Experiencing God’s work in my life began very early, as I was saved at the age of 10. Now, more than five decades later, every day, through praying in the Spirit, I enter dimensions beyond my cognitive being to praise and intercede before the throne of God.
As wonderful as the Pentecostal experience is, we must still be vigilant in our spirituality and guard what God has entrusted to us. We must keep our relationship with the Holy Spirit fresh and our dependence on Him constant.
For my devotions one year, I journaled through the Gospel of Mark. I found this daily immersion in the Scripture to be really invigorating, and it eventually led to my book Living in the Spirit: Drawing Us to God, Sending Us to the World. In it, I describe four activities of the Spirit we would do well to revisit and consider.
First, He is involved in creation. Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (KJV). The New International Version says, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
That is such an eloquent introduction in Scripture to the divine personality of the Spirit, who brings creation out of chaos. I would suggest to you that this also describes the work of the Spirit in your life and mine. Our life without God is chaos. The Spirit of God wants to create in us the personality of Jesus and to breathe into the formlessness and void of our life the life of Jesus. The Spirit is at work in that creation process. It is part of His divine nature.
Second, He is involved in regeneration. “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground” (Ps. 104:30). As the Spirit brooded over the material creation of the earth and brought everything into being through His creative act, He is also at work in the spiritual re-creation of our inner lives.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezek. 36:26-27). John 3:5-6 re-emphasizes a new heart made by the Spirit when Jesus says, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” The Spirit is always seeking to birth us into the kingdom of God.
Jesus does a beautiful thing in putting together the Spirit’s work in creation with the Spirit’s work in the human personality. After Christ’s resurrection, He appears to His disciples and speaks peace to them. Then the Scripture says, “With that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). Even as God breathed life into the lifeless form of man at creation, so Jesus spoke to His disciples and breathed into them life which is eternal.
Third, the Spirit is active in giving us the Scriptures. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). The King James Version says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The correct translation of the Greek word is, “All Scripture is expired,” that is, breathed out. All Scripture is the product of the breath of God. The function of the Spirit is to breathe the presence of God into human life. The Bible is a result of the activity of the wind of the Spirit—God breathing His word out of His nature.
Fourth, the Spirit is involved in resurrection from death. “And 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 because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Rom. 8:11, NIV). The Spirit is the agent transferring the eternal life of God to us. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives also in you and me.
I often ask the Lord to help me stay fresh on the revelation side so that I’m inundated with His presence and spared from becoming drawn into argumentation, arrogance or exclusionism.
For those who are ministers, it is not adequate to merely sign our credential renewal each year, reaffirming our doctrines—or even to publicly proclaim them. We must see the Spirit’s life and empowerment each day in our own life.
I encourage you to have an open mind and heart to the Spirit’s leading and moving in your life. When I so recently experienced His healing touch, it was a fresh confirmation of His presence and power.
May we all keep an ongoing, open connection—not a dial-up connection, but a hardwired one—to the life-flow of the Spirit.
George O. Wood is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.