Lesson Four: God the Holy Spirit as a Worker – We can work like God works Part 3
Quite often the Holy Spirit is the forgotten member of the Trinity. We often do not emphasize Him. Or sometimes we focus on what He can do for us at the expense of who He is. That is the just in the nature of the way the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit does not function alone. The Holy Spirit cannot function alone. Now all the members of the Trinity work in unison. That is not what I’m talking about. It is not who the Holy Spirit works with but whom the Holy Spirit works on. The Father created out of nothing but when He created it existed. The Father’s work is within creation. We also can see Jesus’ work on the cross in the exterior world. He died for all eyes to see. Christ’s work is within history. But the Holy Spirit works within the confines of others. The Holy Spirit works in the interior life. The Holy Spirit works on us and within us. There is no external manifestation of the Spirit’s work there is only the internal process. The Holy Spirit’s work is within the person. The Holy Spirit’s sphere of influence is within the private realm. I can only know how the Holy Spirit is working on you by how you describe it too me. This creates confusion and even distrust.
That sounds very familiar. Many of us have jobs that we feel are overlook, ignored or underappreciated. How many of us have jobs that solely and entirely facilitate the success of others? How many of us have jobs that are dependent upon the performance of others? The entire service industry could very easily relate to the work of the Holy Spirit.
I have worked with students as either a school teacher, youth pastor or campus minister for most of my professional career. How successful I am, is always measured by the change I produce in other individuals. I am a good teacher if my students learn what I teach them. I am a good minister if the students start to grasp lives as a Christian. My success is greatly dependent upon the interior world of other people. My father repaired jewelry and watches for his career. At the end of the day he could tell you the exact number of watches he fixed. His work was much more concrete than mine.
Just as we see Scripture talking about God the Father and Jesus Christ; God the Son as workers we can also examine the work of the Holy Spirit. Although there are probably innumerable different possibilities of distinction in the work of the Holy Spirit, I have chosen to focus on two large groups for this study: The Holy Spirit as Convicter and as Enabler
The Holy Spirit the Convicter:
In John 16 we see God the Holy Spirit as the convicter of sin sometimes we look at this in solely a Spiritual way. However; there are convicting processes in our everyday lives.
John 16:7 – 11 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
In order for the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin He has to have certain attributes. First He has to know the difference between right and wrong. Then He has to be passionate/interested in what is right. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because the Holy Spirit cares about righteousness. Finally, the Holy Spirit has to be able to accurately communicate what does not match up to what ought to be. The Holy Spirit needs to be able to point out what is wrong and to point to what is right.
As we think about working in the image of God we can also think about working like the Holy Spirit. Our work can be convicting along the lines of the Holy Spirit’s work. In order for our work to be convicting there needs to be a few characteristics to it. We need to intimately know the laws, regulations and rules that govern our interactions at work. What should we be doing at our job? How should we be doing it? We not only need to know the rules but we also need to care about them. We need to care about doing things the right way. We need to want to follow the rules. Then we need to communicate what those rules mean and how to follow them to others in a way that is meaningful.
Now I am of the absolutely correct opinion that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He by far exceeds any other player in the history of the game, however; my father has never understood this. He has never seen the light. There have been many occasions that I have tried to convict my father of the error of his ways but he refuses to listen to the truth.
This brings up some interesting kinds of questions when we think about the Spirit’s work and how we can work like the Spirit, especially when we think about our original definition of work. Work is the intentional use of a person’s energy (mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual) to accomplish a specific change. Can we say that the Spirit is working if it is not producing a change? Can the change God the Holy Spirit wants to produce be resisted? Those are huge theological questions that Christians have been debating forever and beyond the scope of this study, but on a more personal level. Can a teacher say that s/he is working when the students are not learning? How frustrating is it when work is unsuccessful; when you are unable to accomplish the changes in people that you intended?
How do you point out things that are wrong within your work environment? How are your actions like the Holy Spirit? How are they different?
What types of professions would you see as being at their core convictive?
How can your convictive actions within the parameters of your work lead you to worship God?
The Holy Spirit the Enabler/Motivator/Mover/Empowerer:
This is the second description we are used to when refer to the work of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is busy enabling us to act in such a way that is pleasing to God.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
In this passage we see that the Holy Spirit gives us power, however, that power can only be known through action. Would you know that the Holy Spirit has given power if that power was not used for some action? The action the Holy Spirit empowers is “witnessing.”
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Again we see the Holy Spirit fill a person and the evidence of that filling was an action by the person. Could the action be “faked” and thus produce a false perception of the filling? Could the filling have occurred without resulting in demonstrable evidence?’
Joel 2:28 – 29
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
Again we see the evidence of the work Holy Spirit as secondary action the person is doing. How will we know the Holy Spirit is working? We only know the Holy Spirit is working because it has empowered the person to do some sort of action.
Are there specific careers that are solely judged by the results they produce through other people’s actions? Do athletic coaches function in ways that are very similar to the Holy Spirit?
What are some of the characteristics of Holy Spirit’s work of Empowering? What are some of the necessary skills and attributes Holy Spirit must possess in His person to enable us to be more like God?
Do you see the work you do as requiring the same type of skills and actions that Holy Spirit used when He empowers us?
How do you empower and enable others within your work environment? How are your actions like the Holy Spirit? How are they different?
What types of professions would you see as being at their core based on empowerment and enabling?
How can your empowering within the parameters of your work lead you to worship God?