Modified from Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson
What does it mean to “commune”? To commune with someone is to share something with him or her that is of mutual benefit. John Owen defines communion as “the sharing of good things between persons who are mutually delighted being cemented together by some union.” Communion, then, is not just shared delight, but the “cementing effect” of that shared delight between two persons.
The Cementing Effect of Communion
You have probably experienced communion with close friends. What makes a friend close? You are close, not because of proximity, but because you share a delight in some of the same things (music, film, food, values, beliefs), and that shared delight has a cementing effect, which creates a close bond between friends. Prayer fosters this bond with God, cementing our souls with him through shared delight in the gospel of grace. All too often we eliminate the Holy Spirit from our communion with God. We live as functional bi-nitarians, communing with the Father and the Son, not Trinitarians—communing with Father, Son, and Spirit. In order to experience the Spirit’s power, we need know the Spirit as a Person, to begin a relationship with him through prayer.
How Can we Commune with the Holy Spirit?
Here are a few ways to begin today:
- Repentance over your neglect of the Spirit. Confess your sinful self-reliance to the Father and the Spirit, asking the Son for forgiveness, and thanking God for the gift of the Spirit.
- Address the Spirit throughout the day in ways that reflect his role in your life (understanding, discernment, decision making, power to overcome sin, desire for God, faith in the gospel, etc.)
- Memorize and meditate on texts that show you who the Spirit is so that you can get to know him (Ex. 31:3; Num. 27:18; 1 Sam. 16:13; Joel 2:28–29; Acts; Romans 8, 15; 1 Corinthians 2; 2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 3–6).
- Rejoice in the gift of the Spirit as a Person who indwells us with power to believe the gospel, glorify, and enjoy God!
What Happens When we Commune with the Holy Spirit?
- Communion with the Spirit brings us a general happiness and contentment that cannot be found anywhere else.
- Communing with the Holy Spirit produces a vertical relationship with the Lord that has horizontal results.
- When we re-personalize the Spirit, he reintegrates us as disciples who have a whole way of living wholly under God’s redemptive reign in Christ.
- The more we relate to the Spirit, the less we will be concerned about balancing vertical and horizontal discipleship.
- Spirit-empowered belief in Jesus Christ as Lord leads to an integration of piety and mission. This communion with God takes us deeper into holiness and sends us further into mission.
- As we relate to the Spirit, he empowers us to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.