Q/What does it mean to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit? What kind of security does the Holy Spirit provide?
A/When you believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes in you, or indwells you. Also, as part of that great work of conversion, the Holy Spirit seals us.
Ephesians 1:13–14 says, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (NKJV).
It’s like putting down cash to hold something–a deposit.
God wants you to know that He is sincere about redeeming you. He intends to complete His transaction. He won’t back down or change His mind. So He gives us the deposit, or “down payment,” of the Holy Spirit in our lives to show us that He means business.
The Holy Spirit is also our helper and teacher. Not only does the Spirit bring about the work of conversion, but as a result, He seals us, teaches us, and leads us to truth.
John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (NKJV).
The Holy Spirit can, in an incredible way, open up passages of Scripture for us. It comes through our reading and study of God’s Word.
Needless to say, this is why we need to regularly spend time in Bible study, so that we are opening the door for the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word to us. There are certain passages that can be difficult to grasp, but the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scripture can also illuminate it for our benefit:
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:9–11, “‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (NKJV).
The Holy Spirit also empowers us for service, so we will have greater boldness to share our faith (see Acts 1:8).
Q/ You often speak about “knowing God.” What are some spiritual disciplines that can help us to know God better?
A/ Yes, we are here on this earth to know and glorify the God who made us. Really, everything else is secondary. The apostle Paul said that his very purpose in life was to “know Him” (see Philippians 3:10).
One of the ways we do this is through the careful and regular study of the Bible. The Bible is inspired, or literally, “breathed” by God. Everything you need to know about God is found in its pages.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT).
A successful Christian will always be a Bible-studying Christian. The psalmist wrote, “See how I love your commandments, Lord. Give back my life because of your unfailing love. All your words are true; all your just laws will stand forever” (Psalm 119:159–160 NLT).
A fruitful believer always will be a lover of God’s Word. There is no getting around this. It’s Spiritual Success 101.
Another way is through prayer. We often over-complicate what prayer really is. It is communication with God.
Take time each and every day to pray. Do it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Do it while you are working and driving (Keeping your eyes open, of course).
The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), or simply, “Keep on Praying.” That means we should pray about big things as well as small things. In fact, we should pray about everything.
Many years ago, when the young Billy Sunday (who later became a well-known evangelist) became a Christian, an older believer gave him some advice that he never forgot. He told him, “William, there are three simple rules I wish you’d practice. If you do, no one will ever write ‘backslider’ after your name. Take fifteen minutes each day to let God talk to you; allow fifteen minutes to talk to Him; and then spend fifteen minutes telling others about the Savior.”
Billy Sunday faithfully followed that advice and ultimately became a powerful evangelist whom God used to bring thousands of people into His kingdom.
Q/ Being a tween, teen, or young adult can be a time of personal insecurity because we are looking for a place to root our identities. In thinking about how you gave your life to Christ when you were a young man, how did you find security and confidence as a young person?
A/ I had very little to be confident in, humanly, when I came to Christ. I was illegitimate, my mother had been married and divorced seven times, and I had lived most of my childhood in an alcoholic home.
But a verse from the Bible that really spoke to my situation was Psalm 27:10: “When my Father and Mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.” By the way, those words were written by David, who knew a lot about being forsaken by his father.
You remember when the visiting prophet came to David’s hometown, looking for the future king of Israel (which turned out to be David). Jesse, David’s father, would not even acknowledge him, instead pushing his other sons that he obviously was much prouder of.
We all have our setbacks in life that we must deal with. So my security, my identity, is in my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Regardless of your background or disadvantages or even outright sins, God can forgive you and give you a fresh start. The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ,he is an altogether different kind of person. Old things have passed away, behold, everything has become fresh and new!”(2 Corinthians 5:17)
My point is, if He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone! I have written my life story at length in a new book called “Lost Boy” if you want to know more about how God can bring good out of evil.
Q/ In what ways should we have wild abandon and vulnerability in our faith, and not be worried so much about security?
A/ I would say that in attempting to serve the Lord, we will make our mistakes in our attempts, for instance, to share our faith. But I would rather try and fail then never try at all.
It’s been said that the doorway of success is often entered through the hallway of failure. Read the Bible. It is chock full of stories of people who took risks. Sometimes they failed, more often they succeeded.
Think of Gideon, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, or the Apostles. They all faced incredible, even seemingly impossible, odds, yet they trusted God and changed our world.
Don’t be afraid to take a step of faith and approach that friend, family member, co-worker, or even complete stranger with the gospel message. You may be amazed by what the Lord will do.