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God is Three and Three in One
When we decide to fully yield our lives to the Lord, one essential step is surrendering control of everything to the Holy Spirit, who is probably the most overlooked member of the Trinity. And this is because the doctrine of the Trinity, or trying to explain the triune nature of God, is one of the most confusing teachings in Scripture. After all, we are finite beings who think in finite, logical, cause-and-effect, terms. Yet God is infinite, off the scales, and His nature is beyond what we can explain or logically process in our finite minds.
But let’s try. The doctrine of the Trinity is defined as God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.¹
Or, to make it easier to digest:
1. God is three persons (Father, Son, and Spirit).
2. Each person is fully God.
3. There is one God.
But, even though they are all equally God, they have different and unique functions, especially regarding salvation and sanctification. For example, Scripture reveals God the Father is right now seated on His throne in heaven. Jesus is currently at His right hand interceding for us (Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25). And where is the Holy Spirit? He is the one who now lives in us and empowers us with His gifts, guidance, and transforming power. The Spirit is not a force that emanates from the Father to do His will, like in Star Wars, but is God Himself— co-equal, co-eternal, of the same essence as the Father and the Son. Yet, even though the Spirit is as much God as Jesus and the Father, sadly, we must admit He is the one Person we spend the least amount of time with and the one we know the least about.
If you look at just a few things the Holy Spirit has been tasked with, you will quickly notice these have to do with securing our salvation and enhancing our sanctification. It seems, of the three Persons in the Godhead, it is the Spirit who works the closest with us, and yet He is the one we tend to keep at arm’s length, distant and aloof.
The Vital Roles of the Spirit
Here are some key roles the Holy Spirit plays in our lives while residing in us:
• The Holy Spirit helps us understand God’s word and apply it to our lives – John 14:26.
• The Spirit guides us into truth and helps us discern right from wrong – John 16:13.
• The Holy Spirit produces spiritual fruit in our lives like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23.
• The Spirit empowers and equips us with spiritual gifts for ministry – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
• The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us in prayer – Romans 8:26-27.
• The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, giving us an assurance of our salvation – Romans 8:16.
• The Holy Spirit seals believers for the day of redemption – Ephesians 1:13-14.
• The Holy Spirit comforts believers in times of need – Acts 9:31.
• The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment – John 16:8.
• The Holy Spirit fills believers for service by empowering them to speak the word of God with boldness – Acts 4:31.
• The Holy Spirit reveals the deep things of God to believers – 1 Corinthians 2:10.
And the list goes on. Notice, these are not things the Father or the Son does in us, but the Spirit. And it is a shame that we know so little of the Spirit compared to what we know about the Father and the Son.
But all that can change today.
15 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship With the Holy Spirit
Deep intimacy with the Holy Spirit comes through continually yielding control of our lives to Him and responding to His work within us. The more we surrender to Him, the more we learn to recognize His leadings, promptings, and His voice. And the more we obey Him, the more we acknowledge our dependence on Him, and the closer He becomes to us. Like with any relationship, it grows with time. The more time you spend with the Holy Spirit, the more you will get to know Him as much, if not better, than you do the Father and the Son. It is really that simple, but it takes a commitment on your part to make it happen.
So let me share 15 ways to help build a closer relationship with the Spirit.
1. Begin with a simple conversation. Start by speaking to the Spirit as you would a friend. Tell Him what is on your heart, and confess to Him if this process of praying to Him seems strange. Remember, He is God, and He already knows. Nothing you say will surprise Him.
2. Develop a habit of thanking Him for His works and gifts in your life. Recognize the Spirit’s activity in your life, such as bringing you comfort, wisdom, power, discernment, etc. And when you pray, don’t make it generic by saying God or Lord. Thank the Spirit specifically, by name, for what He has done for you, and remember that He alone brings transformation in your life.
3. Ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you. Pray for greater knowledge, awareness, openness, and intimacy with the Spirit. Ask Him to become as close to you as Jesus and the Father. And if you ask, He will respond.
4. Rely on His guidance every moment and show Him how dependent you are on Him. Seek the Spirit’s direction in all things, big and small, and thank Him specifically for the guidance He brings (see #2).
