There is nothing like coming into a growing awareness of the Spirit’s work in your life. From the first days of real spiritual awakening, to consequent in-fillings, nudges, blessings and movements, his work is the living reality of God in our lives. It is by His presence that we can testify that we are children of the Father because he enables it.
Looking back, my first season of awareness of the work of the Spirit was in the searching time a few months before my conversion. I was being drawn to the words of Matthew’s gospel, the Sermon on the Mount in particular, which fascinated me. I got excited as I read and felt like a way of life was opening up that I’d never seen or experienced in life thus far as a 14 year old lad.
On the night the Spirit moved me to cried out to God, he convicted me of my need to help from outside myself. As I named my desperation, he came and applied the loving work of Jesus to my life and I stood up free.
Later in my room that night, Holy Spirit came and made himself resident in my life as I pleaded with God to show me that what had happened that night was real. My vivid experience is of a physical sensation of power moving through my body, an ‘audible’ vision of sublime music…and all this for a considerable time. After I slept that day, Holy Spirit empowered my witness as I was able to testify to my faith to my parents and to my friends.
The New Testament describes the Spirit as a guarantee, a sort of deposit, which stakes God’s claim upon us as his sanctified and set apart people. My early experiences of Holy Spirit are, I believe, a significant reason for the fact that although I’ve had low times in life, with many questions, moving away from God has never been an option for me. Through it all, He is the constant.
Subsequently, I’ve known the Spirit as refiner, equipper, ’emboldener’, teacher, ordainer and sustainer, giver of gifts, calm presence and powerful manifestation of God…and so much more. I am in no way a cessationalist…I believe all of the Spirit’s gifts are given and available to us today. I didn’t necessarily grow up being taught this in the Army culture, but rather it came by experience and as I sought for myself what I read in my bible.
In more recent years, the Spirit has lead me into deeper intimacy with the Father and revealed the Son to me again and again. I’ve seen him move in nature, orchestrate the habitat of the wild to speak to me and come in such power as to render me stunned, facedown in God’s presence. I’ve known Him in the stillness of a rural ruin, forest and hills as he quieten’s my soul. I’ve also known his help in battle when the enemy tries to do his best. And then there are those moments when you take a gasp as you see his fruit in yourself and in others.
The Spirit makes it possible for a man like me to follow the path of Jesus, to the Glory of God. We daren’t miss him out of our theology or be content not to know his power and presence in our lives. We daren’t be satisfied if he doesn’t confirm his presence among us in worship. We’re useless working in our own power and so we need to seek to demonstrate the Kingdom and its glory in the power of the Spirit.