Does The Holy Spirit Really Matter?
A.W. Tozer, pastor and author, was said to have made this statement – “If God took His Holy Spirit out of the world, what the church is doing would go right on and nobody would know the difference.”
Wow! That’s worth a double take. Could that really be true? If so, that is mind-boggling.
I have to wonder if what Tozer was getting at is that there are churches in our world that are not being influenced or led by the Holy Spirit. His power and presence has either been squelched by independent-thinking believers or the church is filled with those who are ‘Christian’ in name only but have no personal relationship with Christ. In either case, one would think that the church would be ineffective in reaching the lost or in making much of an impact in their community. Is it possible for a church to go right on doing what they're doing (without the influence of the Holy Spirit), and no one would notice?
“If God took His Holy Spirit out of the world,” I believe the world would be unrecognizable. Initially, the unharnessed evil in the world would immediately accentuate a huge contrast with the church. I agree that many Christians, and many churches, have a long way to go in living out a truly vibrant faith. Yet, there is definitely “a remnant” (of individuals and churches) who are striving to spread the hope of Jesus Christ each and every day! Without the Holy Spirit in the world, however, both the church and the world would see a monumental shift in life as we know it.
Just think about it -
We’d have no power to assist us in living out our faith. We think we’re up against a spiritual battle now, but that’s with the Holy Spirit present in our world. What if we had to do battle without His power? How long could we stand?
We'd no longer have His presence dwelling within us. We would be separated from God – physically and spiritually.
We'd no longer have the Holy Spirit interceding for us. Romans 8:26-27 reminds us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” and “the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Even with the Holy Spirit’s help, we struggle in our prayers. We often don’t know what to pray for or how to even pray in God’s will. What if the Holy Spirit wasn’t available to intercede on our behalf, directing us into God’s will?
We'd no longer have the Comforter to walk with us through life. That concept is truly unimaginable!
While pondering this question, I did a little Google search and found this statement about the Holy Spirit on gotquestions.org -
“To have the Holy Spirit…is to have God Himself indwelling us as believers. The Spirit teaches us the Word and guides us into truth. He reminds us of what Jesus has taught so that we can depend on His Word in the difficult times of life. The Spirit works in us to give us His peace (John 14:27), His love (John 15:9–10), and His joy (John 15:11). He comforts our hearts and minds in a troubled world. [His] power…gives us the ability to live by the Spirit and ‘not gratify the desires of the sinful flesh’ (Galatians 5:16). The Spirit can then produce His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23) to the glory of God the Father. What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit in our lives as…our Comforter, our Encourager, our Counselor and our Advocate!”
What would life be like without the fruit of the spirit? No love, joy, peace…or self-control. No reminders of God’s promises. No help to guide us into God’s truth. No help to fight against “the desires of the sinful flesh.” There is no way to wrap our heads around the concept actually. It is so foreign to what we know and experience each and every day.
Thankfully, we don’t really have to worry about the possibility of the Holy Spirit being taken from our world! The Bible says that we “may grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 3:20), but we never have to worry about His presence departing from us. Since the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead, we can be assured of His presence because of Jesus' testimony in Matthew 28:20 which says, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
As we live out our witness in our homes, our jobs, our churches and our communities, may we be aware of and thankful for the fact that the Holy Spirit “makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” (Ephesians 3:18 NLT) What a blessing we have in the gift of the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine life without His presence guiding my life! How about you?