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How to Stay Spiritually Strong (Part One)

The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Life of a Believer

The salvation of Jesus Christ brings with it not only the forgiveness of sin, but also a liberating, fulfilling, and strengthening relationship with God through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. How much do you know about the Holy Spirit?


When the Apostle Paul arrived in Ephesus, he encountered a group of disciples who had come to believe in Jesus through the ministry of John the Baptist. Sensing that they were lacking something in their spiritual lives, he asked them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They replied, “No…we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2 NLT)

These men believed in Jesus and had been baptized, but had no knowledge or experience regarding the life-changing gift of the Holy Spirit which God has given to His followers to bring them into intimate fellowship and to empower their service for Him. Paul then prayed with these sincere believers and they received “the heavenly gift” of the indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen them in their ministry (Hebrews 6:4).

These men were no different than many people today who go to church, believe in Jesus, and desire to serve Him, but have not experienced the fullness of God’s spiritual helping power in their lives. This Bible study is written to help you learn more about the work of the Holy Spirit and tap into God’s power to live a satisfying, blessed and fruitful life!

Why God sent the Holy Spirit

(1) God created mankind to have fellowship with Him—to be His people, His children, His spiritual family. We were created to live in a close relationship with God. The entire Bible is little more than a detailing of the history of God’s reaching out to man and man using his free will to either accept or reject God’s advances—sometimes responding by drawing near to God, listening to Him, obeying Him, and loving, praising and worshiping Him, and sometimes breaking God’s heart by rejecting His love, turning away from Him, rebelling against Him, and even worshiping idols or other gods instead of Him.

(2) God has always given mankind the means to know Him and to walk closely with Him. Beginning with His personal relationship with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (a relationship that was abruptly broken) and continuing through the history of Israel’s patriarchs, prophets, priests, and kings to John the Baptist and the coming of Jesus (who is called Emmanuel, “God with us”), God has revealed Himself to man, communicated to man in various ways and invited man to live in communion with Him.

(3) The great tragedy of mankind is that so many people who are invited to live with God and to walk closely with God choose to live independently from Him and to go their own way. This has resulted in “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) with all of its heartaches, sorrows and dysfunctionality.

(4) In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has made promises to be with those who are willing to obey Him and walk with Him. To Joshua he said: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV). When Moses was called to lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land, he specifically asked God to be with him as he lived out his rather torturous calling:

Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:12-15 NIV).

Moses had a big job to do, and he didn’t even want to attempt it without the help of God!

The Lord had a similar interaction with David, one of His choicest servants who was greatly exalted because he had a heart after God:  “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth’” (II Samuel 7:8-9 NIV).

God made a similar promise to Joshua when he said: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).


The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, not merely an impersonal force. He is the third member of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19 NKJV) and is sent by God to accompany, assist, guide, empower and indwell the reborn Christian. Just as Jesus was God in human form, the Holy Spirit is God in spirit-form. He is, in essence, God living in us!

(5) Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised His followers that He would always be with them as they lived out their lives of service to Him.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV).

The writer of Hebrews, echoing God’s promise to Joshua, further emphasizes God’s commitment to be with His people: “[B]e content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…’” (Hebrews 13:5b-6a ESV).

The Greek construction of this verse actually contains three negatives: “I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you. I will not, I will not, I will not let you down” (Hebrews 13:5-6 Wuest). What all of these Scriptures reveal is that God has a strong desire to be with His people in the things that we are going through and to give us divine assistance in living out our lives.

(6) The means by which God has chosen to fulfill His promise of being with us is the agency of the Holy Spirit. In John Chapter 14, Jesus began to prepare His disciples for the time when He would no longer be with them on the earth in bodily form. He made them a series of amazing promises:

a. That He would go to prepare a place for them in heaven
(John 14:3)

b. That they would do “greater works” than He had done “because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12)

c. That whatever they asked in prayer in His name would be
granted (John 14:13-14)

d. That He would ask God to send them “another Comforter” (the Holy Spirit) to take His place and be present with them though He would be in heaven (John 14:16):

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:16-20 ESV).

