3 Descriptions of the Holy Spirit
Years ago, as I read through the Bible, I noticed that the biblical writers would often use comparisons and metaphors to help us understand an idea or a person. In Ruth, God is portrayed as a mother hen who would take her children under her wing and care for them. In John, Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep. Throughout God's Word, we also see many comparisons of the Holy Spirit to objects of nature. I would like to explore a few of those in these next paragraphs.
1. The Holy Spirit is like a dove.
In each of the Gospel accounts, we see a different aspect of Jesus Christ. Each writer is trying to accomplish a different goal, otherwise there would be just one account of Jesus' life here on earth. Because of this, we don't often see events recorded in all four gospels. However, each writer finds it necessary to record that at Jesus' baptism the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove.
Now, why a dove? Often times, I have preached graveside services were beautiful white doves were released. They are truly beautiful as they set sail through the sky. It is hard not to notice the purity of their pure white composition. Against the backdrop of a blue sky, they look magnificent. Not doubt, the purity of the dove was important in symbolizing the holiness and purity which characterizes the Holy Spirit and which characterized our Lord when He was on this earth. He lived His life totally without sin.
Not only that, but Isaiah called our Savior the "Prince of Peace". In Genesis 6, Noah sent out a dove in search of dry land. The dove returned with an olive branch in it's mouth and we have forever associated the olive branch with peace. The dove was that messenger of peace that brought good news to Noah and his family. The Holy Spirit descended, like a dove, on the Prince of Peace and is now that good messenger of hope to all who will believe.
2. The Holy Spirit is like the wind.
In Acts 2:2, the Bible records "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." This mighty rushing wind was, no doubt, God's Holy Spirit filling up the place where they had gathered.
There are several obersvations to make concerning the Holy Spirit and the wind. First, the wind is simply moving air and the Holy Spirit is still moving through God's people just as He did at Penecost. Second, we cannot see the wind and we cannot see the Holy Spirit but we know that they both are there because we feel them and we see their impact. Third, the wind can be a powerful force that uproots trees, destroys property, and ruins a good game of golf! Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a powerful force and He is making a difference in our lives when we yield ourselves to Him.
3. The Holy Spirit is like fire.
If one reads one verse further in Acts 2, we see where those gathered in the Upper Room at Penecost began to speak with "tongues of fire". We often see fire used as imagery for the Holy Spirit. Isaiah called Him "the Spirit of burning". (4:4) In Matthew 3, John remarks that he baptized with water but Christ would baptize with the fire which was the Holy Spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul instructs us to avoid quenching the Spirit like a fire would be quenched.
When we think of fire in God's Word, the Old Testament is filled with examples of fire being used to indicate that God's presence was near to the Jews. The Holy Spirit is the manifestation of God, His presence, on this earth. The mark of a believer is that he or she is filled with the Holy Spirit, the presence of God. Fire is also a symbol of purity. In many trades, fire is used to purify (to get rid of what is bad so that you are left with what is good). The Holy Spirit does a purifying work in our hearts. If we will submit ourselves to Him, He will remove from us what is not of God so that we might become like our Savior.
I hope that you are seeing the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of God's people. Also, I hope you will make it point in your life to yield to God's Spirit through prayer and study of His Word.