The Holy Spirit is not merely a force or a power, but He is a person possessing a mind, a will, and emotions. There are many unique characteristics that can be attributed to the Holy Spirit that show He is not simply a thing, but that He is, indeed, a living being. One characteristic attributed to the personality of the Holy Spirit is knowledge. The Word of God says,
“For the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (Amplified Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:10-11).”
The Holy Spirit has the knowledge of the thoughts of God and therefore possesses an unlimited amount of understanding. He does not keep that knowledge to himself, but rather imparts that knowledge to man displaying his ability to give instruction.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual (English Standard Version, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13).”
In order for there to exist a capacity for knowledge and instruction, a mind must be present and functioning. We can therefore conclude that the Holy Spirit is a person in that he possesses a mind. Another aspect of a personal being that the Holy Spirit possesses is an active will. In talking about the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit, the Bible says, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills (English Standard Version, 1 Corinthians 12:11).” This verse clearly displays that the Holy Sprit makes a willful decision as to which gifts he will pour out on which people. He is not an object to be used in the attaining of our own will, but He is God whose will is perfect and demands submission. The Holy Spirit also is a person in that he has emotions. He feels grief. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).” He loves. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me (King James Version, Romans 15:30).” He carries joy. “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit (New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 1:6).” The reason it is important to identify the Holy Spirit as a person with unique characteristics is because He desires to have a personal relationship with man. We cannot form relationship with a force or a power, but only with a personal being.
It is important to not only understand who the Holy Spirit is, but also why He is. As we discover the functions and purpose of the Holy Spirit, we open ourselves up to a whole other aspect of the Kingdom of God. We are able to go deeper, draw nearer, and run faster than ever before. One function of the Holy Spirit is that He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment and guides us into all truth (John 16:8,13). Without the work of the Spirit, man would be lost in his sin without any sense of his need for redemption. The Spirit exposes the reality of man’s desperation and then leads him to the Truth. Jesus said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, he will bear witness about me (English Standard Version, John 15:26).” Another thing that the Holy Spirit does is lead us. In fact, the leading of the Holy Spirit identifies us as sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit is also at work sanctifying us. “But we ought always to give thanks for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Holy Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13).” To be sanctified by the Holy Spirit means to be transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus. As the Holy Spirit fills our lives, we are refined and reshaped back into who God originally intended us to be. Another function of the Holy Spirit is that He empowers us. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in all Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (English Standard Version).” When the Holy Spirit empowers us, He empowers us for a purpose. Not for a purpose of our own, but for the purposes of the Kingdom of God. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us boldness to proclaim the Gospel to the world. As we open up our mouths to proclaim the truth, the Spirit of God wells up on the inside of us and gives us everything we need to preach the good news about Jesus without hindrance or hesitation. The Holy Spirit also empowers us to display signs and wonders so that many will come to believe in God (Romans 15:19). Another thing that the Holy Spirit does is that He teaches us to pray.
“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love (New Living Translation, Jude 1:20-21).”
Not only does He teach us to pray for ourselves, but He also intercedes for us.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God want us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will (New Living Translation, Romans 8:26-27).”
The powerful thing about the way that the Holy Spirit prays for us is that He does it according to the will of God. We know that when requests are made to the Father according to His will, he is always faithful to give us what we ask for. The Holy Spirit is our biggest advocate. Another function of the Holy Spirit is the impartation of the fruit and evidence of His work in our lives.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things (New Living Translation, Galatians 5:22-23).”
When the Spirit is active in the life of a believer, these things mentioned above should be characteristics displayed in that person’s life. The Holy Spirit enables us to love others in the same way that Christ loves the church. He enables us to have joy and peace in the midst of the most undesirable circumstances. The Holy Spirit teaches us to be patient as we wait on the Lord to fulfill his plans and purposes for our lives. He instructs us to respond to those around us out of a kind and pure heart, and to correct and respond to others with gentleness. The Holy Spirit helps us to be faithful to our word and honor the commitments we have made. He also gives us the discipline we need to live lives that honor the Father in our thoughts, actions, and speech. One thing that the Holy Spirit has done through history and continues to do today as part of his work on earth is revealing the deep things of God to us. He speaks to us concerning the plans and purposes that God has prepared for each one of us. 2 Corinthians 2:9-10 says,
“That is what the scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’ But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets (New Living Translation).”
