As Christians, we are used to having the Holy Spirit always be in our lives. It doesn’t matter the situation, we know that God will come and help us. We have the privilege of learning about God by His own Spirit, instead of hearing someone else tell us what God is saying. This access to God is truly amazing and such an incredible gift, but sometimes I wonder if we forget how much the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives. In this post (just like in the past article, click here to read part 1), we will look at the life of Christ and other stories in the Bible as examples of 3 ways the Holy Spirit intervenes in our lives and why He would chose to do that.
1) The Holy Spirit intervenes to change circumstances. Remember how Jesus was born in a stable, because “there was no room in the inn”? Luke 2 records that the Romans had called for a census tax on all the Israelites, but they also had to return to their place of birth. (Aren’t you glad the IRS is online, instead of being done this way?) In both Joseph’s and Mary’s case, this meant going back to Bethlehem because they both were from David’s family, who originally came from Bethlehem. Now, I am sure that they didn’t even think about the prophecy in Micah 5:2, which tells where the Messiah would be born; they just knew they were being forced to go there to pay taxes when Mary was 8 ½ months pregnant. Is God willing to work through a government imposing a tax just to set the scenario up for Jesus to be born? You bet He is! So why do they end up in the stable instead of the inn? No idea, but I bet it has something to do with making the lowly, smelly, humble, hard-working shepherds more comfortable when they met the Messiah (Luke 2:16-18).
Another example of the Holy Spirit creating circumstances in the Bible is seen in the life of Abraham. He was called completely out of his country to start a new nation so that people would know how God will bless those who follow Him. His story is filled with numerous times when God (through the Holy Spirit’s power) changed circumstances for Abraham’s benefit. For King Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 17:10),who had followed God all his life, the Holy Spirit (as “the fear of God”) fell upon their enemies so that NO ONE was willing to make war on them. We are not referring to a co-worker or a jealous friend, we are talking about God changing entire nations away from war so that His servant would not be harmed. When you ask where God is at or why you are in the circumstances that you are in, remember that God is willing to create taxes or send you to the desert or move you to another country or even prevent your enemies from touching you. The Holy Spirit is continually working on your behalf while also working to work things out for God’s plan at the same time. If you can’t see the Holy Spirit involved in your life, pray that the “eyes of your heart may be enlightened…to what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph 1:18-19).
2) The Holy Spirit intervenes to create appointments. In this case, the Holy Spirit, working through the angels, brought the shepherds to meet Jesus (Luke 2). In another part of the world, the Spirit gave wisdom (1 Cor 2:12-13) for the Magi to understand the “star in the heavens” was pointing them to the Messiah of the Israelites and following tradition, they came to pay tribute to the One who was to rule over all. The Holy Spirit is the one who works in the power, signs and understanding for the Godhead, so both of these events were created by the Holy Spirit for one purpose: to get them to an appointment with Jesus. The Old Testament shows many moments where God was meeting with people, so it is no surprise that the Holy Spirit is in the work of creating divine appointments. Look at the ministry of Jesus. Each person He touched, each person who was there listening to Him preach, each healed soul and body was a divine appointment set up by the Holy Spirit’s work through Jesus.
Other examples of the Holy Spirit setting up meetings can be seen in the lives of Paul and Phillip. Paul was instructed to go to Macedonia to share the gospel with them (Acts 16), while Philip was told to head out to the desert to meet a guy in a chariot who was confused about the book of Isaiah (Acts 8). Both of these events are recorded as being directed by the Holy Spirit, and the result was many people coming to believing in Christ’s sacrifice. As Christians, our commitments should be focused on 2 things: growing closer to God, and bringing others to a relationship with Him. As we grow closer to God, the Holy Spirit is able to work through us–no matter where are or what we are doing. From experience, God has brought people for me to encourage while I was at work (a student found a piece of my writing), while I relax and graded papers (a guy was having a hard time and needed to remember that God was still there for him) and while I was calling someone to take care of a business matter. And I have also had moments where God set up appointments to help me grow closer to Him–a song, a prayer-call from a friend or a sermon that “just happened to be on the radio.” The Holy Spirit truly works in miracle-moments in our lives, so pray that you can see these divine appointments in your day to day activities.
3) The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS working to glorify God. God is the WOW factor, I believe the word “Awesome” is used to describe God’s power and glory many times in the Bible. He doesn’t have to show off to help us believe. But Romans 15:19 says sometimes the Holy Spirit works in signs and wonders to help people believe in God. And it isn’t too much for Him to create a little angelic welcome when Jesus was born. Remember what all the angels were singing? “Glory to God in the Highest!” (Luke 2:14). Yes, the whole point of telling the shepherds about Christ’s birth was to bring glory to God. That was actually the reason for all the miracles that the Holy Spirit worked through Jesus. Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, He prays “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you…that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:1-3).
Every miracle in the Old and New Testament was because the Spirit was seeking to bring glory to God in extraordinary ways. One example is found in Acts 16:16-40, when Paul and Silas were put in jail for preaching the Gospel of Christ’s redemption. Paul and Silas are praising God and still preaching while in the jail, and that’s when the Holy Spirit shows up. An earthquake opens the prison doors, all chains are broken but nobody is trying to escape. When the jailer sees this, he immediately asks how to have the salvation of God that Paul and Silas had been preaching and singing about all night. Ezekiel 37, the chapter talking about the dead bones coming to live, records this promise from God: “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life…then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it.” Again, we see the Holy Spirit connected with life and miracles for the purpose of bring glory to God. As Christians, we need to be making sure that people are being pointed to the God we love, and the Spirit is the one giving us power to do that (Acts 1:8). In closing, I would like to pray, as Paul did, that out of God’s “glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (Eph 3:18).