Who Is The Holy Spirit?
by Charles R. Swindoll
One of my most unforgettable moments happened when I was about ten years old. My father served our country during World War II in a plant in our hometown, building all sorts of interesting equipment for the massive tanks, fighter planes, and bombers that defended us in lands far away. Dad worked too long and too hard. As a result he suffered a physical breakdown, and on its heels came an emotional trauma that puzzled everyone, including the doctors.
I was convinced in my heart that my dad was going to die. He may have had such thoughts too, because one night he called me into his room for a somber father/son talk, spoken in terminal terms. I remember leaning hard against his bed, listening carefully to a voice that was hardly more than a whisper. I thought I was hearing him for the last time. He gave me counsel on life—how I should live, how I should conduct myself as his son. The counsel wasn’t long, and then I left and went across the hall to the room that I shared with my older brother. All alone, I lay across my bed and sobbed, convinced that I would never see my dad alive again.
That scene haunts me. Even though my dad recovered to live three decades more, I still remember the night he talked with me.
Something very significant is wrapped up in our final words. Consider that night in Jerusalem when the Lord and His disciples gathered for the Passover Seder—what we call “The Last Supper.” Less than twelve hours after the disciples sat beside the Savior during that meal, Jesus was nailed to a cross; a few hours later, He was dead. Jesus understood the significance of those moments and the importance of His last counsel. And so He gave His disciples exactly what they would need to carry them through the rest of their days. In that little room they pushed aside wooden cups and bowls, and every eye fell on Him and every ear leaned in to hear His voice. Their grief hardly allowed them to take in the last words of their Lord as He taught them how they might live on… without Him.
Recorded by the disciple John—one who had sat by the Lord’s side at that meal and who had meditated upon those events for sixty years before expressing them in his Gospel—the comfort and instruction that fell from our Lord’s dying lips comes alive in John 13 through 17.
Two Secrets about the Christian Life
Jesus told His men two secrets—two pillars of truth that support all other truths about the Christian life… truth that would bring life into focus after His death. The first related to Him and had to do with something that happened when He came. The second relates to us and has something to do with what would happen when He left… and what has since happened.
First, the truth about Him: Jesus told the disciples that the secret of His victorious life was His vital union with His Father. He spoke of His Father repeatedly as He talked that night. He told them that when He came to earth it was with the Father’s blessing, it was in the Father’s power, and it was through the Father’s guidance that He was able to minister. In addition, it was the Father’s will that He proclaimed the Father’s Word. Because there had never been a break in that vital union, He had been able to live a perfect life, qualifying Him to die as the sin offering for man.
But He didn’t stop there. The second secret was about His followers: that our victorious life is connected to our vital union with the Holy Spirit. If we would be habitually empowered by the Spirit that indwells us, we could know the kind of life He had lived. Ian Thomas described this well: “The life that He lived qualified Him for the death that He died. And the death that He died qualifies us for the life that He lived.”
Jesus told us that the life He lived is possible to be lived day after day when we draw upon the strength of the Spirit of God who lives within us. Read this as new news for yourself: through His Spirit, we can actually live like Christ.
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the clear, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. His latest book is titled Embraced by the Spirit: The Untold Blessings of Intimacy with God. He currently pastors Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and serves as the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. His renowned Insight for Living radio program airs around the world. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children and ten grandchildren.
Taken from Embraced by the Spirit by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2010. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.