The Holy Spirit’s Plan (Purpose) for Your Life

“Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5–6).

Instead of lying to, grieving, quenching, or insulting and resisting the Holy Spirit, we should allow Him to freely work in our lives.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin.

The Holy Spirit convicts, or convinces, the world of sin by producing in people a sense of guilt and wrongdoing. He uses this conviction to cause nonbelievers to see their need for Jesus Christ. Some well-meaning but misguided believers turn to—pressure tactics—to lead someone to the Lord. Yet, we can actually hinder the process of conversion when we interfere with the Holy Spirit’s work in this way. Only the Holy Spirit can prepare a person’s heart for conversion.

What happens to those who resist the Holy Spirit’s conviction? We often hear that good people go to Heaven, while bad people go to Hell. Yet John 16:8–9 clearly shows that goodness or badness is not the determining factor. A person’s eternal destiny is not so much a sin question as it is the Son question.

The worst possible sin is to ignore the Holy Spirit’s conviction and to refuse to believe in Jesus. Once we have heard the gospel, knowledge brings responsibility. Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22).

The Holy Spirit will convict a person for only so long. When a person no longer feels any guilt or remorse for his or her sin, it is an indication that this person is no longer under the Spirit’s conviction. By refusing to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, this individual is calling the Holy Spirit a liar, and he stands condemned (John 3:36; 1 John 5:10).

The Holy Spirit convinces the world of righteousness.

Before a person can totally appreciate the incredible love of God, he must first see his own utter depravity and desperate need for a righteous Savior. To the proud, self-confident person who thinks that he does not need Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes with His convicting, convincing power and sets him straight (John 16:10). Our own righteousness will never meet God’s requirements (Matthew 5:20). Without Christ, the Holy Spirit shows us that we are unrighteous and therefore unable to “inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

The Holy Spirit convinces the world of judgment.

Jesus is not speaking of some future judgment, but of a judgment that has already taken place. The prince of this world (Satan) was judged when Jesus went to the cross of Calvary and died in our place. Satan essentially lost the power he had over us to tempt us to do what was against God. The Holy Spirit wants us to be aware of this great truth (John 16:11).

The Holy Spirit stops the wholesale spread of evil.

The Holy Spirit’s work through the church is a restraining force in the world today. While we see an escalation in wanton, senseless violence and an increasing disregard for human life in our culture today, it is nothing compared to what the world will see in the last days when Jesus takes His church out of this world.

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Once the Holy Spirit’s unique work through the church ceases (He will still work but not quite in the way we see it now), and no longer restrains evil, the powers of darkness will take over.

The Holy Spirit uses believers to restrain evil.

Believers act as salt. Salt was a preservative in ancient times. To be salt means to stand up for what is right and true and to stop the rampant spread of evil in our culture. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13).

Believers act as light. To be light means to be a witness to others through the good works that we do, to glorify God. It is also to let others know of our faith in Jesus Christ. The proclamation of the gospel is the most effective defensive and offensive weapon in our spiritual arsenal. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The Holy Spirit brings about the work of conversion.

As part of the wonderful process of conversion, the Holy Spirit personally gives us the assurance that Jesus Christ has come into our lives (Romans 8:16), and He indwells us, taking up residence in our hearts (1 Corinthians 3:16). It is the work of the Holy Spirit that gives us eternal life in the kingdom of God (John 3:5; 6:63).

The Holy Spirit seals us.

Scripture tells us that once we believed in Christ, we “were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). This description alludes to the royal seal of a king, used in ancient times. Anything stamped with the king’s seal signified a unique mark of ownership. In the same way, God has put His royal seal upon us: the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. When the devil comes to make havoc of our lives, he is stopped cold by that seal of ownership.

The Holy Spirit is also called the “guarantee of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14). Much like putting money down to hold a piece of merchandise until you can make full payment, God gives us the deposit—or down payment—of the Holy Spirit to show that He means business! He guarantees our future inheritance: eternal life in Heaven with Him.

The Holy Spirit teaches us.

As we read and study Scripture, the Holy Spirit can give us incredible insights into what God’s Word says and means to us today (John 14:26). While some passages can be difficult to grasp, the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scripture can illuminate its words for our benefit (1 Corinthians 2:13). He may also bring verses to mind when you are ministering to a fellow believer, giving that person a greater understanding of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

Many times we are disappointed when God does not answer our prayers the way that we want. Some will even abandon their relationship with Him and give up altogether. Perhaps we do not understand the true objective of prayer: Prayer is not a means by which you change the mind or will of God—it is a means by which God changes you!

True prayer moves in a cycle: It begins in the heart of God, with His purposes and desires. God then places those desires in your heart. Then you express those desires back to God in prayer.

As God’s Word says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Your prayer life will become more in tune with God’s will as you abide more in Him and allow His Holy Spirit to be at home in your heart (John 15:7). And for those times when you don’t know how to pray—when all you can do is utter a simple groan—the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf (Romans 8:26–27).

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