How would you describe your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Is it close and intimate; almost a bit unnerving because you can feel His presence so profoundly? Or is it distant, like a memory of a friendship or an acquaintance that you once had? If you answered with the second, I was in the same boat just a few months ago- and that’s okay! While God wants us to connect with every part of Him and embrace the Spirit that He sent to the earth after the death of Christ, He understands how difficult it can be to cultivate a relationship.
That’s what being close to the Holy Spirit is – it is a relationship that must be invested in! Think about a typical healthy relationship for a moment. Ideally, both individuals invest in their partners and provide support or correction when needed as they navigate the complexities of life. The Holy Spirit longs to have that same intimate connection with us, as He lovingly corrects us, excitedly cheers us on, and dutifully leads us in the paths we are to take.
A few months ago, I read the book, “Good Morning Holy Spirit,” by Benny Hinn. Now, I know I have talked about this book before (it’s fantastic), but I wanted to talk about how it impacted my understanding of the Holy Spirit and His role in my life.
When I was young, I used to attend conference after conference at churches across southern Ontario. Many of them are still taking place today. My mom and I would travel and spend days soaking in these teachings. I have met some pretty incredible prophetic leaders, evangelists, prayer warriors, pastors, and worship leaders. It got to the point that I spent more time traveling to churches than I did at school! I didn’t care as I was learning about God and His goodness.
I was so hungry for God and the Holy Spirit that I longed to feel His presence. As the revival was taking place at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, I was excited to see how I may feel the Holy Spirit! I couldn’t wait to speak in tongues, give prophetic words myself, and (to be completely honest) show how God was moving in my life through showing others the manifestation of the Spirit in my life.
So when I didn’t feel a thing, I was discouraged. It seemed that everyone around me was covered in the Holy Spirit, and I was left out. People talked about waves of peace and love and laughter, and I stood there wondering what was wrong with me because I didn’t feel those things one bit.
I can’t say that I started to walk away from the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t invest in our relationship. As we know from the Bible, the Spirit can only come when we ask Him to. He waits to be welcomed into our hearts, our thoughts, our emotions- our entire lives.
If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when his children ask him.”- Luke 11:13 -The Passion Translation
As I read about Benny Hinn’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, I found myself jealous of their relationship. It seemed that if Benny spoke, the Holy Spirit was right there, coaching, guiding, and working in his life.
“The second I said, ‘Good morning, Holy Spirit,’ I knew He was present with me in the room. Not only was I filled with the Spirit that morning, I also received a fresh infilling every time I spent time in prayer.
What I am talking about is beyond speaking in tongues. Yes, I did speak in a heavenly language, but it was much more than that. The Holy Spirit became real. He became my friend. He became my companion, my counselor.” – Benny Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit.
I decided to begin to put some of Benny’s practices to use in my own life and started each morning welcoming the Holy Spirit. Some mornings it came as a whisper and some mornings I asked Him into my life through tears- but every morning I welcomed Him into my day and asked Him to be present through every situation, conversation and thought process. It felt strange at first. It felt foreign and nerve-wracking because I was afraid of being so exposed and vulnerable, but the Holy Spirit brought a feeling of peace and love that never overstepped, never judged, and never made me feel unworthy of His time or devotion. In fact, He made me feel worthy, which was precisely what I needed. Now, as I enter into a new part of life, He is taking discouragement and bringing hope. I can now say that I have a real and living relationship with the Spirit, which has also helped me come closer to God.
Years later, I understand why I may not have felt the Holy Spirit at those conferences. I didn’t have a relationship with Him! I wanted the goodness He would bring, but I tried to keep Him at a distance at the same time. While He longed to be with me and show me His truths and love, I didn’t take into consideration what I brought to the relationship, which was very little.
I am not saying that the Holy Spirit withholds Himself from us if we do not do good works or invest in the relationship every day, but He does withhold Himself if He knows that our hearts are not ready and we are not in the place to share life with Him.
There is good news, though. All that we have to do is genuinely ask the Holy Spirit to come into our day to day and take control. When we give Him our all, He can provide us with so much more in return because we are willing and open to receiving it.
As the song says, “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here!” Make this your prayer, and see the great things He can do.