The word translated “Comforter” and “Helper” (“paracleton” in the Greek) means “someone called alongside one to help” or “close-beside.” It is elsewhere translated as “companion,” “counselor,” “advocate,” and “friend.” God desires to draw near to us and invites us to draw near to Him (James 4:8). Truly, he could not come any closer than to live inside of us!

(7) The Book of Acts (called by some “The Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit”) tells the amazing story of how a small band of ordinary human beings, empowered by the Holy Spirit, lived extraordinary and world-changing lives for God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), the Apostles made such an impact upon those around them that they were once referred to as “‘[t]hese men who have turned the world upside down’” (Acts 17:6 ESV). The Epistles (or instructional letters to the churches) tell us how we—as believers in Jesus Christ, equipped by the very same Holy Spirit—can also live lives which bring glory to God and impact the world around us in a positive way.

(8) This type of dynamic, Spirit-empowered life is made possible through the salvation of Jesus Christ. By reconciling us to God, Jesus made it possible for New Testament believers not only to experience God’s presence, but also to experience God living in them through His Spirit. Though God’s Spirit was with certain select leaders during Old Testament times, it was experienced in an “on-resting” form, not in an “indwelling” manner. As the Bible says regarding King Saul: “[T]he Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them” (I Samuel 10:10 NAS). In the case of King David, the Scripture says: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward” (I Samuel 16:13a NAS).

The work of the Spirit under the old covenant was limited to external manifestations that only certain chosen or “anointed” leaders could experience. But God has provided for the New Testament believer the glorious privilege of the indwelling Spirit. This is something that every true child of God can experience when he or she receives Jesus Christ as Savior and is “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6, 8). This new era of the indwelling Spirit was foretold by the Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel over 2,500 years ago:

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah… This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:31, 33-34 NIV).

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then…you will be my people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:26-28 NIV).

Paul refers back to these prophecies when he declares that God has “enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:6a NLT). Paul tells us that this new “ministry of the Spirit” is “more glorious” than even the best experiences of the old Testament saints (II Corinthians 3:8 NIV). For though Moses met with God face to face, he never experienced the glory of the indwelling Spirit of God through which we partake of the very life of God Himself! In four words: “The Spirit giveth life” (II Corinthians 3:6)!

(9) The Holy Spirit gives us “access to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). This means that we gain “admission” to His throne room (Hebrews 4:16) where we can commune with Him (Exodus 25:22), experience His presence, pray to Him (Romans 8:26) hear from Him (Revelation 2:11), worship Him in a deep and genuine manner (John 4:24), and find supernatural strength to serve Him (Romans 7:6; 12:11). As we learn to “walk in the Spirit” letting Him live His life through us (Galatians 5:16), God pours into us His love (Romans 5:5), joy (I Peter 1:8), peace (Philippians 4:7) and strength (II Corinthians 12:9), and we are transformed into the same image “from one degree of glory to another” by “the Lord who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:18 ESV). This is life at its very best!

(10) Under the New Covenant, the possibility of living an extraordinary, satisfying and fruitful Spirit-aided life is the birthright of every believer. If we walk humbly with God (James 4:4-6), obeying Him (Acts 5:32) and yielding to His direction, we can be anointed (I John 2:27), filled (Ephesians 5:18), empowered (Ephesians 3:16), and guided (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18) by the Holy Spirit. Each of us can live as a “new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17) and learn to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ESV).

The starting point of that new life is receiving Jesus as our Savior, and that new life is nourished by a life of prayer (asking God for His help with all that we say and do) and obedience (listening to God and letting Him lead us by His Spirit) as we yield ourselves to Him. Would you like to ask God to give you this kind of life? It is the life that he wants you to have—one of daily fellowship and communion with Him. If you would, please pray as follows:

“Dear God, I know that I have not always lived the way that I should and have often failed to rely upon you as my strength. Please forgive my sins, come into my heart to live and help me to live a new life through the power of your Holy Spirit. I know that this is only possible because of what Jesus did for me on the cross and I accept Him as my personal Lord and Savior. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to walk with you. Amen.”

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