A couple of years ago I had the amazing experience of being filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit (I simply asked God to do this in me - and He did!), and since then I have been so encouraged to get to know the Holy Spirit who indwells us and to experience more of His interaction in my life!
He has shown me so many things, but I think one of the most beautiful and most special is that Grace is TRUE! I had learned a lot about the grace of God in past years and had been blown away in learning that God truly accepts us because of Christ, and that He is not looking on our performance but on Christ's performance - so we are totally, unconditionally, eternally accepted by God because it stands on that perfect and finished work of Christ, not our own merit or efforts! Also, the idea that I don't have to live this Christian life, that Christ is my Life and will live through me, so that I can just rest - this whole idea was riveting to me as well, and made me feel so relieved that nothing was required of me or demanded of me - I could just rest in Christ and He would live. Well, when I had the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was like I was really getting to know and experience God in a more personal and deep way - I felt that the Spirit brought me face to face with Christ in such a powerful and intimate way, and I was a little nervous..what if it turned out that grace wasn't true when I really experienced Christ so deeply? What if He really was more demanding or works oriented? What would He be like? Deep down in my heart I think I knew He was love and grace, but here I was experiencing this very real presence of Christ, Christ Himself making Himself known to me through His Spirit, so what would He be like toward me??
Well, it is awesome that I have found Him to be nothing but grace and love! Every experience with Him through the last couple of years just confirms over and over that Grace is really true! Wow, what a gospel and wow, what a Savior and Lord! The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit in us, and the way He is to us shows the nature and character of God Himself toward us. In every way the Spirit has shown me grace and love!
He is there to show us Christ, and He has truly shown me that Christ's finished work is more than sufficient and has brought me into a perfect and unchanging and intimate union relationship with God, and that Christ has completely done away with my sin and isn't relating to me based on my sin or works but on the work of Christ alone! So I have a God who is constantly smiling at me because of Christ's finished work on my behalf! I have experienced this in such a real way, really driving home those truths and making them come alive for me! When I have felt His presence or filling, it is always with so much joy, peace, love and power! He is always delighting in me and smiling at me! I have experienced Him delighting in me even in the midst of sin. After I've sinned and feel awful, there He is, loving me JUST THE SAME, delighting in me JUST THE SAME, ready to go on with me as if nothing happened, because that sin is already gone and put onto the cross, and sin never separates us from God's presence anymore as believers! We are just right with God all the time, no matter what we do, because our rightness is Christ's rightness given to us, and that rightness is a perfect rightness or righteousness, not based on works we have done but on the blood of Christ the spotless lamb! We have been perfected forever by His one perfect offering! And the Holy Spirit has made that truth just come alive in real experience by the way He treats me with love, acceptance and joy even in the midst of sin struggles! He just doesn't see our sin..He sees us with joy and is always love! I have felt Him fighting against sin's attacks/temptations in me, fighting against lies, rising up in my with love when I have been tempted to get irritated, for example, fighting on my behalf..yet never condemning me when I fail but instead being there loving me and ready to fill me with love and power to defeat any temptations! That is how He has been with me when I am tempted or when I've failed. It is amazing to me that even when I choose wrong, He's always there ready to fellowship and always there loving me anyway! What a Friend, who truly shows me grace and loves me unconditionally.
That is the second way I have seen Him demonstrate that grace is true - by His unconditional love and friendship. Grace is acceptance of us as we are, and I have experienced this in my relationship with the dear Holy Spirit. He is the Best Friend I have always wanted. He is always there for me. He is always ready to listen and understand. He loves to hang out with me! He loves to listen to me ramble. He is delighted with me, even with my quirks and eccentricities. He enjoys my company and would still choose to have me as His Friend, even knowing how weird I truly am! He is there to counsel, console, comfort, and encourage. He always lifts me up. He never says a harsh word. He never makes me feel worse - I always, always feel better from time spent with Him! He will never reject or abandon me - He is with me forever, always there, faithful, constant, loyal, true. He demonstrates the acceptance in the Beloved and pours out on me the unconditional love of God! He is all love, all the time! He is safe and can be completely trusted. He is so loyal and won't leave - He just won't leave me! He will be with me forever, for He promised never to leave me or forsake me! That means I am safe and secure in God's friendship forever! He will always be my Friend! No matter what..safe and secure and sure..He truly demonstrates grace to me! He is everything we have always wanted in someone to love us without condition..
The last way I have seen the Spirit demonstrate that grace is true is in the living of the Christian life. To me, one meaning of grace is that I don't have to live this life - Christ will live it in me, and I just get to rest in faith. I don't think I ever really even started to understand that until I was baptized/filled with the Spirit. When I have been tempted to have bitter feelings toward someone and have gone to Him, He has just filled me powerfully with Himself and driven away the bad feelings, and a peace and love have just settled over me! Other times, when I knew Satan was attacking me with worry or fear, He has risen up within me to fight against that attack. Whenever I turn to Him needing Him, He is there to just take over and rise up with the strength and power and love and joy and peace I need. He doesn't just give those things, He IS those things and He brings out those things in such a personal way by just rising up in His very presence inside me! So Christianity isn't just asking for "things" like joy or victory but having a relationship with a Person and experiencing Him as joy or victory! It's being able to just open up with Him and tell Him all your needs, and then seeing Him actually work on your behalf in those areas and be all you couldn't be in those areas. I just ask Him to fill me and He then rises up and is all within me! With Him filling me, I am so strong and so willing to love people, and everything makes sense - and that is all HIM inside as the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind! Wow! Christ really LIVES in and through us by His Spirit! We don't have to live this life, solve our problems, have perfect love or forgiveness, overcome the enemy's attacks of fear or worry, or even have faith on our own! He will do it! He is ALL to us! He will supply ALL our need out of His riches in glory in Christ! HE will live this life in and through us, and it will be His works of power and love that come forth, His faith, His strength, His Spirit actually moving, motivating, willing and working in us! That must have been somewhat of Paul's meaning when he said he labored, yet not him, but the grace of God that was with him. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace loving us and moving in us!
The Spirit is the embodiment of God's grace to me! Thank You, dear Holy Spirit, for showing me without a doubt that grace is true, that God really does love us unconditionally, that we really are accepted and right with God in the Beloved, that we are perfect to and in perfect relationship with Him, that His blood really did take away our sins and they are remembered no more, that we really are secure in Your presence forever, that we are one with You in perfect spirit-Spirit union, that nothing can separate us from Your presence and love and favor, that nothing is required of us and we can let You rise up and live through us, that we can rest and just let You do it all, that You will be everything we need, that we are already more than conquerors, that we are home free, that You will never leave us, that You are for us and delight in us, that You are in love with us, that You will fight for us, that You will keep us and finish the work You began in us! Thank You for Your grace and for the gift of Your Spirit, who has really made You, Father, and Your Son, Jesus, and Your grace and love so real!