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What is your experience with the Holy Spirit? For years, I lived my life as if the Holy Spirit didn't exist. I came by that posture honestly, having been raised in a church that may have been faith-filled in other ways, but was agnostic about the Holy Spirit. I suppose that anything we …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

What is your experience with the Holy Spirit?

For years, I lived my life as if the Holy Spirit didn't exist. I came by that posture honestly, having been raised in a church that may have been faith-filled in other ways, but was agnostic about the Holy Spirit.

I suppose that anything we couldn't explain (which, when it comes to God, is just about everything), we just ignored.

Later in life, when I started paying attention to how he works, everything changed. Now, if something seems odd or unexplainable, I'm OK with that. I figure, he's God, he doesn't need to check with me before doing something. Actually, if he were as predictable as a lot of Christians want to make him, I don't know if I'd want to follow him as much.

Nonbelievers can rest easy when they debunk our theology, but they can't debunk the works of the Holy Spirit that so many of us have experienced. Try explaining the healings, the people raised from the dead, and the power in confronting evil. The Holy Spirit's power leaves other faiths – relgious systems that rely on mere words –
in the dust.

So, last month, we challenged our World Racers to write a blog post about the Holy Spirit.

Here are some of my favorites:

You can read the rest of the 150 posts here: Holy Spirit blog posts.

The Holy Spirit is a little different to each of us. Who is the Holy Spirit to you? Feel free to leave a comment to share.

Comments (18)

  • Thanks Seth for these resources. I came into a dramatic experience with the Holy Sprit when I was 13 and my life has never been the same since.

  • Though I think God does act in very big ways too big for us to grasp, signs and wonders are not necessarily a sign that God is with you. In fact Jesus says:

    “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” – Matthew 7:22-24

    What do you mean by “religious systems that rely on mere words”? What words are you referring to? Theology? Doctrine? I.E. The Bible? The living Word of God?

    God doesn’t have to act how we want him to, but he will always act in accordance with His Word. If you don’t hold the Bible in high regard and spend time in it daily, going to it WITHOUT an agenda, you will not know what it says, and therefore will not be able to test the things that you see and experience.

    I fear that somewhere along the way you were seriously deceived and now you are deceiving others without even realizing it. You have surrounded yourself with people who view things the way you do, and dismiss those who think you are wrong by claiming that they are agnostic about the Holy Spirit. You are fulfilling 2 Timothy 4:3:

    “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

    Early in my faith I had dramatic experiences with what I thought was the Holy Spirit, only to be convicted through Scripture that what I experienced was contradictory to what God has already revealed to us. There are other powers at work, and Satan loves to mimic God if it means leading people astray. Satan loves it when we think experience is more important than Scripture.

    Don’t dismiss this because you think I just don’t get it. I get the importance of the Word of God. It is what spoke life into me at the age of 17. I heard the Gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit, my heart of stone became a heart of flesh. I became a new creation. God is real…and I have never seen anyone healed (in a dramatic instant way) or raised from the dead…but I don’t need to see that stuff to believe him. He chooses to reveal himself in different ways and in different places for HIS purposes. He is always working in bigger ways than I can imagine even when I can’t see it. It is about his glory. It is not about us.

    I pray you will be able to see your error. If not, God help you.

  • Amanda,

    I think you missed the entire point.

    If you find the statement “religious systems that rely on mere words” and back up about 2 words (and a dash), you will see “other faiths”.

    Seth wasn’t criticizing Christianity, he was saying that the Holy Spirit allows us a closer walk with God (via Christianity) vs. just reading words in the physical realm (other faiths).

    You basically proved his point. He is saying that without the Holy Spirit involved in our faith, it is dead.

    I pray you will be able to see your error. If not, God help you.

    Mike

  • It wasn’t clear to me that is what he meant. I would still like Seth to respond.

    And it is still true that signs and wonders are not necessarily a sign that you are doing God’s will.

    Seth, I believe I have a bit of a bias, and I am sorry I let it come through in what I said. I think it is because when you said you were raised in a church that was faith filled in some ways, and agnostic about the Holy Spirit, I assumed you would think my church is one of those churches…because we do not see miracles and such. I do not believe the Holy Spirit always shows itself this way. It can be much more subtle, and I think the Bible is the only way we can discern what is the Holy Spirit and what isn’t. The Bible is God’s Living Word and it (by the power of the Holy Spirit) transforms our minds, so that we can discern what is from God and what isn’t. I find you don’t talk about the Bible a whole lot, but talk about experience a lot. That makes me a little weary because our experience is so subjective.

