But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
As Christians, we understand that salvation is not a matter of earning God's favor by our own effort. Rather it is transferring our trust from what we can do to get ourselves to heaven to what Jesus Christ has already done. Yet, the same Scripture that tells us that we are not saved by good works tells us that we are saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). To put it another way, the God who has saved us from the penalty of sin now intends to change us--to remove the sinful habits and selfish attitudes in our lives so that we can become more like His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). To accomplish this goal, God has not left us alone to live the Christian life in our own strength. Actually that would be impossible. But God's power can do the impossible--that is, enable us to live the Christian life. The following study is designed to help you understand the work of God's Holy Spirit (the third member of the Godhead) and how you can cooperate with His daily work in your life.
What The Holy Spirit Does
He united you to Christ at the moment of conversion; He caused you to believe (2 Thessalonians 2:13). He placed you into Christ's body (1 Corinthians 12:13), and He is the bond that makes you belong to Jesus (Romans 8:9).
He assures you that you belong to God. He teaches you to call God, "Father" (Romans 8:15-16). He is God's seal of ownership and your guarantee of complete salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14).
He is making you to be more like Jesus Christ. By progressively freeing you from sinful habits and transforming you into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). By empowering you to replace ungodly habits with godly fruit such as love, patience, and self-control (Galatians 5:18-23).
You can do what pleases God because His Spirit gives you power. He is your life and strength. That is why you must not ignore Him or try to live the Christian life without depending on Him. His work will not cease until it is completed at Christ's second coming when our bodies will be transformed to be like Christ's body (Philippians 3:20-21).
Because the Holy Spirit is at work in you, you need to understand...
How You Can Cooperate With His Daily Work In Your Life
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit means dependence on Him and His divine resources. We must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Keeping in step with the Spirit sounds very mysterious. Actually it means that we submit to and rely on the Spirit. We look to Him for help--daily trusting Him and praying to Him for understanding and strength (Ephesians 1:17-18). We must be filled with (or controlled by) the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); being filled by the Spirit has the idea of control by (Note the contrast with drunkenness). It has the idea of being totally saturated with (Colossians 3:16).
To be filled with the Holy Spirit and to have Christ’s Word dwell in you mean the same thing. God’s Spirit always works in and through His Word.
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit means the disciplined use of His divine resources. Change occurs as you learn to put off the old ways of thinking and responding and put on God's new ways of thinking and responding. This begins by daily renewing your mind with the life-changing truth of God's Word (Ephesians 4:22-24; See verses 25-32 for some specific examples). As you learn to practice the truth, you gradually become more and more godly--like Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 4:7).
The word ”train” in 1 Timothy 4:7 is an athletic term. It means: daily sustained effort. Just as it takes practice to be skilled in a particular sport, so it takes practice to be skilled in living the Christian life. God does not expect you to be perfect; He expects you to be growing. Your part in growing is exerting daily sustained effort to apply His Word to your life.
Read Ephesians 3:16-17. It is a model for how you should pray daily for yourself: Study God's Word. (See passages below). Depend on the Holy Spirit to help you obey, and begin to obey. This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit. His power will be displayed in your life as you trust Him and begin to obey His Word.
Study Ephesians 4:25-6:9. It is an extended discussion of how to put off old habits and replace them with godly habits in obedience to God's Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Below are a list of put offs and put ons from this passage:
Old Habit To Put Off
New Habit To Put On
Not taking care of my sin against others
Confessing my sin as soon as possible
Working and sharing
Attacking with my words
Building up others with my words
Reacting sinfully to the sin of others
Acting with kindness--regardless of how I am treated
World's kind of love: Getting for me
God's kind of love: Giving to others
Using others for my own ends
Serving others for God's glory
Note an area from above where you need to change.
List some steps that would begin to move you toward that goal.