Understanding the Work of the Holy Spirit

I have a memory that has always been quite strong, and I thought of it when I recently wrote about our “spiritual eyes” being opened by the Holy Spirit. The nature and understanding of the Holy Spirit was a mystery partially unlocked when I was young.

Understanding the Holy Spirit- flames along bottom border with dark green background

Our Mom was the lunch lady at our private school. One particular lesson in religion class must have really impressed me because I remember being so excited to share what I had learned. 

I made a beeline behind the counter while she was busily serving lunch to tell her I had finally figured out what the “Holy Ghost” was. I don’t remember my thoughts, but I just remember wanting to share my elementary grade revelation with her.

Why did that memory stick in my mind? I wish I knew. I just remember being so excited that something had “clicked” in my mind regarding this spiritual truth.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is always at work. He works constantly in the lives of believers and unbelievers, bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ.

He works in ways that are beyond the understanding of our human wisdom. Jesus gives us some insight, however, in this explanation to Nicodemus:

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.

We hear wind, so we know it is real even though we can’t see it or know where it comes from. The work of the Holy Spirit is a similar phenomenon. 

The Father graciously promised to send us His spiritual presence after Jesus’ physical presence was no longer on earth. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we can know the personal presence of Christ.

On the day of Pentecost, the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which fulfilled the promise. 

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit shows us our need for a Savior. He comes to live within us when we believe in Jesus and personally guides us in our personal relationship with Him.

Bible Verses about the Holy Spirit

Searching for verses related to the role of the Holy Spirit gives us a deeper understanding and a new appreciation for this marvelous gift from our heavenly Father.

Here are 5 (of many!):

The Spirit of God

We can begin in the Old Testament in Genesis 1:2 where “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” He was active and powerful in creating our world. 

That attribute of creator continues today with you and me- “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”-Gen 1:26, and “When you send your Spirit, they are created”- Psalm 104:30.

The Apostle Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The presence of the Spirit within inspires us to live out important qualities Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit.” These nine attributes of a Christian life are qualities that please God. The Spirit produces them, not us. As we grow in our faith, these characteristics of Jesus will be evident in our lives. We find them in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22.

What is He trying to create in you today?

Spirit of Truth

One aspect of the Spirit’s work in our Christian life is to reveal God’s wisdom and truth. He enables us to understand God’s Word, making the deep things of God clear-

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13.

“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:12.

He guides us, helps us, and teaches us, caring for both our minds and our hearts. He doesn’t expect us to figure everything out on our own!

How can we experience His guidance in our lives?

Empowered by the Holy Spirit-

According to Isaiah 11:1-2, Jesus the Messiah will receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him. He will have the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, and knowledge. 

When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, Peter, filled with this same Holy Spirit, preached a sermon that brought about 3000 people to a belief in Jesus. The apostles could speak in other tongues, which drew the people’s attention to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have this exact same power

His power helps us resist temptations and lead a transformed life. He empowers us to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7.

When we rely on His power and strength, we can accomplish God’s will. 

How can you use this amazing power of God in your life?

Understanding the Holy Spirit- illustration of white dove on light blue background
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Comforter Holy Spirit

David says in Psalm 139:7-8-“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” 

He clarifies that the Holy Spirit never leaves us.

Jesus knew his disciples would grieve His absence after His death. He promises them comfort in the person of the Holy Spirit. 

He promises: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth.” John 14:16. The Greek word for “Counselor” means to stand by one’s side as an advocate, encourager, helper, and assistant.

In Romans 8:26 (MSG) we read that “the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

I love this picture of the Holy Spirit coming before God, interceding for me when I do not have the words to express myself.

Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit comforted you?

Gifts of the Spirit-

Paul teaches about spiritual gifts to God’s people in 1Corinthians 12:

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (v7) “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” (v11) 

He personalizes his gifts to minister to the needs of the body of Christ- wisdom, knowledge, faithfulness, prayer, healing, administration, teaching, serving, encouraging, etc.

He’s counting on us to use them!

What gifts has the Holy Spirit given you? How are you using them?

Attributes of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity, and therefore fully God and eternal. Jesus promised that when he left this earth, the Father would send the Holy Spirit into the life of the believer.

The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us, remind us of Jesus’ words, give us understanding of the Bible, counsel us and help us. (John 14:26)

He is a “co-author” in the writing of the Bible: “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21.

The Holy Spirit is with us everywhere we go; He has an infinite awareness, understanding, and insight. The Holy Spirit understands us perfectly and knows exactly what we need.

Names of the Holy Spirit

He is called by many names in Scripture: Comforter/Counselor/Paraclete (helper), Guide, Teacher, and Witness.

Isaiah 11:2 describes the “Spirit of the Lord” as one of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, and knowledge. He convicts us of our sin and is called the “Spirit of Grace.” (Hebrews 10:29)

He is the “Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26) and “The Spirit of Life” (Romans 8:2

There are many more- we could do an entire study just on His names!

Which one of these descriptions and names of the Holy Spirit are especially precious to you?

The Power of the Holy Spirit

I have seen the work of the Spirit in my life, using my personality and interests in many different ways. I think the key is to be more aware of when and where we can use our gifts and talents in ways that honor God.

When I think of the power that is available through the indwelling nature of the Holy Spirit, it reminds me that “with God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Start with a simple word search of the Holy Spirit in your Bible. He’s there from Genesis to Revelation (which shouldn’t surprise me, I guess.)
Meditate on the questions above. Let His many attributes help you in your life- every single day!



Acts 1:8-“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”

All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Canva

4 thoughts on “Understanding the Work of the Holy Spirit”

  1. So good, thanks, Ann.
    I love the story about you as a little girl running to tell you mom in the lunchroom that you figured out who the Holy Spirit was! Even at a young age you were so wise!!”

    1. I’m not sure about the “wise” part! I wish I could remember what I told her. I just remember being so excited! The Holy Spirit is one of those “mysteries” that will be unlocked for us when we get to Heaven, but I’m thankful for the insight we do have. What a precious gift!

  2. Beautiful post! Yet the Holy Spirit is a feminine aspect of God. She is announced in Genesis (depending on translation) as “Spirit” (KJV) or “wind.” The Hebrew word is “Ruach,” a feminine word, which means “Spirit.” Genesis 1:26 tells us we are made “in the image of God, both male and female.” God’s manifestation is both male and female; and the Ruach or Holy Spirit is a distinctly feminine dimension of the Godhead. This is why I refer to the Holy Spirit as She.

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad we connected! I have never heard this aspect so I did some digging… Here’s my personal take! God is spirit (has no physical body) but made us to be able to do things He does-in His image- (speak, hear, think, plan, etc.) We have morals, a spirit that can commune with God, and a personality- setting us apart from all animals and plants. He made us male and female for His purposes. As far as the language of using Ruach- a feminine noun- as basis for calling the Spirit she, noun usage doesn’t indicate gender. And just to complicate noun usage… Proverbs 8 uses a masculine noun to describe a woman! I do believe God was described as a father and had the compassion that compares to a mother, but just as a way to show how any good parent would act, not as gender. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came as a dove. At Pentecost, as a rushing wind and tongues of fire! I, however, cannot pretend to grasp the wonders of heaven, but know that all will be made known when we get there!

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