"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever —"
John 14:16

Who is the Holy Spirit

"Who" is HE Really?


If we add all the scriptures discussed in the "Knowing HIM" tab, then we start to get a good start on “who” Mr. Holy Spirit is.

  • He is Part of the Godhead, meaning he is God
  • He is a "person" not an "it"
  • He’s a “hands on” doer.
  • He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty
  • He likes to work behind the scenes, in the thick of it
  • He doesn’t demand public recognition (only for the Glory of God)
  • He’s a team player
  • He’s Powerful
  • He’s a Teacher
  • He’s a Friend
  • He’s Loving
  • He’s Joyful
  • He’s Peaceful
  • He’s Kind
  • He’s Forbearing
  • He’s Good
  • He’s Faithful
  • He’s Gentle
  • He has self-control
  • He wants to be respected

  • Knowing that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, which is all of One God, we could add further to this list. For example, we know what God the Father’s will is based on his model of Heaven. We know what Jesus’s will is based on scripture. All of these parts in the Trinity align to one God, therefore, what is true of one must also be true of the other.

    This list would suffice to consider a person a “Friend”. These are the types of things that you know about a person that makes them more than an acquaintance. It is up to us individually to deepen our relationship with Mr. Holy Spirit to better understand more. What’s His favorite color? What does he like? What does he NOT like? What is his opinion on things? What does he want us to do together?

    Knowing Him

    So often we go right to the Fruits of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit without actually stopping to know Him. If he is our Best Friend, what is he like? If we think of anyone close in our life such as a parent, sibling, spouse or friend, we know just about everything about them. We know what foods they like and don’t like, their sense of humor, their favorite things etc… But can we say this is true of our BFF the Holy Spirit? We know he is a “person” not a “thing”, so shouldn’t we know more about “who” he is and what makes him, Him?

    Well the good news is, he’s with us and inside us, so if we seek to have a relationship with him, he will tell us all these things just as our closest humans do. The bad news is, if we haven’t already learned to have that open communication, we must first start there, in learning to hear and understand his voice. The even better news is, we have everything we need to accomplish this.

    Setting that aside for now, though we should all personally explore that with Him, let’s look to see what the Bible tells us of “who” is the Holy Spirit.

    Genesis 1:2
    The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

    We see here that he had a part in creation. Being part of God, of course he was there, but we see a very distinct callout of him “moving over the surface”. Seems pretty “hands on”.

    Judges 3:10
    The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.…

    So we see in the Old Testament an example of where the Holy Spirit, again being “hands-on”, partnering with Othniel the son of Kenaz, to save God’s people.

    Micah 3:8
    On the other hand I am filled with power-- With the Spirit of the LORD-- And with justice and courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious act, Even to Israel his sin.

    1 Chronicles 12:18
    Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.” So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.

    We see here two Old Testament examples of how the Holy Spirit was the voice of God for the better of his people.

    Matthew 3:16
    As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

    At this moment we see that the Holy Spirit has come to partner with Jesus for his ministry on Earth.

    John 5:19
    So Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does.

    Jesus is telling us that he is not doing these miracles or saying anything on his own (Jesus only) accord. Instead, all things and power are coming from the Father. And we know from the Baptism, the Father gave him the Holy Spirit.

    John 14:12
    Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 16:7
    But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

    Now we have a little more perspective on these two verses. It would definitely suggest here that Jesus performed miracles through the Holy Spirit, and he is saying that it is best for us that Jesus go away, so that he can have the Father send the Holy Spirit to US. All of Us.

    It is easy for us to put Jesus’s name to these miracles, but honestly, how much have we considered the partnership that he had with the Holy Spirit? Was Jesus teaching us what we could do with the Holy Spirit? After all, we know that Jesus is God, part of the Trinity, and therefore, what significance did the scene during his baptism have? That is a HUGE significance. The Holy Spirit just walks onto the stage in a profound way, one that perhaps we don’t often see.

    So why is that? Scripture made sure to record the Holy Spirit stepping onto the stage during Jesus’s baptism, but then it doesn’t specifically mention the Holy Spirit throughout all the Miracles. Right? If we read it, “Jesus touched the leper and he was cleansed.”

