Some Misconceptions about the Holy Spirit

An open Bible under the cloudsThe Holy Spirit does not make you do right. Being born of the Holy Spirit will not exempt you from having struggles in your flesh. Walking in the Spirit is not incidental to being filled with the Holy Spirit. These are misconceptions about the Holy Spirit and His work in our life.

Perhaps the greatest miracle we can experience in life is to become born again through faith in Christ. Through that experience, we become a new creation in Christ. But after that life-changing experience, some Christians arrive at a rude awakening about the Holy Spirit. He does not make us do the right thing but empowers us to do so. Even with the Holy Spirit, we can still choose to walk in the flesh.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul the apostle writes, “Walk by the Spirit, and you shall not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NASB). What is the message in this verse? It is that Christians must make a choice to walk in the Sprit. That’s if they want to avoid carrying out the desires of their flesh.

Through the Holy Spirit, God has supernaturally empowered our life to live for Him. But it would give Him no pleasure to impart an experience to our life that makes us live for Him even when our heart is far from Him. Nonetheless, that seems to be what some people expect from the Holy Spirit. The bottom line is that Spirt-led and Spirt-empowered living are subject to our participation.

Where do misconceptions about the Holy Spirit and His works in our life come from? Sometimes, they result from our personal ignorance. For instance, we may say to a fellow believer, “You need the Holy Spirit in your life.” That might be our response to the person’s non-Christian behavior that we observe. But the person may already be a genuine believer. The truth is that born again Christians can do, and actually do, non-Christian things.  

Sometimes, misconceptions about the Holy Spirit come from the church. Yes, the church. Many years ago, a popular teaching among some Pentecostals was that if a person did not speak in other tongues, he was not saved. One pastor told me, early in my ministry, the only way I could become saved was by leaving the church I belonged to and becoming a member of his “holiness” church. That’s absolute nonsense. No church or denomination has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit!

We can’t fathom the depth or grasp the breadth of the works of the Holy Spirit available to us. But those works are not happenstance. We can harness their benefits only to the extent that we are willing to walk in the Spirit.

Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.

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