I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth…. [He] will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (Jn 14:16-17, 26)

The third source of nourishment provided by God for his people is the Holy Spirit. This Spirit lives in us, in our hearts (Gal 4:6), in our “inner being” (Eph 3:16). This Spirit is God’s deposit to us, his seal upon us, his guarantee that we are his beloved children and he will keep his promises to us (2Co 1:22). And the primary mission of this Spirit is to feed us what we need to grow up into strong, effective, and bold disciples of Jesus.

Notice just a few of the ways the Spirit intends to nourish disciples of Jesus:

·         He provides us with an ongoing experience of the presence of Jesus (Jn 14:16-18)

·         He teaches and equips disciples for the mission Jesus left us to accomplish (Jn 14:26)

·         He grants spiritual gifts to each and every follower of Jesus (1Cor 12:7)

·         He fills us with wisdom, boldness, joy, righteousness, and power (Ro 14:17; Gal 5:22-23)

·         He transforms and matures and deepens us until we become the image of Christ (2Co 3:18).

Every believer who has devoted his life to Jesus as Savior and Lord possesses the gift of the Holy Spirit. (That is God’s blessing and promise—Ac 2:38; Ro 8:9.) But there is a world of difference between having that gift and using that gift. For too many Christians, the Spirit remains safely in a box, wrapped up in pretty paper, unappreciated and underutilized. The gift of God’s Spirit must be unwrapped, released, and set free in each of our lives if we are to experience his transforming work.

One of the greatest challenges of the church today is helping people grow their roots deep into the Holy Spirit and draw up the nourishment he provides for their growth and development. Teaching people to “walk in the Spirit,” develop an intimate relationship with the Spirit, trust the Spirit to change them into Christ-like people, rely on the Spirit’s guidance and wisdom and power, and receive the Spirit’s gifts are among the most important things the church does in these difficult days.

We all need to make an intimate experience of the Holy Spirit a priority in our lives.

To that end, the North Central Church will practice and teach a full encounter with God’s indwelling Spirit. While we are not a “charismatic” church—in the sense of advocating or practicing personal manifestations of miraculous spiritual powers—we are a church that believes the Spirit is powerful in changing us into the image of Christ and that we need his power to be transformed. We will encourage you to know the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, pray and minister in the Spirit, be controlled by the Spirit. We will help you experience the Spirit’s gifts and comfort and healing and boldness.

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© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.