    I should not have jumped to conclusions. I should have just asked you what you meant. I went too far. Forgive me (I am being sincere). But please, clear things up for me 🙂

  • I also assumed you were talking about Christians like me when you said “nonbelievers” because early in your post you were talking about Christians who didn’t really seem to believe the Holy Spirit existed. I thought you were referring back to that at the end of your post. I have been in very charismatic “Spirit-Led” churches where the Pastor did refer to people like me as nonbelievers and say I am following a different gospel (i.e. a different religion).

    Again, if I am wrong and you were not referring back to that, please forgive me. I honestly care about you, I am not trying to hurt or disrespect anyone.

  • Hi Amanda,

    Mike caught my intent. When I said, “The Holy Spirit’s power leaves other faiths – relgious systems that rely on mere words – in the dust,” I was referring to faiths that don’t trust in Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” – nonChristians.

    When faith is plural, it typically refers to “religions” in a broad sense as opposed to “denominations of a distinct religion.” Examples of faiths would be the Hindu faith, the Muslim faith, the Buddhist faith. Examples of denominations would be Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists.

    What I said was “I lived my life as if the Holy Spirit didn’t exist” – that is very different than what you assumed: “Christians who didn’t really seem to believe the Holy Spirit existed.”

    Believing that the Holy Spirit exists is a foundational tenet of the faith for Christian denominations. If a group of people does not believe in the Holy Spirit, to me that makes them at the minimum, a cult, if not in fact some other faith altogether.

    I appreciate your saying that you are not trying to disrespect anyone, because I found your final comment “I pray you will be able to see your error. If not, God help you” to be very dismissive, and therefore disrespectful.” If I were to be wondering about something so foundational and concerned about whether you are even a believer, I would not use such divisive language in a public forum. I’m responding here because you began it here, but it is the kind of thing that makes nonChristians never want to come close to us because we appear not to care for one another.

    I do appreciate your saying you care about me, however, your dismissive and caustic tone indicates otherwise, and may do harm to the kingdom. If this is what a “Bible-focused faith” produces, nonbelievers may be excused for saying, “those Christians don’t even love one another, so how could I possibly expect them to love someone like me?”

  • “Nonbelievers can rest easy when they debunk our theology, but they can’t debunk the works of the Holy Spirit that so many of us have experienced. Try explaining the healings, the people raised from the dead, and the power in confronting evil. The Holy Spirit’s power leaves other faiths – relgious systems that rely on mere words –
    in the dust.”

    But other religious systems don’t rely on mere words.

    I’m sorry, but nonbelievers I talk to are quite happy to debunk and explain away healings, people raised from the dead and the power in confronting evil. They do it in two ways 1) skeptics ask for proof (and conversely point to the miracles of science, explaining them that way) and 2) other faiths (correctly) point out reports of miracles in their own religions. It’s not like Christianity is the only religion to claim miracles. Heck, even Moses faced wonder-workers in Pharoah’s court (God came out on top even there, but this did not mean that miracles were absent from the false systems).

    The simple fact is that Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, and a raft of other religions all claim supernatural miraculous power from “unpredictable” gods that must be appeased. Christianity has always seemed different to me because in addition to the wonderful, powerful work of God, we can also always predict that He will be faithful to His word, and that whatever He does will be good.

    Of course, this also means that discernment needs to be applied to our spiritual experiences, because Christ has already warned us, as has Paul through prophecy the Church has discerned to be of the Holy Spirit (recorded in the Bible) that not all spirits at work in the world are holy.

  • Stephen, you make a good point. Some religions do. But then you have power encounters and, as with Moses, our God is more powerful. Here is a great example in the modern day:
    http://joshandbekahspurgeon.theworldrace.org/?filename=haiti-the-unseen

    My point is not that experience is NOT subjective, but that we serve a powerful God. The Bible makes the point I was trying to make in 1 Cor. 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

    Look at how inadequate words are right now in this blog-based conversation. We need more than words.

  • I apologize for not being clearer, but I’m trying to say that since not all interpretations of experiences are correct (like Israel’s sad and costly decision to attribute their salvation from Egypt to a golden calf), and not all experiences of a spiritual nature are even of God in the first place (take the actions of Simon the magician in Acts), it is best to not just rejoice in the acts themselves, but Biblically discern what they mean. My point is that our “experiences of the Holy Spirit” should be discerned in light of the God revealed in the Bible, and thus not simply taken from the experience itself (we can’t have experiences without interpretation, so at least we should endeavour to make our interpretations a little closer to God’s revealed heart).

