How We Can Cherish the Work of the Holy Spirit

Three Things to Avoid

John Owen points out three things that we see in the New Testament in terms of how we can go about cherishing the work of the Spirit. He points out in Acts 7 how Stephen accuses his heroes of always resisting the Holy Spirit. And so Owen reminds us not to resist the Spirit’s work.

Well, how would the people in Stephen’s day have resisted the Spirit? He said they did by not listening to the prophets, by not listening to God’s Word. And so one of the ways that we carry out our friendship with the Holy Spirit is by taking the Word that he’s inspired really seriously, by reading it with an eye towards belief, asking for him to help us to understand and believe God’s Word.

Friendship with God

Mike McKinley

What does it mean to be friends with God? Each chapter of this book takes a key insight from John Owen’s Communion with God and clarifies it for modern readers. 

It means listening to sermons on Sunday—not critically, as if to roast the pastor after the sermon, but to hear what God, the Spirit, is saying to us through the Word.

Another way Owen points out is that we should not grieve the Spirit. The apostle Paul warns the church in Ephesus not to grieve the Spirit, and the idea here means to be working at cross purposes against the Spirit. The Spirit is at work in us doing good things, and his communion and friendship with us is meant to bring life and obedience and joy and delight in Christ. To grieve the Spirit, then, is to embrace sin and to walk in ways that are contrary to his ways.

The third thing Paul tells us not to do is quench the Spirit. The image here is like throwing a wet log on a fire. It causes it to smolder. Instead, he tells Timothy to fan into a flame the Spirit’s gift. This means taking seriously the work that the Spirit is doing, striving earnestly by the Spirit’s power to grow in holiness, to maximize the gifts that the Spirit has given you, and to bring your life into alignment with his purposes and intentions. As we don’t resist him, as we don’t quench the Spirit, as we don’t grieve the Spirit, then we’re actually living out a friendship with him.

Mike McKinley is the author of Friendship with God: A Path to Deeper Fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit.

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10 Key Bible Verses on the Holy Spirit

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

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