    Well, we can see a trend of the Holy Spirit being a very “Hands on” kind of guy. Definitely not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. We know that he works relentlessly with us humans, which has to be a frustrating job, (as we see in scripture and within ourselves), and yet he never gives up on us. So I think it’s safe to say he is enormously patient. The fact that the Holy Spirit while not a secret in scripture, is rarely in the forefront of what he is actually doing, says something of his character as well. We can relate this to those people that prefer to work in the background, the kind that not only doesn’t need recognition, but actually prefer not to be the one in the forefront. These people are typically ‘heads down’ kind of workers. They are task oriented.

    However, even those people, as shy as they may seem to most, also desire close relationships. They have families and friends who know what foods they like, when their birthday is, and so on. In fact, the close relationships they do have, though they are likely fewer in count than the socialites, are very deep. These people subscribe to the “quality” of friends rather than the “quantity”. Because there is a smaller circle to spread themselves across, they invest more deeply in those around them, spending time with more frequency and more volume. Their efforts behind the scenes are often for a common good, whether that be the success of a team, company, or an outcome to a movement or ministry. Their service is to something larger than themselves. Though they typically are uncomfortable with public recognition, it is still important to them that their superior recognize their efforts and accomplishments as a fruitful part of the team. At a minimum this comes as a performance review, but really, needs to come more frequently with something as simple as “hey, good job”.

    It stands to reason that both of these are true of the Holy Spirit given our examples in scripture. He desires a very deep, meaningful and personal relationship with us. He works hard for the Glory of God, not insisting on recognition for his work. It is important that we recognize his work, and rather than taking credit for it, give him a high-five and a “thank you”. All things are for the Glory of the Father, and we have been partnered with the awesome Holy Spirit to accomplish this. He is definitely the strongest, wisest and most powerful of our team, but he still loves us, the underdogs, and wants to help us achieve those things.

    John 14:26
    But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.

    Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is our teacher. If we relate this to teachers in our schools, we can all agree that it takes a special kind of person to perform that job. Teaching is not easy. First, we are born thinking we know everything. Try convincing a five year old that cookies are not healthy. Try telling a nine year old that what they ‘heard’ about where babies come from isn’t accurate. It takes patience and perseverance to even attempt teaching, and that doesn’t even get you started. Perhaps the most difficult is the ability to relate something that people don’t know yet to something that that they do know so that you can implant a solid understanding of this new concept. We saw Jesus do this with Parables. And yet, Jesus was in human form, speaking audibly to an audience. The Holy Spirit is here trying to get our attention. We are like the rambunctious kindergarteners that can’t hear the teacher because we are running around throwing crayons at each other. And yet, he wants us to take our seats so that he can teach us knowledge far beyond anything that human beings have yet to comprehend.

    That shows us Patience, Love, Kindness and Determination

    The Fruit of a Tree is of that Tree. If you pick an apple from a tree, it’s “an apple tree”. If you pick a persimmon from a tree, it’s a “persimmon tree.”

    So, when we see the “Fruits of the Spirit” listed, we often think those apply to US, (which they do), but would those fruits not come from the tree that IS those fruits?

    For us to produce these fruits based on the Holy Spirit working inside us, it would indicate that He has those same Fruits, (or perhaps, IS those same fruits.) Therefore, we can say that Mr. Holy Spirit is Loving, Joyful, Peaceful, Forbearing, Kind, Good, Faithful, Gentle, and has Self Control.

    We also get one more glimpse from Jesus, in a very astounding statement.

    Matthew 12: 31-32
    31Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.…

    This is very interesting. Jesus is saying that it will be forgiven those who speak against Jesus, but absolutely zero tolerance on speaking against the Holy Spirit. I think it’s safe to say that the Holy Spirit not only desires respect, but demands it.


    Our Triune being

    We first need to look to ourselves to better understand this question. We are made up of Body, Soul and Spirit. Most of us can easily understand the Body and Soul part, even though some may think of their “soul” as simply their “consciousness”. Either way, we can easily understand how there are sometimes arguments between our Body and our Soul.

    For example, let’s say there is this physical thing you want to do (a walk in the woods, a marathon, a flight of stairs etc.) But let’s say, you sprained your ankle. Despite your mental want to do this thing, your body is arguing that it can’t. Likely in this case, your body will win over your soul. The same could be said of any illness where you miss out on doing something you really wanted to do because your body just wasn’t up to the task.

    We have a third thing in there called our Spirit, and often it is left to be a shadow in the room that we don’t notice. Our spirit isn’t nearly as pushy as our body, and doesn’t seem to be nearly as opinionated as our Soul. There is a reason for that.