    This is, of course, independent of the side issues that the Bible is full of incidents where it seemed that God had been defeated by other gods (Joseph’s imprisonment, centuries of slavery in Egypt, the Babylonian exile, much of Jeremiah, the subjugation by Rome, the death of Christ, the persecutions in Acts), it was only at a later point that we get to see God’s glory through the work of the Holy Spirit in those instances. That is to say, while the God of Abraham triumphed clearly over the gods of Egypt, it didn’t seem that way when Moses started to preach (and Moses ended up bellyaching directly to God saying “why have you sent me?”).

    Also, I understand the power of God referred to in 1 Cor. 2:4-5 to be explained by 1-3 (and the latter half of chapter 1), namely not a philosophical diatribe, but an expression of God’s work through the cross of Christ, convicting sinners by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s why 1 Corinthians 1 speaks of Christ crucified as a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1:23).

    We do serve a powerful God, but that does not mean that all acts of spiritual power are in service to God. Discernment is necessary,

  • BIBLE TRANSLATIONS

    The thought process of some Christians is puzzling to say the least. Why do some believers in Christ question that God has the power to guide men to translate Bibles that are inerrant, trustworthy, accurate, faultless, reliable, infallible.

    Some of the same Christians who believe the following miracles of the Bible, doubt that God can produce an inerrant translation of the Bible.

    They believe that Aaron’s staff became a serpent. (Exodus 7:10-12) However they do not believe that translations of the Bible are trustworthy.

    They believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead. (John 21:14) However they do not agree that Bible translations are inerrant.

    They believe that the dead man Elisha stood up on his feet. (2 Kings 13:20-21) However they doubt that Bible translations are infallible.

    They believe Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. (John 11:37-44) However they do not affirm that Bible translations are reliable.

    They believe that God turned Lots wife into a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26) However they are not convince that God has given us a translation of the Bible that is accurate.

    Even those who state that the King James translation is the only accurate translation, believe that Mark 16:16 does mean what is says: They say “Has been baptized shall be saved” actually means, “Has already been saved before they were baptized.” The assert that Acts 2:38 actually means “Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ because your sins have already been forgiven.” They really do not trust the KJV either.

    Ninety-nine percent of the Bible translations are accurate, trustworthy, inerrant translations of God’s word.

    A few of my favorites are New American Standard Bible, King James Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version, and New International Version. There are also many other reliable translations.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

  • God is a spirit… God is that very same spirit that saw the good in job whilst satan saw only evil. It is if you choose to em…brace it that good that you choose to see in every human being alive and in that you make yourself the holy spirit of god. Everyone is called to see the good in the counterparts upon this earth including God and he does not flinch at the thought of believing in opportunity. neither should you. we are all called to be the holy spirit of god all loving all caring all compassionate. The bible says ye are gods embrace it and love other people as you love yourself. If you treat others with the same optimism that god treats you with you will surely be the holy spirit.

  • Thank you so much for sharing about this subject. It is so beautiful to find stories of people’s walk in the Holy Spirit and all that that entails. Life in the Holy Spirit – with Jesus and the Father – is such a wonderful adventure of love, power, experience and truth. I often look online to find such testimonies, and it is precious when they do turn up – although unfortunately many other Christians seem to feel the need to swarm to such accounts of the activities of the Spirit contest and ‘warn’ readers about them! Still, thank you for sharing… It is always worth it.

  • Holy Spirit, you who makes me see everything and shows me the way to reach my ideal, you who gives me the divine gift to forgive and forget all the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to God’s holy will, I ask from you..(mention your favour). Amen

  • Holy Spirit, you who makes me see everything and shows me the way to reach my ideal, you who gives me the divine gift to forgive and forget all the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to God’s holy will, I ask from you..(mention your favour). Amen

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  • Holy Spirit, You who solve all problems, who light all roads so that I can attain my goal. You who give me the Divine gift to forgive and forget all evil against me and that in all instances of my life you are with me. I want this short prayer to thank you for all things to confirm once agan that I never want to be separated from you even in spite of all material illusions. I wish to be with you in eternal glory. Thank you for your mercy toward me and mine. DAL

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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