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Many Christians seem to have the idea that the Holy Spirit is an "it," a manifestation of the power of God or the gift of tongues. But the Holy Spirit is none of these. He is the third Person of the Godhead, a divine Person with a plan for our lives.

And He doesn't come to us haphazardly; He is a Person of purpose. God has an eternal plan and purpose for every individual who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is God bringing that purpose to reality as we learn to yield to His will for our lives.

Paul asked the Corinthians, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?" (1 Cor. 6:19, NKJV). The Holy Spirit does not reside in the church building; He lives in us. Though He resides in our spirits, His work is limited by what we allow Him to do through our souls and bodies.

That is why we need to die to our soulish nature; it is so we can cooperate with Him to accomplish His purpose. Our carnal minds need to be renewed by the Spirit of God within us to think His thoughts. Our wills need to be yielded to Him to obey His will. Our emotions need to be filled with the love of God. The Holy Spirit helps to ensure that these things happen by setting up residence within us and making His "temple" a place of discernment; victory over sin; refreshing; healing and deliverance; soul-winning and missionary zeal; warfare against strongholds; and total restoration.

A Place of Spiritual Discernment

One of the first things the Holy Spirit does when He comes to dwell in our hearts is to make them places of spiritual discernment. The Holy Spirit living in us gives us the ability to discern what spirit we are encountering in a certain situation: the Holy Spirit, an evil spirit or the human spirit. Though everyone may not operate in the gift of discerning of spirits, when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, He brings His divine ability to discern.

Spiritual discernment is paramount in considering the purposes for the coming of the Holy Spirit because until He comes to us, we are living under the influence of another spirit. Paul declared, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:1-2, NASB).

Before our salvation, we were cooperating with the spirit of this world that is inspired by Satan. So our inner man was under the influence of that spirit. If we are going to submit to the Holy Spirit, He has to be able to teach us to discern which spirit is to abide there.

The Holy Spirit will put a caution in our minds when we hear something that is not quite right. Those checks become safeguards that keep us from error. We need to learn to listen to those impressions and then learn to test them, trying the spirits.

A Place of Victory Over Sin 

The Holy Spirit came to make us victorious over sin. The Scriptures teach, "For sin shall not have dominion over you" (Rom. 6:14, NKJV). There is the power of sin, the pollution of sin and the penalty for sin. God came to deliver us from all the dominion of sin.

When people do not live victoriously, they are not walking in the Holy Spirit. Even if they speak in tongues as an evidence of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they may not be walking in the Spirit. He came to make this temple a place of victory over sin, and having that victory means we are walking in the Spirit.

Does that mean we won't ever sin again? No. But sin does not have to control us. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, He delivers us from sin, and we don't have to live in it. He changes our desires so we don't want to live the way we did under sin.

We don't have to have people watching us to make us keep the rules. We walk obediently because the victory is dwelling in us. We don't have to be restricted to turn off immoral programs on television. Our own desires scream against them. The Holy Spirit is controlling our desires and enabling us to hate the things God hates. So He came to give us that victory until sin no longer has dominion over us.

A Place of Refreshing

The Holy Spirit makes our hearts ready to receive the refreshing rain that God promises. He knows that without rain, we can't produce fruit. He knows that unless we have showers, our hearts will get hard.

Have you ever seen rain fall when the ground was so hard that the water didn't soak it? That is a picture of people who come to church when the Spirit is moving and the rain of His presence rolls off like water off a duck's back because their hearts are too hard to receive it.

The rain of the Spirit brings repentance. Repentance will break up the soil of the fallow ground. He comes in conviction to our temples and prepares them as places where the showers of the latter rain of refreshing can fall.

A Place of Healing and Deliverance

The Holy Spirit has come to make our temples places of healing. Jesus is the Anointed One who brings healing and deliverance to captives. He acknowledged the fact that the Holy Spirit empowered Him for every good work when He stood up in church to read, "'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives" (Luke 4:18).

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Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit