What You Need to Know About the Holy Spirit

Do you feel something’s missing in your Christian life? Paul arrived in Ephesus and met some disciples. I don’t know how long he spent with them before he noticed the Holy Spirit was missing from their lives.

‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit’” (Acts 19:2 NASB 1995)

If Paul had met me early in my Christian life, he would have noticed something missing in my life too.

I invited Christ into my life in a quaint chapel at a church retreat for middle schoolers. I returned home on an emotional high. My sins were forgiven, and God loved me. But my joy soon faded. I couldn’t sustain that loving feeling.

Irritation surfaced when Mama told me to clean my room or my sister got into my stuff. Before receiving Christ, I’d felt justified when I was irritable. Now I felt bad. Every night I promised myself and God I’d do better. Every day I failed. Knowing Jesus, guaranteed heaven when I died, but it didn’t make a practical difference in my daily life.

Paul and the Disciples in Ephesus

Paul had just left Apollos, another disciple baptized by John the Baptist who hadn’t heard of Jesus. When Paul met the group in Ephesus he asked, “‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus’” (Acts 19:3-4 NASB 1995).

Today, we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus. But, like these men, lack of knowledge about the Holy Spirit limits us.

I was a Christian for many years before I heard of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If I’d met Paul during that time, he would have asked if I knew about the Spirit.

What You Need to Know about the Holy Spirit

  • Believers are sealed in the Holy Spirt the moment they receive Christ (Ephes. 1:13). He guarantees the other riches promised to believers.
  • Every believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9).
  • The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we belong to God (Rom. 8:16).
  • The Spirit helps us understand the Bible and provides spiritual insight (1 Cor. 2:9-10, 14).
  • The Spirit gives us the power to resist sin (Gal. 5:16).
  • We can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephes. 4:30).
  • The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11). Many associate the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. Paul said not everyone speaks in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). Speaking in tongues doesn’t make you more or less spiritual.
  • The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
  • The Bible commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephes. 5:18-21).

How to Be Filled with the Spirit.

While every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are not automatically filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ (Ephes. 5:18-21 GW).

Ephesians contrasts being drunk with wine with being filled with the Spirit. Too much alcohol negatively affects a person’s speech, reactions, perspective, and treatment of others. The Holy Spirit affects those areas too—in a positive way.

What fills us controls us. Would you rather meet someone filled with rage or filled with love? To be filled with the Spirit means the Holy Spirit governs your mind, will, and emotions.

What fills us controls us. Would you rather meet someone filled with rage or filled with love? #HolySpirit, #RefreshingFaith Share on X

The ministry of the Holy Spirit filled the void in my life. The Bible began to make sense. The joy of my salvation returned. My desire to please God grew.

You Can Be Filled with the Spirit

Let me adapt Paul’s question. Have you experienced the ministry of the Holy Spirit?

If you lack joy, spiritual power, or interest in or understanding of the Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to fill and empower you. Cru introduced me to the following prayer when I was in college. Adopt it to express your desire to God.

Dear Father, I need you and acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this is the name of Jesus. I now thank you for filling me with the Holy Spirit and directing my life.

Comment here.




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  1. Marilyn C.

    Debbie, many years ago, if I remember correctly, you led our first retreat on the Holy Spirit.
    He, through you, continues to flow “Like A River Glorious”.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, I did. I remember that. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, so much we could say about Him, Ashley.

  2. Ann J Musico

    Thank you for sharing this Debbie. Paul would’ve said the same thing to me for many years early in my walk with God!

    • Debbie Wilson

      So thankful someone shared the truth with us, Ann!

  3. Jan

    This is wonderful. So many are hesitant to talk about Holy Sprit and yet he is present and so vital to a strong walk. Thank you for this teaching!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jan!

  4. Calvonia

    I could point to a few markers in my Christian journey when there was no evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank God for His word and good teachers who walked me through the truth about Him. I never want to walk alone again.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Calvonia! I’m so thankful to those who showed me a better way.

  5. Lisa Blair

    I’m so thankful He leads and guides us into truth and has not left us alone, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Lisa. What comfort and and strength He provides.

  6. Barbara Harper

    I love that this post is so thoroughly grounded in Scripture. Sadly, for many years, churches in my faith tradition de-emphasized the Holy Spirit’s ministry without realizing it because of some groups that seemed to elevate Him over Christ. What we needed was more instruction about Him and His work, not less. What a wonderful gift from God He is.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, I came from the same tradition. Thanks for reading.

  7. Barbara Latta

    We need the Holy Spirit to live the life God has called us to. Thanks for sharing!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Barbara!

  8. J.D. Wininger

    I suspect that while you were filled with the Holy Spirit upon your salvation dear friend, you didn’t know it because no one took the time to explain it to you. Yes, you knew you felt different, but you took it to be euphoria as opposed to the “oil of gladness” (Psalm 45:7, others). You admitted His presence in your life because you felt bad when you got angry at your sister for taking your stuff. Getting angry never made you feel bad before your salvation because there was no Holy Spirit present in your life to convict you. 🙂 Many Christians miss out on knowing the Holy Spirit is working in their life because it seems we’re supposed to just “know this stuff” when we get saved. If we’re never taught, we can never know can we my friend? Such an important and pognant post Ms. Debbie! Right on target ma’am. Fire for effect!

    • Debbie Wilson

      You’re so right, J.D. That moment we confess our sins and invite Jesus into our hearts the Holy Spirit fills us with joy and peace. But, though the Holy Spirit never leaves us, as Ephes. tells us, we need to keep on being filled. Thanks, for your thoughts. So thankful God’s gifts are so practical.

  9. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, thank you for this informative and encouraging article. I think we forget to value the Spirit’s work in our lives. Your list reminds us of the many blessings that are ours.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, the Holy Spirit is indeed an amazing gift to believers. So thankful for His presence in our lives. Thanks for reading.

  10. Katherine Pasour

    Such a helpful message, Debbie. In my early years as a Christian, I struggled with some of the same issues you mention. Your message is an important reminder that as we mentor new Christians, we help them understand the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katherine, that is a great point. We can’t live the Christian life in our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit.

  11. Nancy E. Head

    I love the list of scriptures. He who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. Great post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! Thanks, Nancy.

  12. Annie Yorty

    Debbie, like you, when I was first saved, I had no one to explain the Holy Spirit to me. But I’m oh, so thankful that the Spirit directed me to good teaching and greater awareness of His ministry. Thank you for your post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Annie. What a difference He makes in our lives when we know He is there and let Him lead us.

  13. Sylvia Schroeder

    Thank you Debbie for that list of the work of the Holy Spirit. That was especially meaningful to me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      As you know, Sylvia, it’s a partial list!

  14. Lisa notes

    I missed out on so many teachings on the Holy Spirit in my childhood church. So grateful to learn more as I’ve gotten older!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Lisa!

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