“For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.”—PHIL. 4:13.
SONG 104 God’s Gift of Holy Spirit
1-2. (a) What helps us to go on from day to day? Explain. (b) What will we consider in this article?
“WHEN I think about the trial I have gone through, I know that I could not have faced it on my own.” Have you ever said something like that? Many of us have. Perhaps you said it after reflecting on how you were able to cope with a serious illness or the death of a loved one. Looking back, you feel that you were able to go on from day to day only because Jehovah’s holy spirit provided you with “power beyond what is normal.”—2 Cor. 4:7-9.
2 We also rely on holy spirit to deal with the influence of this wicked world. (1 John 5:19) In addition, we have to struggle against “wicked spirit forces.” (Eph. 6:12) With all these pressures in mind, we will consider two ways in which holy spirit helps us. Then we will discuss what we can do to benefit fully from holy spirit.
HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US POWER
3. What is one way in which Jehovah helps us to endure trials?
3 Jehovah’s holy spirit helps us by giving us the power, or strength, to fulfill our responsibilities despite trials. The apostle Paul felt that he was able to keep working despite his trials because he relied on “the power of the Christ.” (2 Cor. 12:9) During his second missionary tour, Paul not only worked hard in preaching but also supported himself financially. He stayed in Corinth in the home of Aquila and Priscilla. They were tentmakers. Since Paul practiced the same trade, he worked with them part-time. (Acts 18:1-4) Holy spirit gave Paul the power both to work secularly and to accomplish his ministry.
4. According to 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9, what struggle did Paul have?
4 Read 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9. In this passage, what did Paul mean when he said that he struggled with “a thorn in the flesh”? If you had a thorn stuck in your body, you would be in a lot of pain. So Paul was saying that he faced a painful personal trial of some sort. He called this trial “an angel of Satan” that kept “slapping” (“beating,” ftn.) him. Satan or his demon angels may not directly have caused Paul’s trials, as if driving a thorn into his flesh. But when those wicked spirits noticed the “thorn,” they may have been eager to push it in deeper, so to speak, to increase Paul’s pain. What did Paul do?
5. How did Jehovah respond to Paul’s prayers?
5 At first, Paul wanted to be rid of the “thorn.” He admits: “Three times I begged the Lord [Jehovah] . . . that it would depart from me.” Yet, despite Paul’s prayers, the thorn in the flesh remained. Does this mean that Jehovah did not answer Paul’s prayers? Not at all. He did answer them. Jehovah did not remove the problem, but he did give Paul the strength to endure it. Jehovah said: “My power is being made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:8, 9) And with God’s help, Paul was able to maintain his joy and inner peace!—Phil. 4:4-7.
6. (a) How may Jehovah respond to our prayers? (b) What assurances found in the cited scriptures give you strength?
6 Like Paul, have you ever begged Jehovah to deliver you from a trial? If despite your earnest pleadings the problem persisted—or even got worse—did you worry that perhaps Jehovah was displeased with you? If so, remember Paul’s example. Just as Jehovah answered his prayers, He will certainly respond to your prayers! Jehovah may not remove the problem. But by means of holy spirit, he will give you the strength you need to endure the trial. (Ps. 61:3, 4) You may be “knocked down,” but Jehovah will not abandon you.—2 Cor. 4:8, 9; Phil. 4:13.
HOLY SPIRIT MOVES US FORWARD
7-8. (a) In what way is holy spirit like the wind? (b) How did Peter describe the working of holy spirit?
7 What is yet another way in which holy spirit helps us? Like a favorable wind on a stormy sea, holy spirit moves us forward through stormy trials to the haven of God’s promised new world.
8 As a fisherman, the apostle Peter was accustomed to sailing. So it is worth noting that he described the working of holy spirit by using an expression that apparently is related to sailing. He wrote: “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit.” The Greek word translated “moved” literally means “carried along; borne along.”—2 Pet. 1:21; ftn.
9. What word picture did Peter draw by using the expression “borne along”?
9 What word picture did Peter draw with the expression “borne along”? A similar form of the same Greek word was used by Luke, the writer of Acts, to describe a ship that is “driven along” by the wind. (Acts 27:15) So when Peter wrote that Bible writers were “borne along,” he used “a fascinating maritime metaphor,” as one Bible scholar put it. Peter said, in effect, that just as a ship is carried along by the wind to accomplish its journey, so Bible prophets and writers were borne along by holy spirit to accomplish their task. The same scholar said: “The prophets raised their sails, so to speak.” Jehovah did his part. He provided “the wind,” or holy spirit. The Bible writers did their part. They worked in harmony with the direction of that spirit.
10-11. What two steps do we need to take to ensure that we are moved by holy spirit? Illustrate.
10 Of course, the time for recording inspired writings has passed for now. However, holy spirit is still exerting power on God’s people. Jehovah is still doing his part. How can we benefit from God’s holy spirit? We need to make sure that we keep doing our part. How do we do that?
