“How do I work with the Holy Spirit and what does it looks like to be led by the spirit and not my flesh?”
I love this question because it starts from the place of relationship… how do I work WITH (not “for”) the Holy Spirit. This is a subtle but very important difference and shows an essential paradigm shift. In our self-sufficient humanity, we sometimes look at the Christian life as an act of obedience to God out of gratitude for everything He has done for us. When we think this way, we fall into a trap of trying to “pay back” a debt that we can never pay back on our own (atonement for our sins)!
Choosing (and learning) to walk in the Spirit is not first about OBEDIENCE but IDENTITY. For saints, ones redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and now considered royalty in God’s Kingdom, walking in the Spirit is the most natural thing. In fact, walking in the Spirit is our truest nature. When I believe that I am who God says I am, it becomes more natural to walk in the Spirit.
What does “walking in the Spirit” mean?
In my understanding, walking in the Spirit means being sensitive to perceiving and then responding to whatever Holy Spirit says. In the most concise language I have so far, it means to “listen and obey” or “perceive and respond”.
*Sidenote: I call Him “Holy Spirit” instead of “the Holy Spirit” because for me, it helps me remember that He is a person and not an impersonal entity. I think of His name as being “Holy Spirit”. People don’t call me “the Dani”… they just call me “Dani”. Small difference but it is helpful for me. Holy Spirit is not necessarily a person in the sense of being just like a human being, but He is a person in the sense of having a “personality”- thoughts, emotions, and capacity to act.
Just like you, Holy Spirit has times and places where He feels welcomed and times and places where He feels stifled. The Word says to not “quench” the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). Have you ever felt like you were in a place where you were not welcomed or heard? Holy Spirit knows what that feels like. We can learn to create spaces/opportunities, and learn to cultivate “space” within ourselves where Holy Spirit feels at home.
PARTNERSHIP WITH HOLY SPIRIT
Being Mindful of His Presence:
My first favorite thing about Holy Spirit is the reality that HE IS ALWAYS WITH ME. Someone told me once, “Holy Spirit loves to be carried around by you.” I love that! It reminds me that I am a carrier of the Presence of the Living God, by default a releaser of LIGHT and POWER wherever I go. What a PRIVILEGE to be a carrier of the PRESENCE. I desire to be increasingly attentive to this reality of His constant Presence. The truth is, His Presence is the MOST REAL THING. More real than the ground I stand on, more real than the breath in my lungs (thanks for putting that in words, Jonathan David Helser!). One of the ways I do this is say these words out loud: “I am with You.” I don’t ask Him to be with me… He already is! It’s ME that needs to tune in again and again to the reality that He is ALWAYS WITH ME.
Knowing what He is Like:
Holy Spirit often moves in ways we wouldn’t expect- He is infinitely creative! He is FUN! He brings peace, clarity, and understanding. He likes to LAUGH and He is WILD! He likes to snuggle and He likes to dance and run in open fields. He likes to walk in forests and sit under waterfalls. He likes to tell us about who our Father is and what our Big Brother is like. He loves to reveal Jesus. He is HOLY and He is jealous for us to walk in the fullness of our royal identities. He convicts us of sin and even stuff that isn’t sin but just isn’t beneficial for us- He does this because He doesn’t want anything to come between us and Him. He is the COMFORTER and the LIFE OF THE PARTY. Ha!
When we know what He is like, it is easier to partner with Him. We learn to expect the unexpected. He has really good ideas and loves to share them with us! Read John 14 through 16 to learn more about what Holy Spirit is like.
Ask Him Questions, and Listen:
Holy Spirit is counselor, teacher, helper, and the One Who guides us into all truth. How awesome is it to have a 24/7 counselor! Not only did Jesus spare us from sin and death, but He gave us an AWESOME Present… His Constant Presence! You can ask the Holy Spirit about anything and everything. It is good to ask Him about specific things you want to know. It’s good to ask Him for whatever you need. It is also good to ask Him about what He is thinking and feeling, He wants to share these things with us because He is our Lover and Friend.
One of the things I do is write down things I feel like Holy Spirit tells me- things from His word, dreams He gives me, pictures of interacting with Him, and little phrases of encouragement that I feel He whispers to my heart. I don’t always write everything down, but I hope to get more and more faithful with this. It is such an encouragement to look back and see how God has answered prayer and just read about the history of our romance together.
Hope this is a good start to answering the question of what it looks like to walk with Holy Spirit.
Looking forward to more questions!