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Resist the Holy Spirit at your own peril

Nolan Harkness
Rev. Nolan J. Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. |

The Holy Spirit is indeed a mysterious member of God’s holy trinity. While our images of God the Father and of Jesus may be formed by Hollywood movies, to us the Holy Spirit is simply invisible!

However invisible He is, His power and workings throughout Biblical history are not. In the very beginning of creation, Genesis 1:2 states “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” implying that God’s instrument of His creative power was indeed His Holy Spirit. As He continued in the creation process, we read in verse 6 that He said let there be an “expansion” of the waters, to separate the waters from the dry ground. This gives us a thrilling look into just how powerful this “invisible Holy Spirit” is. He rolled back the waters of the whole earth and possibly even lifted the seven continents off the ocean floor, probably doing all this simultaneously! Keep that thought in mind as you consider the third person of the trinity. He may be always mentioned last and he may be invisible, but He is no weakling!

In Acts we read that false witnesses were accusing Stephen of proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth would destroy the temple and all of the customs that Moses had delivered to them (Acts 6:14,15 paraphrased). The High Priest said to Stephen “Are these things so?”, to which Stephen responded with a powerful overview of the workings of God throughout history, concluding, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you know have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it” (Acts 7:51-53, NKJV).

In my opinion, Christians today, not even realizing how serious it is, are still often resisting the Holy Spirit! Is it because He is invisible? Is it because we are being bombarded by extreme teachings of grace and therefore seem to not recognize any negative consequences from saying no to God’s leadings or callings in our lives? I believe it is for the same reason that Stephen gave; namely, that our hearts and ears are not circumcised , and we are rebelling against God.  

To have a tender heart towards God there really must be a submission of our wills following an understanding before God of what selfish and terrible sinners we are. Paul said that “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:9, NKJV). Sadly we as the church in America are content with rushing someone who desires to be saved through a quick “sinners prayer.” For deep repentance to take place, people must be able to perceive by the Word of God the wrongness of their sin. This makes their heart and ears tender and pliable, able to fully receive God’s truths and allows a type of spiritual circumcision to take place of their lives.  

The scriptures go on to say that when his audience heard Stephen’s sermon, then they cried with a loud voice, plugged their ears, and everyone ran at him; and casting him out of the city, they stoned him (Acts 7:57,58 paraphrased).

Has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you, perhaps about your lukewarm spiritual life or maybe about witnessing to others about your faith in Jesus Christ in order to lead them to salvation? Has He been convicting you of a pet sin that you will not let go of? Has your perception been that He is little and insignificant because He is often gentle, or that He is less important because He is invisible? Let me remind you that He is the one member of the Trinity that Jesus singled out as being the one that you never want to offend. Maybe you should reconsider His tugs on your heart and simply say yes and yield to the teammate Creator of the universe today?

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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