The Holy Spirit is a person... not a thing or an it.
Things don’t have emotions. The lamp on my desk isn’t happy or sad this morning. But the Spirit of God, a living person, exhibits emotion. Paul wrote, “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in prayers to God” (Romans 15:30, CSB). The Holy Ghost loves!
An inanimate object or an impersonal higher-power doesn’t talk or give commands, but the Spirit of God does. “As they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off” (Acts 13:2–3, CSB). When the Spirit spoke, the church at Antioch was listening.
The Holy Spirit, a person, has miracle-working power. Remember the story about Philip and the Ethiopian recorded in Acts 8. After Philip baptized the new-born convert, something unforgettable happened to the deacon/evangelist. “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer but went on his way rejoicing. Philip appeared in Azotus, and he was traveling and preaching the gospel in all the towns until he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:39–40, CSB). Like Star Trek, he was “beamed” from one place to another by the powerful Spirit of God!
One of the great promises in Scripture is that the Holy Spirit will help us pray. In fact, the Spirit prays for us! “The Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26–27, CSB). I’m always glad to have people pray with me and for me. But to think that the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, God in Spirit, groans in labored prayer on my behalf... that’s remarkable. Wow!
Before Jesus gave Himself as the sinless sacrifice, He promised His Abiding Spirit. The Spirit, a person (not an it), is on duty convicting and convincing, pointing all to Jesus, our only hope. “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you” (John 16:7–15, CSB)
I guess it’s a quirky pet-peeve, but I bristle a bit when I hear someone refer to the Holy Spirit as a thing. He, the Living Spirit of Christ, that lives within every believer, is the very personal God who loves and leads. Pray with me: “Lord, make me aware of Your Personal and Powerful Presence within me today!”