The Apostles' Creed Part 7: Your Invisible Friend
"I Believe in the Holy Spirit."—The Apostles' Creed
When I was a kid, I thought the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost as he's sometimes called, was the strangest part of my Christian faith. And let's be honest, there are some pretty strange things in the Bible. But the Holy Spirit was by far the strangest for me. I assumed he was some strange dude under a sheet that God sent to whisper in my ears. It's like a really bad episode of Scooby Doo, except I'm not supposed to try to unmask the spirit under the sheet. I'm supposed to go to him for help. Is that weird, or what?
Well, it's not so weird if you can forget about the sheet for a moment. Let's look at what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. Before he returned to heaven, he made a promise to his disciples. He told them he wouldn't leave them like orphans, all alone in the world. He'd send "another friend": the Holy Spirit. (See John 14:15-20, The Message.)
Jesus said this friend would give them strength and be the very Presence of God with them. But, the Holy Spirit didn't just come to the disciples. His ministry continues the work Jesus started here on the earth.
The Holy Spirit lives in everyone who follows Jesus as Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 6:19). He is there to help us pray when we feel too weak to talk to God (Romans 8:26). He gives us spiritual gifts for serving in the church (1 Corinthians 12:4). He helps us see when we're sinning or heading in the wrong direction (John 16:7-9, Romans 8:5-9). He nudges us to make good decisions and empowers us to live like Jesus (Ephesians 3:16-17, Galatians 5:22-23).
Have you ever experienced guilt for hurting someone's feelings and sensed that you should apologize? Have you ever felt moved to worship because you've just experienced a beautiful sunset or star-filled sky? Have you ever felt a strange sense of spiritual strength in a moment of weakness? Have you ever suddenly found the power to overcome a temptation? Have you ever felt moved to tell a friend about Jesus? If you've answered yes to a few of these questions, you can be pretty sure God's Spirit is at work in your life.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit so we wouldn't be on our own as we struggle to follow him. In every trial, every joy, every temptation, every sadness, every celebration, and in every single moment, the Spirit of Christ dwells in us. The Bible calls him such names as the Great Comforter, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of holiness and the Spirit of life. That's the Spirit the Apostles' Creed is talking about when it says: "I believe in the Holy Spirit." He's not some elusive ghost-like man in a sheet skipping around in the shadows. The Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, reminding us of our salvation and helping us to live and love just like Jesus did when he walked the planet.
With nearly two decades of youth ministry experience, Jerry teaches at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Grady, Jerry's son, is a youth pastor.