    Pastor Tony explains it this way, because we are born into sin, we are born with body and soul intact, but our spirit is stillborn so to speak. When we accept Jesus Christ, our Soul is brought to life.

    John 3:6
    Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit.

    Now it stands to reason that if you are saved early on in life, the maturity of your Body, Soul and Spirit will be of closer proximity. They will find it easier to work together since they “grew up” together so to speak. However, for those of us who were saved later in life, we have an adult body and soul, but a baby Spirit. Our bodies and souls are so used to calling the shots, they find it hard to take orders from the “infant spirit”.

    Some people falsely believe that salvation is a light switch that instantly changes their habits. Sorry to tell you brothers and sisters, it’s not that easy. Why? Because we still have free will. The Holy Spirit will work on maturing us, but we will still find temptation in the things of old as our Body and Soul get on the same page with our new Spirit.

    God is a Triune Being

    God is made up of three parts, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By Jesus ascending into Heaven, the Father (by request of Jesus) sent us the Holy Spirit. All three elements of God are conscious beings with intellect, emotion and will, thereby they are all a “Him” not an “it”. But just as the three have all these things independently, they still make up the One God. Struggling to wrap your head around that? Don’t worry, most Christians do too. One of the best examples of this in earthly terms that we can understand is this. Water has three states. If you put ice cubes into a glass, put water in it, then cover it over with plastic wrap, you will have a glass of water in three states. Some is frozen (solid) some is liquid and some is vapor (gas). However, all of these states have the same chemical makeup (H2O) and therefore are all “water”.

    Often it is easy to comprehend the Father God and Jesus as being “Him”, but the way we say “The Holy Spirit”, grammatically seems like an “it”. We don’t say “The Jesus came”, though we do say “God THE Father”. But “Father” is a common noun. After all, we all have a father here on earth. There are billions of “fathers” here, so it stands to reason that we would use a definite article (THE) to distinguish “This Father”. Yet, we are programmed to know that “father” is a person, a “who”, and not an inanimate object or an “it”. Likewise, our natural interpretation of the word “Spirit” is a “thing”. Such as “my spirit” and “my arm”. This perspective actually gives us a revelation about God’s statement during the baptism of Jesus.

    Matthew 3:16-17
    16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

    Many people are confused between, “If Jesus is God, then how is he God’s Son”. We relate this from our own perspective of “My son has my genes, but he’s not me”. But Let’s think of God saying this from God’s Perspective…

    If I speak of my own Body, My Soul and My Spirit as being “things” because they are part of “me”, not independent of me, then we can see how God would be saying “my Son”, just like we say “my Soul”. Jesus is a part of him, not independent of him.

    Pondering this, perhaps we should entertain the thought of “Mr. Holy Spirit”. Perhaps that will help shift our minds to seeing “Him” rather than “It”, because from our perspective, all three parts of the Trinity are a “Him”, not an “it”. All of these together are God, not independent of God.

    So what does this mean?

    Remember Jesus’ baptism? The Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. All of the miracles that Jesus performed on earth were via the Holy Spirit. This was a kind of “training” if you will for what we would be able to do.

    John 14:12
    Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 16:7
    But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

    See, Jesus as man in the Flesh could not be everywhere at the same time. But the Holy Spirit can. He is with and inside each and every Christian who accepts Christ. Sadly however, many Christians don’t realize this. He simply follows some of us around, quietly, without being spoken to. He is often ignored when he tries to speak to us. The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most unappreciated part of the Godhead.

    We are all aware of the Glory and Majesty of the Father who created all things, and sent his only Son to die for us.

    We are all aware of the Glory and Honor of Jesus who came to Earth to live as a simple man and suffer great afflictions for us.

    But what do we really know about The Holy Spirit?

    We know the Holy Spirit is part of the gift box that Jesus hands us when we accept him. The box wrapped with salvation and eternal life in Heaven contains the Holy Spirit, but what do we do with him?

    Sadly, some of us place him up on a shelf like a figurine. But the truth is, He wants to be our best friend. He’s like a BFF that is always with you, everywhere, all the time. He holds the power of God, which includes wisdom, healing, and protection. How many times do we find ourselves in hopeless situations, and yet, here is my all-powerful BFF standing right beside me waiting for me to tap him into the fight.

    So we have to ask ourselves, when Jesus gave us this gift box, did we open the box? Or did we just content ourselves with the wrapping paper (Salvation)? If we did open the box, what did we see inside? Was it a goldfish that we didn’t know what to do with, so we stuck it in a bowl but forget to feed it? Or did we see a person inside the box, a friend to always be with us?

