Jun 13, 2012
In my early years I believed in the Holy Spirit, read Scripture about the Holy Spirit, and talked about the Holy Spirit.
But I had little experience of the Holy Spirit.
That changed in seminary — when someone urged me to look more closely at what Scripture taught about the Holy Spirit.
So I read through the New Testament asking — how much will believers experience the Holy Spirit?
What I discovered stunned me.
Here’s what I read —
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive … (John 7:37-39)
Jesus is speaking to people who are thirsty — for security, joy, peace.
He promises that if they will believe in Him — He will so satisfy their heart-thirsts that rivers (not a trickle, not a creek, not one river, but multiple rivers) of living water will flow from their hearts.
Notice — this is something we experience. Just as heart-thirst is something we feel — the quenching of our heart-thirsts is something we feel.
And — this is the work of the Spirit — “this He said about the Spirit.”
And — we receive this work of the Spirit by faith alone — “whoever believes in me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. And — “those who believed in him were to receive.”
So every believer can experience having his heart-thirsts satisfied by the Holy Spirit.
But how does the Holy Spirit do this?
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2Cor 3:18)
Paul says our sin and Satan’s power are like a veil blinding us to Jesus’ glory (2Cor 4:4; Eph 4:18).
But when God saves us the Holy Spirit removes that veil — and for the first time we see the light of God’s glory in the face of Christ (2Cor 4:6).
This is not just knowing facts about Jesus Christ (as important as that is).
This is feeling the beauty of Jesus Christ — sensing the glory of Jesus Christ — tasting the majesty of Jesus Christ.
When we sense the glory of Jesus Christ all our heart-thirsts will be fully satisfied — because Jesus is THE all-satisfying Treasure (Phil 3:8).
This is not our constant experience — which is why Paul prays that we would experience it more (Eph 1:16-19; Eph 3:14-19).
But it can be our frequent experience — which is why Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
So — what can we do to experience this work of the Spirit?
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (Gal 3:5)
The Galatian believers had been duped.
The Judaizers convinced them that salvation depended on works of the law — like avoiding bacon.
So Paul asks — how does God supply the Spirit to you?
He’s asking — think about times when God poured His Spirit upon you — when you sensed the glory of Jesus Christ and had your heart thirsts overflowingly satisfied.
What were you doing at those times? Were you avoiding bacon? Or were you hearing God’s Word with faith?
The answer was obvious to them — they were hearing God’s Word with faith.
Not only does this show that every believer can regularly experience the supernatural work of the Spirit — it also shows how.
It’s by hearing God’s Word with faith.
What we do is prayerfully set our hearts on Scriptures displaying the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ.
As we do that the Holy Spirit will change our hearts and strengthen our faith so we see and feel the glory of God in Christ Jesus.
We will feel Jesus’ glory.
Rivers of living water will flow.
Our heart-thirsts will be quenched.
We will be transformed.
What have you experienced?
Has this been your experience? Or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts — so leave a comment below. Thanks!
Do you know someone who would be helped by reading this? Email it to them using the “share” button below — or use the buttons to share it on your favorite social media platform.
If you’d like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications — and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)
And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
How the Holy Spirit Helped Me Feel the Truth of Jesus
How to Obey God -- Self-Pushing or Spirit-Empowering?
Jonathan Edwards' Experience of the Glory of Christ
Don't settle for just knowing the truth -- FEEL the truth (a 4-min video)
(Picture is by Gustave Dore and in the public domain.)