In one of His visits to His disciples, before He ascended into heaven, Christ told them not to leave Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. In other words, they were not to begin their mission of proclaiming the good news of salvation unto the ends of the world until they have the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Many a time, we like to be lone rangers, when it comes to Christian life; to go it all alone and to do it by our own power. But the truth is that we cannot live our Christian life or fulfill the mission God has ordained for us without the power and strength that comes from the Holy Spirit. As Scripture says, “Cursed is he man whose hope is in the flesh, who finds strength in human beings”.
After I was ordained a priest, I was so full of zeal for the Lord that I tried so hard to live up to my own expectations of the priesthood; not just my expectations but also those of others. The result was that I became exhausted, frustrated, disappointed, depleted, and disillusioned. It quickly dawned on me that it is never by human power or might, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
As Christians, we need the Holy Spirit in order to do the works that our Lord did. We don’t have the ability to change lives, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to convert souls without the Holy Spirit operating through us. It is the Holy Spirit that grants us the supernatural boldness to speak truth to conscience; to speak truth in the face of persecution, rejection, and hatred. Look at Peter in the Garden and then look at the Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, after the Holy Spirit was poured upon him. Christ declared that “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13). So, if we want to know what Jesus is saying to us as we journey through life; if we want to be able to hear God’s voice as we read through Scriptures, then the Holy Spirit is our only hope.
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is the conduit of life from God into our hearts; the one that directs our steps through all the complicated paths of life and keeps us from sin; the one that guarantees our inheritance in heaven, for Scripture says He is “A deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Eph. 1:14). Worthy of note also is that the spiritual gifts we need in other to play our role in the Church come from the Holy Spirit. Scripture says, “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge, to another faith, to another healing, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy…. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
So, my dear friends, let us not let anyone “bewitch” us into belittling our need for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is through Him that the character of Christ—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—can be revealed in and through us. May the good Lord grant us the grace to live by and to keep in step with the Holy Spirit!