Life in the Spirit: How the Holy Spirit Helps Us

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The promise of God in the OT prophets was for the Holy Spirit to come and fill His people (Joel 2:28), producing tender hearts (Eze. 11:19) of obedience (Eze. 36:27) and the ability to know God (Jer. 31:34). As post-Pentecost Christians, this reality is ours (Acts 2:4, 16-17), but it is something we must choose to appropriate (Gal. 5:25).

I. Works of the Spirit in the Believer’s Life

  1. He purifies us (Matt. 3:11-12; 1 Peter 1:2) and enables holiness (1 Thess. 4:7-8).
  2. He gives us words to speak (Mark 13:11; Luke 1:67; 12:12)—words of wisdom and power (Acts 6:10).
  3. He reveals truth to us (Luke 2:26; John 14:26; 16:13; 1 John 4:2, 6) as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17).
  4. He empowers us to do God’s work (Luke 4:18; John 20:22-23; Acts 1:8; 4:31; 6:3; 9:17-20; 10:38; 13:9-11; 13:52-4:1; 16:8; 19:6; Rom. 15:19; 2 Tim. 1:14; 1 Peter 1:12).
  5. He gives us spiritual life (John 3:5; 6:63; Rom. 8:10-11) to share with others (John 7:39).
  6. He comforts us (John 14:16; Acts 9:31).
  7. He demonstrates Jesus’ identity (1 Tim. 3:16), witnesses to His work (Acts 5:32; 15:8; 1 John 5:6-8), and confirms our faith (John 15:26).
  8. He helps and encourages us in suffering (Acts 7:55; 1 Peter 4:14), providing deliverance (Phil. 1:19) and joy (1 Thess. 1:6).
  9. He gives gifts for ministry (Acts 2:4, 17-18; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Heb. 2:4).
  10. He provides us direction for serving Jesus (Acts 8:29; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 20:22 21:11).
  11. He accomplishes the work of salvation (Acts 10:43-44; 1 Cor. 6:11), effecting initial sanctification (2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5).
  12. He appoints us to our duty in the Kingdom (Acts 20:28).
  13. He circumcises our hearts, enabling undivided loyalty (Rom. 2:29).
  14. He communicates God’s love to us (Rom. 5:5; Eph. 3:16-19).
  15. He teaches us to live according to His Law of love (Rom. 7:6; 8:2) as the minister of the new covenant (2 Cor. 3:6).
  16. He frees us from bondage to our own self-will (Rom. 8:9).
  17. He secures and witnesses to our adoption as God’s children (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) and confirms we are in Christ (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
  18. He teaches us how to pray and intercedes for us (Rom 8:26-27).
  19. He gives righteousness, peace, joy (Rom. 14:17), and hope (Rom. 15:13).
  20. He communicates the mind of God to us (1Cor. 2:10-13).
  21. He enables us to understand spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14, 12:3).
  22. He lives within us (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).
  23. He unites believers into one body through baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) as a dwelling place for God (Eph. 2:22).
  24. His presence is a guarantee and down payment on our future inheritance (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
  25. He transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 3:16, 19).
  26. He frees from the bondage of keeping the Law (2 Cor. 3:17).
  27. He gives eternal life to those who live in Him (Gal. 6:8).
  28. He provides wisdom and knowledge of God (Eph. 1:17).
  29. He provides access to the presence of the Father (Eph. 2:18).
  30. He binds us together in unity (Eph. 4:3; Phil. 2:1-2) and love (Col. 1:8).
  31. He enables true worship (Phil. 3:3) and prayer (Eph. 6:18; Jude 1:20).
  32. He empowers the Gospel’s effect for us (1 Thess. 1:5).
  33. He gives a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7).
  34. He participates in Jesus’ offering Himself to the Father (Heb. 9:14).
  35. He witnesses to the New Covenant (Heb. 10:15; cf. 10:8-9).
  36. He gives us grace (Heb. 10:29).
  37. He preaches to the churches (Rev. 2-3).
  38. He beckons the thirsty to drink the water of life (Rev. 22:17).

II. How We Walk in the Spirit

  1. We receive and are indwelled by the Spirit by faith (Gal. 3:2) at salvation (Heb. 6:4; Rom. 8:9).
  2. We choose the Spirit’s leading over our fallen tendency to choose what’s good for ourselves outside of God’s provision (Rom 8:4).
  3. We set our desires on what God desires for us, rather than things that are contrary to God’s will (Rom. 8:5-8).
  4. We view reality from God’s perspective by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-14).
  5. We worship by the Spirit of God (Phil. 3:3).
  6. We put evil deeds to death by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:13).
  7. We keep in step with the Spirit, bearing His fruit, as the alternative to living sinfully (Gal. 5:16-18, 22-25).
  8. We make a volitional surrender of control to Him (Eph. 5:18).
  9. We read, memorize, meditate on, and utilize the Bible which the Spirit inspired (Eph. 6:17).
  10. We listen obediently to what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29)
  11. We pray with His direction (Eph. 6:18).
  12. We are careful not to override his working (1 Thess. 5:19).
  13. We avoid grieving the Spirit through corrupt speech (Eph. 4:29-32).

“[Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance], we can walk like Jesus walks – [pursuing] the goals he pursues, with the attitudes and passions that Christ himself has” (Dennis Kinlaw, The Mind of Christ, p. 13).

Joey Ratcliff
Joey Ratcliff is Campus Pastor at Aldersgate Christian Academy in Cincinnati, OH, where he resides with his wife, Andrea, and his five children. He is pursuing a Master of Divinity through Wesley Biblical Seminary.