The Holy Spirit is promised to us, but often we do not feel his presence.
References: Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:13-14
Are we supposed to be able to feel the Holy Spirit?; How am I suppose to know Holy Spirit is in me if I can’t feel the presence?; Is Holy Spirit something go in and out of our body?
In Acts chapter 2 Peter tells the crowd in Jerusalem, that if we place our faith in the work of Jesus, repenting or our sins, and identifying ourselves with Him (through baptism), that we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). Jesus promised the same as well, expressing how much the father longs to give the gift of the Holy Spirit to his children (Luke 11:13). The promise is there and it is true, but do we believe it?
We live in a culture that is governed by its feelings. Therefore, if we don’t feel something the way we think we should feel something then we trust those feelings more than the promises of God. That is probably one of the reasons why people put too much weight on the gift of speaking in tongues, because it is a gift where we can more readily feel and know the presence of God, which is one of the beautiful things about that gift. But you need to know that if you are a Christian, then you have the Holy Spirit, he is in you, even if you don’t feel it.
The question we need to ask ourselves is not “do I have the Holy Spirit?”. The question we need to ask is “Does the Holy Spirit have me?” When we get hung up on not feeling the Spirit then we are making it more about us than about God. And God does not gift the Holy Spirit for our sake, he gifts the Spirit for his own purposes in this world, to build up his church and advance his kingdom.
This does not mean that we will not feel the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt that the Spirit’s power will enable us to do things and accomplish things for God’s kingdom that we never could do without him. That’s the point of why the spirit is gifted! As we grow and mature in our relationship with God, the more sensitive and aware of his presence and leading we will become.
Feelings can be deceptive, because we live in a world that is completely corrupted by sin (including our feelings). But that does not mean that our feelings are completely useless either. God can redeem the broken parts of our lives, so the idea that we need to completely ignore our feelings is not necessarily true. That is why we must pray for discernment in our lives, along with the other gifts of the Spirit. Remember, God’s not holding them back.
How Am I supposed to know if the Holy Spirit is in me if I can’t feel his presence?
Faith. Just as it is by faith that we know that we are saved by the Grace of God, so also, we must have faith that the spirit is in us. We place our faith in him. That is not a one-time thing, it is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment thing. As we continue to yield our lives to his presence, and avail our lives to his purposes we will come to sense and know his presence more and more. But it starts with faith, and that too is a gift given by the Spirit.
Is the Holy Spirit something that moves in and out of our body?
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was present and active. In fact, he was there at creation, taking active part in the forming of the universe (Gen. 1:2). But the Holy Spirit was not given to people in the same way that the Spirit was given on Pentecost, and to us today. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was only gifted to some people and for specific purposes. Furthermore, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit may have been removed from people, for example King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). Even King David pleaded with God that He would “not take away [his] Holy Spirit” (Psalm 51:11), after he had committed adultery and murder.
In the New Testament however, the Spirit is promised to all who believe, not just some. And the Spirit will not leave us. Paul assures of us this security in Ephesians 1:13-14 when he says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 1who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…”
The Holy Spirit, does not leave us and go away he doesn’t go in and out of our bodies, not if we sin, not if we forget, not if we make him mad. Sometimes in church we may sing songs that say things like “come Holy Spirit come” or “Lord we want more of You.” These are not expressions that suggest that the Holy Spirit left us and needs to come back, or that we don’t have enough of the Spirit and we need to ‘get filled’ with more. The meaning behind those kinds of songs is that we want to see God move, and furthermore we want to make ourselves available to the Spirit. Less of our agenda means more of his agenda. But getting the Holy Spirit isn’t like filling up a gas tank. We already have enough of him (more than enough).