5. Share some personal testimonies of His activity in your life and your awareness of Him. Tell others how the Spirit has guided, helped, or empowered you. And be specific, if it was the Spirit who empowered you, then give thanks to the Spirit.
6. Meditate on His name and attributes in Scripture, such as Counselor, Comforter, or Spirit of Truth. When you reflect on verses describing the Spirit’s nature, you will soon begin to see His personality emerge from the Scriptures. And when you do, it changes everything about your relationship with Him.
7. Thank Him for letting you bear His fruit and for producing His Godly traits in you. Express your gratitude to Him for your growth in love, joy, peace, etc., and acknowledge your dependence on Him for your continued growth. Remember, they are His fruits, the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), that He graciously allows us to manifest in our lives.
8. Ask Him to reveal any sins that need confessing or relationships that need restoring. Pray for His conviction and your courage to make things right. Be quick to repent and forgive. And eliminate anything hindering, grieving, or quenching your fellowship with the Spirit.
9. Respond immediately when you sense His presence and guidance. Act quickly when the Spirit prompts your spirit. Don’t dismiss His gentle whispers. And be sure to act before the urgency fades, because it ultimately will.
10. Worship the Spirit. Yes, you heard that right. Profess your praises directly to Him for who He is and what He does. After all, as God, the Holy Spirit is also worthy of your praise and devotion.
11. Take time and be still to hear His voice. Create space in your life to listen to the Spirit’s promptings and for His voice when you read Scripture. If you don’t make the time for Him, you will miss the joy of His presence.
12. Write down your conversations or encounters with Him and record what He tells you. Note how He is stretching and maturing your faith and conforming you into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Over time, you will see how the Spirit has been moving in your life all along, even before you were aware of it, and it will grow your faith more than you can imagine.
13. Before you make any decisions, ask Him to guide you and make His wisdom clear. Seek the Spirit’s direction in all things and wait for His green light. As Oswald Chambers said, “Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt— wait.”²
14. Imagine experiencing His presence when you read Scripture accounts of Him empowering believers, like in the book of Acts. Visualize the Spirit’s activity as you read His Word, imagining how you would have been impacted if you were there in the pages of Scripture. Then expect Him to move likewise in your life.
15. If you don’t have a strong sense of His presence, tell Him about it, and ask Him to increase your revelation of Himself. Share honestly your desire for greater closeness with Him. And rest assured, He will give you what you ask. For it is His will to reveal more of Himself, and the Father and the Son, to you.
But this leaves us with one pressing question: How does my life change when I grow in my relationship with the Holy Spirit?
The Spirit’s Transforming Power
As we grow closer to the Holy Spirit, He progressively conforms us to the image of Christ, which is the goal of our sanctification (Rom. 8:29). We partner with Him in the process of sanctification as we, on our part, yield more control of our lives to Him and He, on His part, bears His fruit in us, renews our minds, produces Christlike virtues, and releases His gifts through us for others. He gives us a new hunger for His Word, convicts us of sinful patterns, comforts us in sorrow, intercedes on our behalf beyond our understanding, seals our salvation, and guarantees our inheritance in Christ by His continual presence in us (Eph. 1:13-14).
What an amazing gift to have the very presence of God dwelling in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit! (1 Cor. 6:19). As we yield more of ourselves to His control, He changes us from within and partners with us in the lifelong process of being reshaped into the image of Jesus Christ.
Remember, the Christian life was never meant to be lived in our own power. With the Holy Spirit within us, we have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Rom. 8:11). He wants to operate through us, transforming us into vessels that overflow with divine fruit, gifts, power, and godly character traits.
So why do we hold back from giving control of everything to Him? Why not surrender your life to the Holy Spirit today, totally, wholeheartedly, without reservation, and watch what He can do in a life fully devoted to Him?
As D.L. Moody once said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”³
Let’s make that same commitment today by surrendering our lives totally to the Holy Spirit. Are you ready to experience the abundant life Jesus promised?
Then what are you waiting for? Do it today!
1. Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 226). Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
2. Chambers, O. (1992). My Utmost for His Highest: An Updated Edition in Today’s Language (J. Reimann, Ed.; p. 4). WORDsearch.
3. This quote is widely attributed to Dwight L. Moody, a 19th-century American evangelist, although its original source is unclear.