    Here is the thing, for all of us that accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, you received the Holy Spirit inside that “welcome” gift box that Jesus handed us. So what did we do with him? Hopefully he’s not at the bottom of the toy box, or floating sideways in a bowl somewhere.

    His existence in us

    Fruit of the Spirit (See Galatians 5)

    We can look to the “Fruits of the Spirit” for evidence of the Holy Spirit within us.
  • 1. Love
  • 2. Joy
  • 3. Peace
  • 4. Forbearance
  • 5. Kindness
  • 6. Goodness
  • 7. Faithfulness
  • 8. Gentleness
  • 9. Self-Control

  • When we are working hand in hand with the Holy Spirit, we will naturally start to produce these fruits within ourselves. Over time, a Christian will notice that these come easier than they did in the past.

    For example, they may find that overall, the percentage of time that they are happy or overjoyed is much higher than in their previous life. Sometimes this is directly related to a shift in their circumstances, which likely also was an effect of the Holy Spirit. (i.e. If I separate myself from those who are tempting me to do bad things, naturally I will feel less temptation, and thus, less guilt over things I no longer do.) All of these are beautiful fruits that make both our personal life as well as our mission in the Kingdom of God more productive and enjoyable.

    Gifts of the Spirit

    The Bible tells us that each of us are given spiritual gift(s) by the Holy Spirit based on his decision of who gets what. You can have more than one, though you likely will not have them all. We are described as us being the Body of Christ, and a Body isn’t successful if it is made up of all toes. So too, each of us have a different objective in the Body of Christ, and therefore, have different gifts or gift-mixes. However, even though we may have a certain gift, it is still the SAME Holy Spirit that both distributes this gift and executes it on our behalf.

  • Prophesy (Romans 12:6-8 ; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Serving (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Teaching (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Exhortation (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Giving (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Leadership (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Mercy (Romans 12:6-8)
  • Word of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Faith (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Healing (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Miracles (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Distinguishing between spirits (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
  • Interpretation of Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

  • His Voice

    Hollywood has warped us into wishing that God’s voice came like a booming thunder that we simply couldn’t miss, and couldn’t doubt was him. For the majority (if not all) of us, God’s voice (via the Holy Spirit) is much more subtle.

    John 3:8
    "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

    Practice in partnership with the Holy Spirit will help us hone our spiritual ears to better recognize his voice.

    John 10:27
    “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”

    In the beginning however, it can sometimes be difficult to discern between our own thoughts and the thoughts that the Holy Spirit is putting into our head. In my personal experience, they look and feel very much one in the same. I can see that I’m improving in this, but in the beginning, I just thought I was having a really good ideas. First off, the Holy Spirit would continue to “pop” a thought back up after I dismissed it. This started to happen very frequently to the point I could no longer deny that it was his voice. Secondly, he started to show me (as if a mental trip down memory lane) the fruit of some of these.

    One Example

    I had a friend once, who would pop into my mind from time to time and I would think, “I should text her.” So I did this several times. Then one day, she asked me, “how do you always know when I’m having a bad day?” Well I didn’t, but the Holy Spirit did. I should also explain that she was not a Christian, and yet, God still cared for her. This is an example of “a word of knowledge” from the Holy Spirit. In this case, it looked like any other random thought in my head, but it had meaningful impact in the outcome, one that I didn’t know at the time.

    So, as you can see, while I thought it was my idea to text a friend whom I was thinking of, the fruit of “How do you always know when I’m having a bad day”, clearly shows me that this was the Holy Spirit’s idea, not mine. Seeing and understanding this is a valuable tool in helping us identify when and where our BFF Holy Spirit has spoken to us, and it helps us to be more conscious of his voice here and tomorrow.

    I would urge anyone to write down accounts of things that have happened in their past that were just “out of the ordinary” or a “coincidence”. Analyze this and ask yourself if perhaps, this was God at work.

    Test His Voice

    1 John 4: 1-2
    Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,

    We are told not to trust all spirits, but to test them. This is extremely important as we embark upon our partnership with the Holy Spirit. We must ask ourselves if what we are hearing aligns with God's will (Use Heaven as a model). Does it align with what Jesus taught us? If all these things are true, then we can be assured we are on the right path. We can also ask God to provide us with confirmation, he is a Good and Trustworthy God who always delivers on his promises.

    Luke 11:13
    So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

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