By: Dave Nodar
“…You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses…”
Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I understood very little about the Holy Spirit. I was taught we received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and that we were strengthened by the Spirit to be ‘soldiers of Christ’ in Confirmation. Being baptized as an infant, I don't remember anything about the event other than what my parents told me. As for my Confirmation, there is not much I remember from that day either.
Every Sunday as a child I prayed the Creed, stating that the Holy Spirit is "the Lord and giver of life," but I didn't know what that meant. It was a prayer I was taught without understanding what the profession of faith meant for me personally.
The third person of the Trinity, not unlike what I knew of the Father and the Son, was someone I had been taught but had not experienced in any noticeable way.
It was not until I was twenty years old that I would come to personally encounter "the Lord and giver of life."
In Discovering Christ, I shared how I spent my teen years progressively departing from my family's faith and, at the same time, embracing a lifestyle separate from the Church that promised peace, love, and meaning. Over several years, I painfully learned that what was promised to me in this lifestyle was utterly powerless to produce what I was searching for.
When I finally came to a place of turning and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, I experienced the Lord and giver of life!
The Holy Spirit became real to me—revealing the Father's personal love for me and the Son's forgiveness. I experienced His empowering presence transforming my life from the inside out. Jesus changed my life!
I later came to understand that I experienced a personal renewal of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. I was saying yes to what my sponsors had promised on my behalf at Baptism as an infant. I was saying yes to Jesus as Lord of my life and in Him I experienced the reality that He is the one who baptizes us in Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). I experienced the Holy Spirit as the one who reveals the Father and the Son and as the one who makes us holy. I was progressively able to do the Father's will, given desires for heaven, and empowered to be a witness of my new life in Jesus Christ.
This incredible good news is meant to be the lived experience and is what God wants for every person. It is the fruit of the Spirit given in Baptism and Confirmation. Yet so many Christians have never encountered Pentecost personally.
As we remember the celebration of Pentecost, if you know the joyful reality of the Holy Spirit, pray for opportunities to share with others the good news of what Christ has done for us by His death for the forgiveness of our sins and resurrection to give us new life in the Holy Spirit (Romans 4:25, 6:3-4).
If you don't know this reality, ask the Lord to renew you in His Holy Spirit. Make a decision of your will to surrender to Jesus as the Lord of your life, ask God to forgive you for your sins, and ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit.
Listen to what the Lord Jesus says to each one of us:
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!”
Luke 11: 13
So ask Him. Simply pray to Him. He will hear you!
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