I was taken aback recently when I read a survey which revealed that over 60% of people who consider themselves Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Rather in their view He well I guess it wouldnt be He It is just a force or an extension of God.
Run from the Dark Side Luke!
Anyway, what is regrettable is that these folks are missing out on an amazing friendship with a real Person. So I would like to present an open letter to the Holy Spirit and an attempt at a reply that hopefully will give an accurate perspective on how to connect not with a force, but with a Friend that is always faithful and available.
Dear Holy Spirit,
Wow that sounds kinda weird Dear Holy Spirit. I mean, saying (or writing) Dear Jesus or Dear Father feels normal, but I guess thats the point, right? Because even though you dont have a name that feels quite as personal, it doesnt change the fact that you are God, a real Person, and a real Friend that lives inside my soul.
I guess its that last part that really got through to me the fact that you live inside me and want to be my friend. That totally makes sense because as God you know everything about me more than my family, more than my other friends, even more than I know about myself! And as a real Person, you know everything Im going through the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly. You feel joy when I feel joy. Pain when I feel pain. You even know when Im lonely and feel like I dont have a friend in the world.
But I do; and its you.
So heres my question: How do I get this whole friendship thing going? After all, you are invisible; you dont speak to me out loud; and Im pretty sure you dont even have a cell phone! So how do I connect with Someone who I cant see or hear???
Help, and thanks,
(insert your name here)
Dear (insert your name here),
Wow! Thank you so much for writing! Yeah, I know it might feel strange calling me Holy Spirit, but the more you talk to me, the more comfortable it will feel. Or if you didnt know this I have other names you could use like Helper and Counselor, or just call me Friend!
Speaking of being your Friend, I cant wait to grow deeper in our friendship! I know its a little different than other relationships in some ways since (like you said) Im invisible and dont speak to you out loud, but I think youll find that since I live inside you and speak directly to your soul those issues wont get in the way of our friendship.
So heres my answer: To get our relationship going, you need to practice three things that Ill call the ABCs to connecting with God. If you add these three habits to your life on a regular basis, your life will be anything but regular. In fact, I think youll find that a friendship with me will take you places you never thought probable, and give you peace that you never believed possible.
Ready? OK. The ABCs are: Ask, Breathe, and Communicate
First lets talk about ask. Basically, even though I am God and I am all powerful, I will not *make you* have a friendship with me. You are free to choose to let me fill you and control you, and you are free to simply be satisfied with your salvation and leave it at that. I have to tell you, though, that going through life without Me is the worst choice you could make. Ive been around long enough (forever actually) to see that you humans simply dont do well all by yourselves. As well, its impossible to live the Christian life without me. So thats why I wrote this in my Book:
Dont be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
What Im saying here is ask me to fill and control your life. Ask me to guide and direct you shield and protect you. Ask me to deepen our friendship. Ask. Ask. Ask then ask again. Keep on asking, because every time you sin, you make a choice to unplug from my power and presence which leads me to the next step:
I know you dont need to be reminded to breathe; that sort of comes naturally for air breathing people. What Im talking about is spiritual breathing. Heres how it works:
When you know youve messed up, exhale what youve done by confessing (admitting) it Again, from my Book:
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (I John 1:9)
The moment you realize that you have sinned, simply tell the Father about it and admit that you were wrong. It's not like He (and me too) dont know about it already, and the longer you wait to exhale, the less you'll be living in my power.
After you exhale, it's time to ... you guessed it ... inhale! Ask me to fill you again, and be on your way living in my power and deepening our friendship.
That is until you sin again. Then you need to breathe again. Breathe in. Breathe out. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
One more letter and this is key:
Just like any other friendship, we need to talk. So talk to me early and often. Tell me whats good, whats bad, whats confusing you. Im never too busy to listen, and Ill never grow tired of your voice I made you, remember?
Oh yeah, and let me talk to you through the Bible. The words of the Bible are not the words of men they are mine. They are living and active, and I will make them come alive and active in your life.
I hope this helps, and I look forward to deepening our friendship. In fact, Im going to stop writing so we can start living the awesome life God the Father designed for you, Jesus purchased for you, and I guide for you!
Your Friend, The Holy Spirit.
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.