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What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

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Dear Dawson, The Bible talks about being led by the Holy Spirit. Can you tell me how the Holy Spirit works in my life? I'm glad you're interested in the Holy Spirit, because it's impossible to follow God unless we are led by the Spirit. And the only way to be led by the Spirit is to follow God's command to be filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Interestingly, God contrasts being filled with the Spirit with being drunk. Somebody who is drunk with wine or alcohol is controlled by and consumed by alcohol. But somebody who is "drunk in the Spirit" is controlled and consumed by the Spirit, who helps us live holy lives. How are we filled with the Spirit? The Holy Spirit entered you when you decided to give your life to Christ, to become a Christian. But we need to continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us, to help us do the things God wants us to do. When we're growing as Christians, we should allow the Spirit to take control over more and more areas of our lives. The Holy Spirit plays many roles. You can read about some of them in these passages: John 14:15-27, John 16:5-15, Romans 8:1-17, Galatians 5:16-26. In John 14, for example, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will comfort us when we're hurting. "I will not leave you as orphans," Jesus says (14:18), promising that the Spirit will bring us peace (14:27). Jesus also says the Spirit will help us recall the things we've learned about God (14:26)—which also means the Spirit will help us when we tell others about our faith. In John 16, Jesus refers to the Spirit as a "Counselor" who will guide us in our everyday lives. One way he'll guide us is by convicting us of sin (16:8). And this is really a good thing: God wants us to get rid of the things that displease him, and the only way to identify those things is to be convicted by the Spirit. The Spirit works through our conscience to make us aware of sin in our lives. Romans 8 tells us the Spirit will help us stop sinning and do the things that please God. A verse later in that chapter also tells us that the Spirit helps us pray (8:26). We've all gone to God and said, "Lord, I'm just not sure how to pray or what to say." The Holy Spirit helps us in those times, and actually intercedes for us, saying the prayers for us. Now, the Holy Spirit can't do all the work for us. We're still responsible to do our part—especially to consistently read our Bibles and pray, asking the Spirit to show us the truth and teach us how to live. It's important to remember that the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture. People sometimes justify their actions by saying, "My conscience told me … " We need to make sure we're listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires. And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God's Word. How can you tell if you're being led by the Spirit? By the "fruit" of your life—your attitudes and actions. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Are these things evident in your life? Two verses later, it says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Page 2 of 2 I'm glad you want to "keep in step with the Spirit." I pray that as you take those steps, each day will bring you closer to God—and to living the kind of life he wants you to live. Dawson McAllister is a popular youth speaker with Shepherd Ministries. He also has a live, nationally syndicated radio call-in program for students ("Dawson McAllister Live"), from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (EST) every Sunday night. You can also check out his site on the Internet (http://www.thehopeline.com/).

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1 Sarah R = "Romans 8:1-17 New International Version (NIV)8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spiritthat we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
2 Sarah R = "Galatians 5:16-26New International Version (NIV)16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
3 Sarah R = "Over 20 years ago I was at a Dawson McAllister youth conference. I tell people that is when I became a Christian. Although I had been raised in the church, that was the first time I felt like I made faith mine, instead of just riding the curtails of my parents. Praise God for men and women like McAllister who follow God's calling and reach out to young people across America."