The Holy Spirit has a job description. In reading Scripture, you can count on finding clear descriptions of the Spirit's various tasks. Scripture does not leave the works of the Spirit to our imagination. The Spirit of God has specific work to be done, and the Scripture clearly teaches us about that work.
1. The Holy Spirit exalts Jesus. It is always the Spirit's mission to exalt Jesus. The Spirit has come that we might be deeply impressed with the Person of Jesus Christ and go away excited about His work. The gifts are necessary to thrust us into the mission and work of Jesus. The purpose of the Spirit is to exalt Jesus and let Him be lifted up.
2. The Holy Spirit convicts us. It is the Spirit's mission to convict us in three areas. First of all, He gives us an awakened sense of sin, particularly the sin of unbelief in Jesus. The Spirit wants to reverse that unbelief so we will trust and believe in Christ. Secondly, the Spirit wants to affirm to us the righteousness of Jesus. The Spirit's mission is to affirm the righteousness of Jesus and call on us to look to Him alone for salvation. Lastly, the Spirit comes to usher us into an awakened sense of sin, an acknowledgement of Jesus, and an acknowledgement that judgment has already been passed against the evil one.
3. The Holy Spirit regenerates us. God had formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. Now Jesus breathed a new order of life into His disciples—eternal life.
4. The Holy Spirit lives in us. We are charged to be filled with the Spirit. The alternative assumption is that we only allow the Spirit to partially dwell in us when we need to allow Him free access to every part of us.
5. The Holy Spirit seals believers. His presence in your life is a mark that you belong to God. Paul said the Holy Spirit is also a down payment that guarantees that you are completely Christ's. When you have sinned, it's certainly not the devil who is telling you that you are God's child. There is a still small voice that says, "Even though you have failed, there's mercy. God loves you." That's the Holy Spirit who is acting, because He has sealed you and has given you the deposit of His presence.
6. The Holy Spirit guides us. We're really helpless in getting accurate guidance and direction unless the Spirit works within us. The Spirit is especially present, especially active, in junctures of our life—times when we're making vital decisions that are going to affect us for many days to come. Again and again, Scripture suggests to us that when we open ourselves to God, the Spirit works in us with power and we can rest in His creative work.
7. The Holy Spirit prompts us to worship. There's a time to be quiet in the presence of the Lord, a time to hear the Word of the Lord: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). But there is also a time to praise the Lord with an upraised voice. There is a time to say from the depths of the inner man, "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns" (Rev. 19:6). The Spirit incites us to that kind of worship.
8. The Holy Spirit empowers us for witness. There is a balance between the worship of the Lord and the work of the Lord. It is never the purpose of the Lord to simply have the Spirit stir us to worship and then leave us there. The Spirit's task is to instill strength in us in the moment of worship, so that we can go out empowered to do the work of the Lord.
9. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand and apply what is taught in the Word of God. The Spirit not only inspired the Scripture, He also caused it to be inspiring. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). Whatever the Spirit does will line up with Scripture because the Spirit inspired Scripture to begin with. The two will always agree.
10. The Holy Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies. This is a work of the Holy Spirit that is yet to come. But the promise of that work is connected incredibly with the resurrection of Christ himself: "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Rom. 8:11).
George O. Wood is general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States. He has been chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship since 2008. You can learn more about him at georgeowood.com.