There was a man by the name of Gordon Lindsay who greatly understood that last function of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit, God revealed a master plan to Mr. Lindsay that greatly impacted the Church in both his time and still today. In everything Gordon Lindsay did, he was led by the Holy Spirit, and as a result, the Lord greatly blessed his ministry.
After encountering Jesus at a Charles Parham tent meeting, Gordon Lindsay joined the healing and evangelism campaigns of a South African missionary named John G. Lake. Shortly after that, Lindsay pastored a couple of small churches in Avenal and San Fernando. For eighteen years, he toured the country and led revivals in full gospel churches. When World War II began, Lindsay gave up his evangelistic ministry because it was too much for his family, and he accepted the position of senior pastor at a church in Oregon (Cauchi).
The Lord didn’t allow Gordon Lindsay to stay away from evangelistic ministry for long. In December of 1949, after a prompting from the Holy Spirit, Lindsay arranged the first convention of healing revivalists to be held in Dallas, Texas called The Voice of Healing. This conference signified the life and unity of the new revival in America. The next year when the convention met in Kansas City, nearly 1,000 healing evangelists attended. Lindsay used the Voice of Healing convention to “expose several points of danger and tension in the movement” and “propose guidelines for the future (Cauchi).”
The 1950 meeting in Kansas City turned the convention into a “loose association of healing revivalists (Cauchi).” The conference programs served to train healing evangelists how to deal with problems that tend to occur in their field of ministry. There were teachings on healing and fasting as well as how to establish strong follow-up after a campaign. As the association gained prominence in the 50’s, Lindsay was able to convince his good friend Oral Roberts to head many of the meetings. Even though Lindsay did do some healing crusades of his own, his main focus was training and supporting other evangelists in their work (Cauchi).
After about 10 years of success with The Voice of Healing campaign, the Holy Spirit led Lindsay to reconsider the goals of his ministry. He began to concentrate on missionary work and produced evangelistic materials that were sent across the world. Lindsay’s organization was transformed from one of healing evangelists into a highly effective missionary society called Christ for the Nations that is still thriving to this day (Cauchi). Because Gordon Lindsay allowed his life to be directed by the Holy Spirit, hundreds of thousands of people have encountered life and healing through Jesus Christ.
It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit does not limit His work solely to great men of the faith such as Gordon Lindsay. He also desires to work in and through people like me. I have experienced a relationship with the Holy Spirit in my own life that has produced absolutely incredible things. Because of the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, I have experienced boldness unlike anything the world can give as I have shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. There have been times that I have gotten up to speak to hundreds of people crowded into markets in South America, and the Spirit took over and spoke through me, drawing hundreds of people to the Father. There was a time that I was speaking out of town at a women’s convention, and halfway through my message, my mind became overpowered by the Spirit and tears filled the women’s eyes as the Holy Spirit gave me words for each of them. I have experienced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit as I have laid hands on the sick and seen them restored to full health. There have also been times that I have experienced the work of the Holy Spirit on a more intimate level in my life. This past summer, I found myself confined to a hospital bed for a solid month. The doctors treated me for everything they could think of. My kidneys were dangerously infected with an antibiotic-resistant disease, and my liver was hazardously close to being dysfunctional. In the midst of the tubes, the IVs, the surgeries, and the medications, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that I will never forget. One night as I was laying awake at one in the morning, the Spirit of God came and overwhelmed me with a total sense of peace. Through the Holy Spirit’s leading, I worshipped that night like never before in my life. As I pursue God’s call on my life for full-time ministry, it is absolutely vital that I position myself to be led by the Spirit. I have got to live every moment of the day submitted to His leading and His perfect will. It is crucial that I quiet myself before the Lord as I listen to the voice of the Spirit instructing me and imparting wisdom into my life. The Holy Spirit is full of the knowledge of God and willing to reveal that knowledge to me as I allow Him to fill every part of me. Residing in the presence of the Spirit is the only way that I will cultivate the tools that I need to fulfill his call on my life. Without the Holy Spirit there is a lack of power to see the world transformed for the Kingdom of God.