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Jesus is more accessible to talk to than the Holy Spirit. Think about it: we have the actions, words, archaeological and historical data to prove that Jesus existed when the Bible says He did. We have atheists, scholars, agnostics, religious leaders, and pagan authorities all commenting on Jesus, including all kinds of rebuttals to who He claimed He was. In contrast, almost no one argues for the historical evidence of the Holy Spirit. He’s like a side character in the most important story ever.

Still, in today’s world, there’s a growing interest among Christians and those yearning for a relationship with God in understanding the Holy Spirit despite having less information about Him than about Jesus. Why? Because the mysteries of God hold a more significant allure for most people than what He’s already unveiled. Jesus has given instructions, modeled a life of holiness, removed our sins, given us new life and became our advocate to the Father. Jesus also gave us the Holy Spirit, who gives us spiritual gifts to use for God’s glory, convicts us of sin, convinces us of Jesus’ identity and brings us together as we seek to live in this world for His glory, among other things.

However, the Spirit’s role isn’t as understandable and clear-cut in our lives as Jesus’ role is. There’s a fair amount of mystery, confusion, and even curiosity as we seek to live with God’s spirit. Pursuing a life in tune with the Holy Spirit can be life-changing for believers and seekers, but it can also be somewhat perplexing, as there are several ways that the Spirit of God communicates with people, some of which may be understood. Let’s delve into practical steps grounded in the Bible to guide us on the path of embracing the Holy Spirit, who was promised and bestowed upon us by Jesus.

Be more engaged and disciplined in reading Scripture.

Second Timothy 3:16-17 underscores the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the inspiration of the Bible. The term ‘breathed out by God’ highlights the divine origin of the Bible, where the Holy Spirit played a critical role in guiding the authors to put into words God’s reliable word with authority and accuracy. The Bible shares most of our knowledge about Jesus while it also unfolds the purpose and identity of the Holy Spirit.

As a crucial part, the Spirit inspired the biblical authors to write the very words of God. Although shaped by their era and culture, these writings carry eternal significance. Despite the gap between their original composition and our present, the Holy Spirit highlights the Bible, enabling our acceptance and understanding of the Bible. Simply put, the Bible can’t be fully understood and accepted without the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s impact on the reader of the Bible is irreplaceable. Being more open to the Holy Spirit means being more disciplined and engaged in reading the Bible. Just like every relationship requires time, focus, and intention, so does your relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Embrace solitude and silence.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus seeking silence and solitude, especially when faced with the weight of His ministry or significant moments of decision. We’ll never have the weight He did, but we’ll have the pivotal moments of decision-making, hardship, and contemplation about what’s next. Mark 1:35 gives a potent example that not only illustrates Jesus embracing solitude and silence but also reflects the importance of these practices in maintaining a life open to God’s Spirit. By following Jesus’ example, we can also create quiet spaces in our lives to hear from and be guided by the Holy Spirit.

There’s also a significant implication here: in a world filled with endless noise, constant ads, aggressive marketing, and fractured attention, sitting alone to be with and focus on God is nothing short of a radical act of faith. John 16:12-15 exemplifies how the Spirit of truth leads us into all truth, speaking what’s heard from Jesus. This guidance typically requires a quiet listening posture. Solitude in prayer gives a sacred space to be without distraction, give God intentional time and hear something from God. Solitude and silence don’t equal God saying something supernaturally through God’s Spirit. It puts us in place to concentrate on Him and push everything else aside, even if only for a few moments. God gave us spiritual gifts, wisdom from the Bible, life experiences, a brain, and the ability to choose what to do at every moment.

Pray with a group of believers.

When we lift our voices together, the Holy Spirit moves amongst us, connecting us in purpose and unity in Christ. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said where two or three gather in His name, He’s with them. The discipline of collective prayer over time with other believers can increase the ability to hear and be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement. In fact, it might be one of the most readily available ways not just to be open to hearing what God has to say but to respond to God’s leading accurately.

It’s easy to pray alone because you can pray anywhere at any time without anyone else. However, prayer with others is potent. Try to pray more with people than by yourself. Ask your kids, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, parents, co-workers or anyone near you to join you in prayer. People rarely say no prayer, especially if you’re praying for them.

Seek discernment.

In pursuit of truth and openness to the Holy Spirit, it’s critical to seek discernment in just what people teach about the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and theology in general. In 1 John 4:1-6, we’re taught not to believe every spirit but to test the spirits to see if they’re from God. This isn’t about unclean spirits or demons but rather about false teachings about God and a lot out there about the Holy Spirit specifically. Still, many teachings contradict one another and the Bible. We should learn to test what’s from people and what’s from God. In this testing, through reading the Bible and prayer, we ensure our openness aligns with God’s will.

As we go upon our daily lives with these practices at the front of our interactions with the world, may we become more attuned to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our midst. May we never forget that our most profound wants are rooted in the Spirit’s shaping and guiding of our soul to become more like Jesus. May we always remember that this is an endless dance, a continual surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading as He draws us closer to God’s heart.

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