Living in Dependence on the Spirit
I'm sure you’ve heard comments similar to this: “I’m not necessarily a religious person, but I am spiritual.” What is a spiritual person? Is it someone who sits cross-legged on the beach at sunrise, eyes closed, seeking to purge the mind of negativity? Is it a desire to be one with nature? Or perhaps to tap into the energy reserves that are apparently found deep within one’s own personal consciousness? Maybe it is to live so soberly that everyone notes our apparent godliness.
Actually, true spirituality is none of these things. God’s Word plainly teaches that a spiritual person is someone who sincerely loves the Lord, rests by faith on Jesus Christ, believes the Bible is God’s Word, and prayerfully seeks to order his life according to the Word. All of this is only possible by depending on the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the Bible’s lack of concrete imagery in reference to the person of the Holy Spirit might at first give us pause as to who He actually is. After all, the Spirit is compared to the wind (John 3:8; Acts 2:2), and the wind is so elusive that we can’t grasp it or see it (Prov. 30:4). However, Scripture does teach who the Spirit is and how we can live dependently upon Him.
The Holy Spirit is divine (Acts 5:3-4); He is personal (Gen. 1:2); He dwells in heaven (Isa. 32:15), but also in each believer’s heart (2 Cor. 1:22). Even though the Holy Spirit is given as a gift (2 Cor. 5:5), yet a spiritual person, that is, one who has been born again by the Spirit of God, is called to live dependently upon Him. How do we do that?
First, we depend on His Word. Paul writes, “If any man think himself to be ... spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). A spiritual person who lives dependently on the Spirit acknowledges God’s Word to be true and lives according to that Word. Living self-reliantly disregards God’s Word, but real spiritual dependency rests upon the rock-like unmovable Word of the living God. Spiritual dependency manifests itself in following the spirit of the law: loving God above all and also loving our neighbor. Yes, we struggle sometimes with understanding particular applications of the Word and struggle with consistency of obedience to it, but, like the psalmist in Psalm 119:47, believers long to keep the commandments with delight. We desire to follow Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Second, we live in dependency on the Spirit when we live dependently by faith trusting in Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 16:14, “He (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” So when we rely by faith on Jesus Christ, we are in essence also depending on the Spirit since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.
Finally, we may know if we are truly living dependently on the Spirit by the fruits of our lives.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Gal. 5:22-23
The grace of God does not miscarry. When we rely on the same Holy Spirit that gave us new life in Christ, that Spirit will bear seasonal fruit (Ps. 1:3) in the life of the godly.
What a glorious future awaits a truly spiritual person who has lived by grace depending on the Spirit! At the end of our time as mortals on earth, the Lord will complete His redemption by calling all His children home forever. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11). Soli Deo gloria!