will explain how the Holy Spirit resides in us, before going on to describe how he assists and guides us to help others.
The actual existence of God is a question that has been asked since time began and it is possibly the most debated subject known to man. People of faith believe in a god, and there are many different faiths with many different gods: Hinduism, Islam, Budism, Judaism and Christianity to name just a few. Within Christianity there are many different denominations; some would argue that the differences in worship or teaching are extremely important, while others would say that as long as we believe in the Holy Trinity and accept that Christ died for us then that is all that is required to be saved. The writer personally recognises the different denominations but does not feel that they are so important. If you are a Christian, then that’s what counts!
According to the Bible, and Bible believing Christians, God is creator of the universe: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Gensis 1:1-2.
According to Wikipedia the concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. (Wikipedia:God)
The Holy Trinity
The Holy Trinity is described as God in three persons but “how can God be three persons, yet one God?” is a question which has a whole chapter devoted to it in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: an introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Here Grudem describes God’s attributes and states that they belong to all three: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. His description of attributes include: eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinitely wise, infinitely holy, infinitely loving and omniscient. Grudem goes on to “define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exist as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” p 226 Grudem:IVP (2007)
Holy Spirit Residing In Us
When a person becomes a Christian they would normally pray (whether out loud or silently within our hearts) for God to forgive the past wrong doings and invite Him in to reside in us. An example of this prayer is “Father, I recognise my need for your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive Him right now” Evangelism Intervarsity (2015).
As Christians (followers of Christ) we should be striving to be more and more Christ-like each day and the purpose of God sending us His Holy Spirit is to enable us, with His help, to be like Him.
Holy Spirit’s Guidance
There are many references in the bible which describe how God helps us by way of His Spirit. Paul states “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) John goes on to say “But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own: he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13) In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he reminds us that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13 and when we are weak and do not know what to pray, Roman’s 8:26 tells us that the Spirit knows and intercedes on our behalf. This is great news. The Holy Spirit knows us well and is able to give us power, truth, and strength, amongst other great qualities and gifts of the spirit which enable us to live our lives as we ought as committed followers of Christ.
The writer believes that the way in which the Holy Spirit communicates with us is through the mind; He nudges our conscience when indicating an act of good will towards others. Listening to God is like listening to anyone – before you can hear Him, you must be ready to listen. “Listening to God requires a right attitude in our hearts. In order to listen to God and receive His instruction, we must want to do His will, much as Habakkuk did.” Cawley (2011). This desire is mentioned in Psalm 40 verse 8 “I desire to do you will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Having this attitude will certain assist us in acting on what God is asking us to do. It is one thing to hear God, but another entirely to actually act on it. The writer acknowledges times when she feels that God or His Spirit has prompted her to do a good deed and maybe due to time pressure, for example, on route to work, she has not acted on the prompting. Often, if we do not do what we feel God asks us to, we may feel slightly guilty for effectively “disobeying” God. There have been other times when the writer has acted on a prompting to do something nice for others and on completion of the act, she has noticed that she felt blessed for blessing the other person.
So God will prompt us to do good works through faith in Him, and through His Spirit He will empower us to carry them out, as He did David when he was anointed King “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). As James points out, “faith without works is dead” James 2:14-26.
Christians are encouraged to read their Bibles daily in order to hear from God as it is His living word, and the Holy Spirit assists in interpreting the passage being read on that day. Quite often we can read the same passage over and over again, and it may speak to us differently depending on what’s going on in our lives at that time. We all tend to have our own favourite verses too which give us comfort during difficult or trying times, and those same verses are available to us to share with others to help and encourage them.
This guide has looked at God, His personality in respect of the Holy Trinity and how He communicates with us through the Holy Spirit.
We have seen how the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us and God promises never to leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us (Acts) and to help us, it is entirely our choice as to whether we a) trust Him, and b) obey Him.
Finally we have seen how God communicates with us through the Bible and His Holy Spirit prompting us to do good works. He does not just leave it there: He provides us the power, wisdom and skills to be able to carry the good works out, according to His will. When we act on God’s prompting not only do we bless others, we are blessed too!
En.wikipedia.org (accessed 21/01/2016)
How to listen like Jesus for meaningful spiritual conversations: Luke Cawley (2011)
Systematic Theology: an introduction to Biblical Doctrine: Wayne Grudem (2007)
Life Application Study Bible, New International Version: Zondervan (1984)