When we think of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian, we think of many things. And rightly so – the Holy Spirit has a many varied ministry in the life of a Christian. The Spirit gifts and equips for ministry in the church. He guides us into truth. He convicts us of sin. He illuminates the Word of God, shining God’s truth into our hearts. The list goes on and on.
But the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is not actually on that list. The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. (John 16:14) At first glance, that ministry seems all spiritual and transcendent, far separated from our own reality on earth. In reality that is not true. In his book, Delighting in the Trinity, author Michael Reeves shares some thoughts on how the Spirit’s ministry of bringing glory to Christ can change the way we live our lives.
The Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. It is a doctrine the Bible clearly teaches, yet it is one that is hard for us to wrap our brains around. One some level we have to accept by faith that one God exists eternally in three distinct but perfectly unified Persons. In that Trinity relationship, God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit exist in perfect fellowship. There is no strife, no disagreement, no conflict, just perfect, unifying love. God is a God of relationship. As a result, when God created the world, He created it as an expression of his love and goodness and to draw His creation into a love relationship with Him. God did not need relationship with us – after all, He already was in the perfect relationship – He chose to offer us relationship with Him.
So where does the ministry of the Holy Spirit come in? When we enter into relationship with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the Spirit of God. Life in the Spirit is begun in us. This life is God’s own life, resurrection life, a life of fellowship with the Father and the Son, given to us in the Spirit. As a result, the Spirit seeks to open our eyes regarding this Jesus we are in fellowship with. (John 15:26) He sees to help us see the glory of Christ.
We struggle with seeing the glory of Christ, because we tend to worship other things. We worship ourselves - our talents, our abilities, our experience, our reputation. We worship stuff – material possessions, bank accounts, hobbies. We even worship people – our spouses, our kids, celebrities.
The problem with all this is what we become like what we worship. Worshipping ourselves makes us completely self-absorbed and conceited. Worshipping stuff makes us materialistic and earthly-minded. Worshipping others makes them the true gods in our life.
When the Spirit comes into our life, His goal is to cultivate in us a deepening vision of Christ. That means taking my eyes of myself and my false gods and putting them on Jesus. After all, my stuff is not going to die for me. My human idols cannot not forgive me or give me lasting peace. In all my conceit and pride, I cannot save myself. I need Someone Other. Someone beyond me and above me. Someone beautiful and perfect and powerful and able. I need Jesus. The wonderful ministry of the Spirit in glorifying Jesus seeks to persistently and faithfully guide me and convict me and teach me that true satisfaction, true peace, true hope is found only in one place – in the One who died for me. He and only He is my life, and the Spirit is committed to helping me understand that each and every day.
Realizing this, says Charles Spurgeon, is the secret to Christian happiness. He writes:
“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ… We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”