In the first part of this series, we looked at the biblical identity of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the Holy Spirit for the believer today. It is impossible to have fellowship with someone that we don’t know anything about. This is why knowing the Holy Spirit and how he desires to minister in us and through us is critical to know before we can understand fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Now let us look into the biblical mandate for fellowship with the Holy Spirit and how to cultivate this fellowship in our daily lives.
What is Fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
The New Testament Greek word ‘koinonia’ basically means ‘sharing in common.’ We get our English word ‘coin’ from here. J.H. Thayer points out that it is ‘fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.’ Christians are partakers in common of the same mind as God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and of the blessings arising there from. It is also commonly used of the intimate bond of fellowship which binds believers together in Christ.
1 John 1:3 NKJV “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
2 Cor. 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”
What does fellowship with the Holy Spirit involve?
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit involves sharing our lives in common with him. It means opening up the deepest parts of our personality to the influence and direction of God’s Spirit. Our thoughts, motives, feelings, attitudes, decisions must be laid bare in his presence. He must have a say in our future plans, fears, hopes, passions, visions and choices. We should seek his counsel and wisdom in all things and submit to his promptings, urges and nudges. We share with him the choice of a marriage partner, of career and profession, the details of our relationships and intimate friendships, and you name it.
Fellowship with the Holy Spirit means taking pains to find out and do what pleases him. (Acts 15:28) It means avoiding the sins against the Spirit and majoring in the character traits that reflect the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22, 23) We cultivate intimacy with the Spirit of God on a daily basis when we invite him to help us in our day-to-day decision-making.
Here is a list of the sins against the Holy Spirit we must watch and avoid as we seek to fellowship with him:
- Grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30)-making him sad by behavior contrary to the fruit of the Spirit-anger, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc.
- Quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19)-putting out the fire of the Spirit by refusal to pray and be on fire for the gifts and anointing of the Spirit to work through you.
- Insulting the Spirit (Heb. 10:29)-Living a life of continual deliberate sinning after receiving the knowledge of truth.
- Resisting the Spirit (Acts 7:51)-Going in the opposite direction to the definite guidance of the Spirit.
- Vexing the Spirit-(Is. 63:10)-Living in deliberate rebellion against the leadership of the Spirit.
- Lying to the Spirit (Acts 5:3)-Telling intentional untruths and half-truths to anointed men/women of God with the intention of deceiving God’s people.
- Tempting/Testing the Spirit (Acts 5:9)-Teaming up to provoke God’s Spirit to do things he would not normally want to do.
- Blaspheming the Spirit (Matt. 12:31, 32)-Attributing the works and words of God’s Spirit to Satan and demons when you have a clear witness within yourself.
- Striving with the Spirit (Gen. 6:3)-Walking in the flesh continually against the promptings of the Spirit.
- Rebelling against the Spirit (Ps. 106:33)-Refusal to do what God’s Spirit expressly commands.
Why is it important to cultivate fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
The Christian life is a supernatural life. Fallen man is indwelt by a sinful nature which fights him even after he is born again. (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 7:14-22) Therefore the new creation in Christ Jesus must constantly be empowered from within and above to be able to live and walk worthy of his calling as a child of God. This is what the fellowship with the Holy Spirit does for us.
He is our teacher
Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all he has taught us. God’s Spirit knows the past (Jn. 14:26), the present (1 Cor. 2:10,11) and the future (Jn. 16:13). Every teacher works best with attentive students eager to learn, who have time for him and ask the right questions for better understanding of the subject. If we do not spend time to cultivate fellowship with the Spirit, we cannot understand his symbols and teaching methods, or grasp the deeper meanings of the lessons he desires to teach us. We frustrate him by our dumbness.
He is our guide
Our Lord explained that the Spirit will guide us into all truth and give us ability to cope with life and its stresses. We need to cultivate a lifestyle of keeping our eyes on our guide in order to avoid the doctrinal pitfalls and wiles of the enemy. Our invisible adversary the devil is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom to devour and we must keep pace with the Paraclete to outwit him. (1 Pet. 5:8; Jn.16:12-13)
He is our Helper
The Holy Spirit helps us with our weakness in prayer (Rom. 8:26-27); he pours the love of God into our hearts when we need it most (Rom. 5:5); we put to death the deeds of the flesh through his empowering (Rom. 8:13); he gives us the counsel we need to succeed; he conforms us to the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another. (2 Cor. 3:18)
How do we cultivate daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
Our hunger for growing intimacy with the Holy Spirit can be best seen when we commit ourselves to building a life of daily fellowship with him. Give yourself plenty of room to fail and make mistakes. Just as the marriage relationship becomes more rewarding as you work on knowing and understanding one another more intimately, so it is with the Holy Spirit.
1. Develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The dove from heaven is so gentle and sensitive he will never force himself on you. Moses’ face shone and he did not know it (Ex. 34:29); the Lord left Samson and he did not know it, Judges. 16:20. In the same way, the Spirit comes as a dove to rest upon us and we need to spend time in his presence to detect what grieves or pleases him. He soothes, he comforts, calls by name and can even give you a pet name. Daily times of devotion, silence and solitude are indispensable, Ps. 46:10. Practice living in God’s presence moment by moment.
2. Cultivate fellowship with the Spirit through conversation. Greet the Holy Spirit each morning. Ask him questions. Invite him to help you constantly as you face your challenges. Freely share your joys and sorrows with him. Build a habit of referring decisions to him. At first it may look awkward as you seem to hear no reply. Understandably, it will be slower for you to make decisions, but it is just because you have not yet learnt to identify his language and symbols. He communicates all the same, and you grow gradually into understanding what he is saying.
3. Grow in daily fellowship with the Spirit as you read and react to the scriptures. Invite him to open your understanding whenever you turn to the scripture. (Eph. 1:17) Discipline yourself to have a daily quiet time of meditating on the scriptures. Satan blinds our understanding. (2 Cor. 4:4) The Holy Spirit opens it. He gives deeper insight and conviction. Invite him to empower you to obey the scriptures.
4. Build intimacy with the Holy Spirit through prayer. Invite him to help your weakness during times of prayer. He knows and prays according to the will of God. Ask for his anointing to make two-way praying possible. He helps to intensify your prayer. Pray in the Spirit. (Jude 20, 1 Cor. 14:2, 13-15)
5. Increase your friendship with the Holy Spirit through passion for him. Love God’s Spirit for himself. Be more interested in the Spirit than in his gifts and what you can get out of him. Tell him you love him. Sing songs to him as you would to a friend. Enjoy his company. Get interested in his interests and avoid grieving and quenching him. Commit yourself to cultivating the fruit of the Spirit. Do not love the world.
6. Partner with the Holy Spirit in ministry. Invite him to minister with you as you preach, teach, witness, or lead the people of God. Ask for his anointing and words taught by the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:3-5, 13) Co-operate with him concerning your fields of ministry. (Acts 16:6, 7; 8:29) Invite him to chair your meetings. (Acts 15:28) Spend time in the company of those filled with the Spirit. Let spiritual songs be around you and in your heart.
Cultivating daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit is an exciting adventure that takes time and effort but is worth it.