By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
Today’s blog post is an excerpt from my new ebook, Who Is the Holy Spirit: How You Can Hear From Him. In this ebook I talk about the Spirit’s role as our Friend, Helper, Purifier, Teacher, and Guide. Be sure to download the entire ebook!
For many summers, Dennis and I attended annual training events in Colorado as part of our work with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru). We took our entire family, and we usually tacked on a week of vacation in the mountains.
This conference supplied childcare and youth camps for all the kids, so I was usually able to attend all the adult meetings. It was a great gift to me as a mom of six. But normal family challenges followed us west every summer. I learned that vacations or trips away from home are never free from selfishness, sin, or childhood sickness.
One summer all our kids got chicken pox; every two weeks another one or two developed the tell-tale rash. It was a long summer for me.
On one of these days in the summer of 1985 I wrote in my journal:
“I really wanted to go to the meetings today especially because this is the day of praise and worship. But here I am in the apartment being a mother to a sick child. Mothering doesn’t stop. Their needs don’t stop. Once again I am isolated and my husband is not. I’m not feeling sorry for myself … this time. I know I can worship anywhere. I’m sorting out my feelings about how to know closeness with God as a mom.”
I was always inspired by speakers and missionaries who told stories of God’s work around the world. But on that day I began to wonder why I never heard a woman—specifically a mother—stand on stage and share how she experienced God in her life with her children, in her home. It seemed to be a void.
I asked, “If the Holy Spirit dwells in and with me and other Christian mothers I know, how do I see Him work in my life, in my sometimes very little unexciting world?” That question lodged itself in my thinking, and it began an ongoing quest to learn more about the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the Bible there are verses which mention the plurality of God—that He is One yet three persons. In the first chapter of Genesis it is written, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). His unity and oneness is again evident in the very next verse: “So God created man in his own image … male and female he created them.” The Spirit is a member of the Trinity … eternal and fully God, as is the Son and the Father.
The Holy Spirit was equally involved in creation, for it says in Genesis 1:2, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” His presence in the workings of God from these first pages to the end of the Bible is evident in many other verses.
But we learn specific details about Him when Jesus explained to His disciples what the Spirit would do for them after Jesus departed to go back to the Father. Many of those descriptors are found in the book of John in chapters 14 and 16.
Did you know that having the Holy Spirit is better than having the physical person of Jesus? That may sound strange to say, but Jesus said it Himself:
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
Jesus was confined to a body when He lived on earth. He could only be in a single place at a time. But the Spirit is in every place around the globe where a believer is found, because when you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Spirit comes to dwell with you and in you (John 14:16-17). I find that truth amazing, stunning actually, that the Spirit of God who is eternal, perfect, holy, all-powerful, and all-knowing (among many other attributes) actually lives within me! Do you?
Because the Spirit is with us and in us, if we know Jesus as Savior He helps us walk with Jesus Christ and gives us the power or strength to choose His ways, to follow Him, and to serve Him. One of the ways he does this—one that is particularly meaningful to me as a woman, a mother, and a grandmother—is through is role as Friend.
My best friend on earth is my husband. We have shared life together for five decades. In that journey we have talked about everything together, suffered losses together, and loved each other in sickness and in health, in good and in bad times. We have proven we are committed to each other forever. We promised to never leave or forsake each other, and we have never wavered from those vows, even when our marriage felt impossible at times.
But even a great marriage is temporary. There is always the reality that one of us will die before the other.
But the Spirit is always with me.
What a delight to know I have a friend even closer than my husband! In John 15:15 Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
When I received Christ as my Savior, Jesus came to dwell in me by His Spirit. Romans 8:9 tells me, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” Because I have the Holy Spirit Jesus sent living in me, and because He will never leave me, I know He is my dearest Friend!
Pause and think about this for a second: the Holy Spirit, present at creation with God the Father and God the Son, who is Himself fully God and is one with Jesus, desires a friend relationship with you. A real heart-to-heart relationship where you talk to Him and He to you. Does that stun you with wonder?
Quite honestly, I felt a little odd at first calling the Spirit my Friend. It sounded presumptuous. But over the years I’ve talked to Him more and more, asked Him to guide me and reveal Himself to me, shared my life with Him, and asked Him almost everything. I’ve become increasingly comfortable calling Him Friend.
He is not offended at all by my familiarity with Him because God is the One who initiated a relationship with us. He pursues us. He invites and desires a relationship. God called Moses and David His friend and Jesus called His disciples friends; so too the Spirit is our Friend.
The Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent on Pentecost can be your best Friend because He is always with you. Before I believed and gave my life to Jesus, I only hoped God was with me. I knew about Him but didn’t know Him personally. But when I surrendered my life to Him and invited Him to live within me, the Spirit of Christ came to dwell both in and with me! He has been given to be my constant companion.
When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, He said, “He will be with you forever” (John 14:16). So no matter where you go, He is always with you. You will never outgrow this friendship. You’ll never mature out of this friendship. You’ll never drift apart from this dearest of any Friend.
David said in Psalm 139:7, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” You cannot escape Him, because if you are a child of God He promised never to leave you.
Just as God the Father delights in us His children, so the Spirit delights in hearing from us. He listens to our challenges, our prayers, even our questions and doubts. This is how we experience God. And we moms understand this.
Moms know our children very well yet delight in listening to their faltering prayers to God, their questions … well, sometimes … and their exuberant tales of discovering and learning things we have known for decades. It helps me to think of myself as God’s child. He already knows what I’m going to say, but He wants me to ask and share anyway because He delights in me (Psalm 41:11), which encourages me to talk more, to share more instead of withdrawing into silence because He already knows.
The Holy Spirit longs to converse with you. He’s waiting to listen and be heard. Do you want to become friends with Him too?
If the information in this chapter about the Holy Spirit is new to you, find a Bible and read these passages: John 14:15-21 and John 16:12-15. If you have time, read all of both chapters. They are the last words of Jesus and worth reading closely.
What do you think about the Holy Spirit as your Friend? Is this a new idea to you? Do you want to be His friend? If you do, pray and tell Him how you feel about Him and that you’d like to know Him better.
If you are like me, amazed that the majestic God of the universe wants to be with me and is in fact with me and in me, give Him thanks for this incredible privilege. And then if you want to explore this more, look up all the verses where God tells us He is with us. You’ll be equally amazed by how many times He promised us His presence!
If you were encouraged by this excerpt, be sure to download the entire ebook, Who Is the Holy Spirit: How You Can Hear From Him.
My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)
As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.
In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.
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