How God’s Spirit Can Affect You
“IN THE beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1, 2, Revised Standard Version) This Scriptural statement highlights an outstanding way in which everyone alive has benefited from the holy spirit. That spirit was active during creation, and thanks to its activity, the earth became a delightful home for mankind.
But people can benefit much more from the holy spirit. An inspired proverb says: “Turn back at my reproof. Then to you I will cause my spirit to bubble forth; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:23) In our day God’s collected “words” are available in the Holy Bible, written by men who “were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21; Mark 12:36; 2 Timothy 3:16) Whenever a meek person reads the Bible, he benefits from the holy spirit.
Holy Spirit and the Preaching Work
When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses calls at your home to speak about the good news of the Kingdom, the holy spirit can affect your life in another way. How do we know? Well, when Jesus Christ began to preach the good news, he applied to himself the words of the prophet Isaiah, saying: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, . . . to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” (Luke 4:18, 19; Isaiah 61:1, 2) Yes, Jesus was anointed by holy spirit to preach the good news.
Moreover, Jesus foretold that the preaching of the good news would continue after his death. He prophesied: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) A short time before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave his followers this commission: “Go . . . and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) After Christ’s ascension to heaven, therefore, his disciples carried on the spirit-authorized work of preaching and teaching. Jehovah’s Witnesses today imitate those early disciples in preaching the good news worldwide.
Baptism and the Holy Spirit
When an individual responds favorably to the good news, Jesus said he should be baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” So new disciples are affected further by holy spirit. The expression “in the name of” really means “by the authority of” or “recognizing the position of.”* Hence, being baptized in the name of the Father means accepting without question the sovereignty of God in our lives. Baptism in the name of the Son means accepting Jesus as Redeemer, Exemplar, and King. And baptism in the name of the holy spirit involves relying on the spirit and submitting to its power.*
The Holy Spirit in Your Life
Sadly, the dishonesty, immorality, violence, and general lawlessness that we see in “Christian” lands betray the fact that most of those professing to be Christians actually resist the holy spirit. But those who submit to it are greatly blessed. For one thing, they take seriously what they read in the spirit-inspired Bible and apply it in their lives. Thus, they have wisdom, insight, judgment, shrewdness, knowledge, and thinking ability. (Proverbs 1:1-4) These are valuable assets in our troubled times.
The holy spirit also helps such individuals to overcome difficult problems. In ancient times, God showed his people how they would be able to accomplish a very difficult task. Jehovah said that it would be done “not by a military force, nor by power, but by [his] spirit.” (Zechariah 4:6) If we submit to God and his spirit, we will also be helped to accomplish tasks and overcome obstacles that would otherwise be too great for us.—Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:13.
Further, God’s spirit helps us to enjoy a freedom unknown to the world at large. The apostle Paul wrote: “Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) Those who submit to God’s spirit enjoy freedom from false religion, superstition, fear of the future, and many other enslaving factors. God’s spirit truly is a power for good! It can even change people. The Bible touches on this when it says: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) How different this world would be if everyone submitted to the influence of God’s spirit!
As a group, genuine Christians also enjoy “the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3) Unity and peace are rare commodities today. But they do exist where God’s spirit is active. Indeed, among Jehovah’s Witnesses the uniting bond of the holy spirit has brought people of all races, languages, and nationalities into a genuine “association of brothers.”—1 Peter 2:17.
God’s Spirit and You
Do you see the benefit of having God-given wisdom and of enjoying true freedom? Would it not be wonderful to have divine help in solving problems and cultivating love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control? Then submit to the power of God’s holy spirit. But how can a person do this?
Let God’s Word, the Bible, influence your mind and heart. Associate with those who let the holy spirit influence their lives. Take steps now to learn and do the divine will. Then, “may the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your believing, that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.”—Romans 15:13.
Compare the English expression “in the name of the law.” See also Matthew 10:41 in the King James Version, where Jesus used the words “in the name of a prophet” and “in the name of a righteous man.”
See Peter’s speech to the Jews at Pentecost 33 C.E., when he explained many aspects of the role of Jesus and the holy spirit in the lives of baptized believers. After his speech, 3,000 were baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the holy spirit.—Acts 2:14-42.