We've all felt it - that gnawing feeling you get in your stomach when you haven't eaten. As if the feeling isn't enough to deal with, along comes the growling. The growling itself isn't that bad unless it's during a moment of silence and you're sitting with other people. When that happens, we quickly crumble a piece of paper or begin to cough to mask the noise. Until recently, I never equated the physical aspects of hunger to my spiritual life, but a Sunday sermon led me face-to-face with a profound reality: We need to hunger for the Holy Spirit's presence.
I can't imagine what it must have been like to walk, talk, and eat with Jesus. The disciples were exposed to many experiences and lessons about God's grace and mercy through Jesus. Even so, even though they were hearing the teaching of Jesus and seeing the miracles He performed, they faltered as humans. At one point they argued about who among them was the most important, one betrayed Him, and one denied Him. We live in a world that's not so different. We argue. We spew hatred. We judge. We hurt. We gossip. We deny. We do this even though we know what the Bible teaches us. Why? Because we're human, and alone, we cannot overcome the sin that our mind and body wants to commit.
In the book of Acts, Chapter 1, verses 4-5 we read, "In one of these meetings as he was eating a meal with them, he told them. 'Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit'." Jesus knew that the disciples would need a connection to Him, and so that connection came in the form of the Holy Spirit. It would be the Holy Spirit that would allow the disciples to continue spreading the Word. It would be the Holy Spirit that would allow them to face the beatings, the imprisonments, the cruelties, and even death that lay ahead of them. It would be the Holy Spirit that would allow Christ to be everywhere that the Word was spread and received.
More importantly, however, is how hungry we should be for the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 tells us we can't be Christians without the Holy Spirit, and yet, I don't think this is a concept that is taught or explained enough. I know I certainly didn't understand it until recently. I've been forced to stop and ask myself, "Am I hungry?" and "What am I hungry for?" I can be hungry for what the world tells me is important and ignore what the Spirit tells me, or I can be hungry for what the Spirit reveals to me and ignore what the world says. When I put it in those terms, it seems so simple.
Frank Viola in an excerpt from his book, Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ lists 50 things the Holy Spirit Does. As you read through his list, consider this: Are you hungry for the Holy Spirit? Are you feeding on the Word of God? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to change you? That's not to say that I or we will ever be perfect, but feeding the hunger we have for the Holy Spirit will put us on a path that allows us to change, to be redeemed, to be more Christ-like. How thankful we should be for the Holy Spirit!
1. The Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
2. The Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
3. The Spirit regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5).
4. The Spirit glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14).
5. The Spirit reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15).
6. The Spirit leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1).
7. The Spirit sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16).
8. The Spirit empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8).
9. The Spirit fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17).
10. The Spirit teaches us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 1:20).
11. The Spirit bears witness in us that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).
12. The Spirit produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Gal. 5:22-23).
13. The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations of His presence to and through the body (1 Cor. 12:4, 8-10).
14. The Spirit anoints us for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).
15. The Spirit washes and renews us (Titus 3:5).
16. The Spirit brings unity and oneness to the body (Eph. 4:3; 2:14-18).
17. The Spirit is our guarantee and deposit of the future resurrection (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5).
18. The Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
19. The Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
20. The Spirit quickens our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11).
21. The Spirit reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Cor. 2:10).
22. The Spirit reveals what has been given to us from God (1 Cor. 2:12).
23. The Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14; John 14:17).
24. The Spirit speaks to, in, and through us (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:11; Heb 3:7; Matt. 10:20; Acts 2:4; 8:29; 10:19;
11:12, 28; 13:2; 16:6,7; 21:4,11).
25. The Spirit is the agent by which we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
26. The Spirit brings liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
27. The Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
28. The Spirit cries in our hearts, "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).
29. The Spirit enables us to wait (Gal. 5:5).
30. The Spirit supplies us with Christ (Phil. 1:19, KJV).
31. The Spirit grants everlasting life (Gal. 6:8).
32. The Spirit gives us access to God the Father (Eph. 2:18).
33. The Spirit makes us (corporately) God's habitation (Eph. 2:22).
34. The Spirit reveals the mystery of God to us (Eph. 3:5).
35. The Spirit strengthens our spirits (Eph. 3:16).
36. The Spirit enables us to obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).
37. The Spirit enables us to know that Jesus abides in us (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
38. The Spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2).
39. The Spirit says "Come, Lord Jesus" along with the bride (Rev. 22:17).
40. The Spirit dispenses God's love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
41. The Spirit bears witness to the truth in our conscience (Rom. 9:1).
42. The Spirit teaches us (1 Cor. 2:13; John 14:26).
43. The Spirit gives us joy (1 Thess. 1:6).
44. The Spirit enables some to preach the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).
45. The Spirit moves us (2 Pet. 1:21).
46. The Spirit knows the things of God (1 Cor. 2:11).
47. The Spirit casts out demons (Matt. 12:28).
48. The Spirit brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26).
49. The Spirit comforts us (Acts 9:31).
50. The Spirit makes some overseers in the church and sends some out to the work of church planting [through the body] (Acts 20:28; 13:2).