By Ann Hutchison
Years ago, I asked God a question: "What does it look like to walk with the Holy Spirit?" I had not read the Bible through yet, but I noted scripture mentioned gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing, tongues, and miracles; and I had questions for God about this.
A night or so later, I woke with a phrase in my head. The phrase was this: The voyages of Paul.
The voyages of Paul? Hmm.
Now, I was a babe in the faith. I knew who the Apostle Paul was -- he wrote parts of the New Testament, but I didn't yet know he took voyages. "Did he take voyages?" I asked. Well, I went to Wikipedia and found that indeed he did! WOW.
Yep, that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and I sensed God was telling me to go and look at Paul's voyages to see how the Holy Spirit works in someone's life. When Paul took those voyages the Holy Spirit was active in his life, and his stories leave us examples of what that can look like.
Well, I still have those old notes from that day, and I'd like to share them with you now. I hope you like them. For me personally, they have refreshed me all over again, years on.
The Holy Spirit:
1. Speaks to you --
Especially when you worship and fast. He speaks through visions of the night or the day, dreams, pictures, symbols and analogies, and helps you understand scripture.
He warns you about certain things; and sometimes he gives instructions. This might be, for example, whether to step forward in a certain situation. Sometimes he will even forbid certain actions, not necessarily things that are a matter of conscience; rather, it's a 'not yet' or 'not here'.
He confirms his words to you by confirmations from others, and he says, 'Do not fear', and 'Take courage', strengthening you so that you continue in faith.
2. Helps you discern --
The Holy Spirit helps you look at a situation and know if it's God or Satan, enables you to recognize others' faith and, conversely, recognize the influence of evil in a particular situation.
3. Helps you speak --
He gives you words for others, which can greatly help them in their belief.
He enables you to speak accurately when necessary, though you will always be learning. Through him, you can speak true and rational words. You will testify to the grace of God, and he makes you God's witness.
He even might enable you to give others some divine insight, if you grow your skills in the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).
Finally, he will enable you to speak boldly. Some still won't believe, but God does open hearts.
4. Grants signs and wonders
As you grow, the Holy Spirit will enable you to shake off the devil and be completely unharmed.
He will enable you to heal others, and even raise someone from the dead (Can I believe that? Yes I believe it).
Just as miraculously, he will enable you to open others' eyes and set people free of troubling spirits, strengthening the church as a whole, and increasing the size of the church.
5. Strengthens you
Finally, he will have the effect of great joy on you and others and put a fervor inside you that stands up against anything on the outside.
WOW. How amazing, exciting and inspiring this is. All I can say is I want more and I know that it is there. This list was, after all, compiled from scripture (The Book of Acts chapters 13-28).
As for what it means for us today? Well, the Holy Spirit can come from an appropriate person laying hands on a person (see Acts 8:17-19), or by simply asking God in the quiet of one's home to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is life-changing, and begins the above adventures. I believe God will give us only as much of the above-listed experiences as we can handle, according to our maturity and other circumstances. It's a beginning.
If you are reading this and haven't ever asked God for a baptism of the Holy Spirit, or simply want to ask him for more, you can do that in the quiet of your home. But, it would also be our honor to pray for you. If you would like, leave us a comment and we would absolutely love to pray for you!
Love you, friends,