11 Think of this comparison. To benefit from the wind, a sailor must do two things. First, he has to put his boat in the path of the wind. After all, his boat will not move forward if the sailor remains in a harbor far away from where the wind is blowing. Second, he needs to raise and unfurl his sails as fully as possible. Obviously, even with the wind blowing, his boat will move forward only if the sails catch the wind. Similarly, we will endure in Jehovah’s service only if we have the help of holy spirit. To benefit from that spirit, we must take two steps. First, we must put ourselves squarely in the path of God’s spirit by sharing in activities that bring us under its influence. Second, we need to “raise our sails” as fully as possible by being fully engaged in these activities to the best of our ability. (Ps. 119:32) When we take these steps, holy spirit will push us forward through waves of opposition and trials and will help us to endure faithfully on the course to God’s new world.
12. What will we now consider?
12 So far we have discussed two ways in which holy spirit helps us. Holy spirit gives us power and helps us to stay faithful while facing trials. Holy spirit also moves us forward and helps us to remain on the path to life everlasting. Now we will consider four things we must do to benefit fully from holy spirit.
HOW TO BENEFIT FULLY FROM HOLY SPIRIT
13. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, what can the Scriptures do for us, but what must we do?
13 First, study God’s Word. (Read 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.) The Greek word translated “inspired of God” literally means “God-breathed.” God used his spirit to “breathe” his thoughts into the minds of Bible writers. When we read the Bible and meditate on what we read, God’s instructions enter our mind and heart. Those inspired thoughts move us to bring our life in line with God’s will. (Heb. 4:12) But to benefit fully from holy spirit, we must set aside time to study the Bible regularly and to think deeply about what we read. Then God’s Word will influence all that we say and do.
14. (a) Why can we say that “the wind is blowing” at our Christian meetings? (b) How can we attend meetings with “unfurled sails”?
14 Second, worship God together. (Ps. 22:22) In a sense, our Christian meetings are events where “the wind is blowing.” Jehovah’s spirit is present at meetings. (Rev. 2:29) Why can we say that? Because when we meet for worship with fellow Christians, we pray for holy spirit, we sing Kingdom songs based on God’s Word, and we listen to Bible-based instruction presented by brothers who have been appointed by holy spirit. And that same holy spirit helps sisters prepare and deliver their parts. To benefit fully from holy spirit, however, we need to come prepared to participate in the meetings. That way, we attend the meetings with “unfurled sails.”
15. How is holy spirit involved in the preaching work?
15 Third, share in the preaching work. When we use the Bible in the preaching and teaching work, we allow holy spirit to be involved in our ministry. (Rom. 15:18, 19) To benefit fully from God’s spirit, though, you must have a regular share in the preaching work and use the Bible whenever possible. One way you can make your ministry more meaningful is by using the sample conversations from the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook.
16. What is the most direct way to obtain holy spirit?
16 Fourth, pray to Jehovah. (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:13) The most direct way to obtain holy spirit is to ask Jehovah for it in prayer. Nothing can stop our prayers from reaching Jehovah or block the good gift of God’s spirit from reaching us—not any prison wall and not even Satan. (Jas. 1:17) How should we pray so that we benefit fully from holy spirit? To answer, let us examine the subject of prayer in more detail by considering an illustration found only in Luke’s Gospel.*
PRAY WITH PERSISTENCE
17 Read Luke 11:5-9, 13. Jesus’ illustration shows how we should pray for holy spirit. In the illustration, the man received what he needed “because of his bold persistence.” He was not afraid to ask his friend for help even though it was late at night. (See study note on Luke 11:8.) How did Jesus apply this illustration to prayer? He said: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.” So, what is the lesson for us? To receive the help of holy spirit, we must pray for it with persistence.
18. According to Jesus’ illustration, why can we be confident that Jehovah will give us his holy spirit?
18 Jesus’ illustration also helps us to see why Jehovah will give us holy spirit. The man in the illustration wanted to be a good host. He felt compelled to serve food to his late-night visitor but had nothing to offer him. Jesus said that the neighbor responded because of the man’s bold persistence in asking for bread. What was Jesus’ point? If an imperfect human is willing to help a persistent neighbor, how much more so will our kind heavenly Father help those who persistently ask him for holy spirit! Therefore, we can pray with confidence that Jehovah will respond to our urgent request for holy spirit.—Ps. 10:17; 66:19.
19. Why can we be sure that we will be victorious?
19 We can be sure that in spite of Satan’s relentless efforts to defeat us, we will be victorious. Why? Because holy spirit helps us in two ways. First, it gives us the power we need to overcome trials. Second, it is the force that “fills our sails,” helping us to move forward in serving Jehovah with life in God’s new world in view. Let us be determined to benefit fully from the help of holy spirit!
SONG 41 Please Hear My Prayer
This article highlights how God’s holy spirit can help us to endure. It also considers what we can do to benefit fully from holy spirit.
PICTURE DESCRIPTIONS: STEP 1: A brother and sister arrive at the Kingdom Hall. By meeting together with fellow believers, they share in an event where Jehovah’s spirit is present. STEP 2: They are prepared to participate in the meeting. The same two-step approach holds true for the other activities considered in this article: studying God’s Word, sharing in the preaching work, and praying to Jehovah.