In order to fully enjoy the divine advantage we have been given by the Holy Spirit living inside of us as our comforter and helper, we must continually get to know Him better. God takes natural symbols or familiar material emblems to unfold new spiritual realities about the Holy Spirit).

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead

 

 Get to know the Holy Spirit better through symbols

Consider the following examples: water, wind, fire, wine, oil, clothing and the dove.

 

 The Holy Spirit symbolized by water

Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,

And floods on the dry ground;

I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,

And My blessing on your offspring;

John 7:37-39

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;

          As water is vital for physical life so is the Holy Spirit for spiritual life and vitality. Out of the heart or belly are the issues of life. The Holy Spirit’s influence in your life is like a river flowing out into ‘dry’ circumstances.

           Rivers also speak of movement: something characteristic of the Holy Spirit’s operation. He is always moving, and never stagnant. His dealings can be recognized as He shapes the landscape of your heart and mind to become more like Christ. Like flowing river water has the capacity to carry debris along with it, and even rub off sharp edges making smooth stones, so too the Holy Spirit has the capacity to remove filth from your life, and even smooth off rough edges in your personality.

Ezekiel 36:25-27

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

          Rivers also speak of productivity. The Holy Spirit will produce fruitfulness in your life when you yield to His dealings.

Revelation 22:1-2

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

           Water comes in different forms: rain, dew and vapor. For water to condense as droplets of rain or even dew overnight, certain atmospheric conditions must apply, the primary one being cooling. In the stillness and cooling of night, symbolic of difficult circumstances, the refreshing and life sustaining ‘dew’ of the Holy Spirit can distill out to bring life into dry situations (Hosea 14:5). Look for the Holy Spirit reassurances, especially in difficult situations. Be calm, rest from your own efforts to make something come to pass, and let God have His way in the attendant silence.

          Remember, speaking in tongues is evidence of surrender and activates the strengthening or edification ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life. So make a practice of speaking in tongues daily and enjoy the refreshing effect. It’s like taking a spiritual shower, bath or swim.

           The covering ministry of the Holy Spirit is described as a ‘cloud’ by day (Exodus 13:22) sheltering the Israelites of old from the hot desert sun on their journey to the Promised Land. In like manner, see the Holy Spirit sheltering you from the ‘heat’ of adverse circumstances as you progress on your spiritual journey.

           One final point about water. The rainbow has seven distinct colors or aspects, as does the Holy Spirit.

 Revelation 4:5-6

And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

           Most commentators attribute the following seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit to His ministry: teacher, advocate, counselor, guide, strengthener, comforter and intercessor. Once again, get to know the Holy Spirit in the multiplicity of His grace. There is always more to explore.

 

 Wind, fire and wine as symbols of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-4, 13

Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

           All three symbols are connected to the Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost: wind, fire and wine. The wind is the ‘breath’ of God that when it blows has a sound. There is a particular sound to God’s voice. It carries peace, comfort, strength, power, healing or whatever you need at any particular moment. The wind can be mighty like a gale, or like a gentle breeze but always appropriate for the need of the moment. The Holy Spirit will speak to you in a tone and with the intensity that is suited to your situation. When you need healing and comfort when you are bruised, He will be gentle. When you need loud correction when in danger, He will be more forceful. Learn to discern by practicing your listening skills.

          With fire comes light, heat and even cleansing. The spiritual light we are given by the Holy Spirit must be set on a hill for all to see. Jesus said that we are the ‘light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14), and must shine in dark places. Let the Holy Spirit embolden you to let your light shine. In the coldness of life’s difficulties, you can also provide warmth and comfort through the Holy Spirit to people needing comfort.

          Also, be open to the cleansing and purifying effect of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you let him, he will ‘burn’ up things that are impure. The fires of heaven will burn up the fires of hellish situations that may be burning in you or those you love. For example, in 1666 AD the city of London England was ravaged by bubonic plague carried by rats. A great fire broke out and burnt up significant parts of the city. However, as a result, many rats were killed and the bubonic plague stopped. A ‘cleansing’ took place that, in the long run, saved the city. In like manner, there may be a ‘fire’ of adverse circumstance burning in your life, that can be cleansed if you are ‘set on fire’ by the Holy Spirit.

Malachi 3:2-3

“But who can endure the day of His coming?

And who can stand when He appears?

For He is like a refiner’s fire

And like launderer’s soap.

3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;

He will purify the sons of Levi,

And purge them as gold and silver,

That they may offer to the LORD

An offering in righteousness.

Matthew 3:11-12

He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

           In addition, when the disciples spilled out into the streets on the day of Pentecost, and the locals mockingly thought they were drunk with wine, Peter corrected them by referring to Joel’s prophecy of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring.

          Wine as a Biblical symbol speaks of refreshing, stimulation and abandon to God’s purposes. Obviously wanton drunkenness is to be avoided, but Spirit filled abandon is to be encouraged.

 Ephesians 5:18-21

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

           Joy is to characterize your life, and not bitter vinegary expressions of prideful and empty religion. Your heart is like a wineskin that must be soft and supple to receive and contain the ‘new wine’ of The Holy Spirit. Old ways and attitudes must make way for the joyful new.

Luke 5:37-39

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

 

 Oil as symbol of the Holy Spirit

          In the story of the ‘good Samaritan’ the unfortunate traveler who fell among thieves had oil and wine poured into his wounds the Samaritan. This speaks of the the new birth and infilling of the Holy Spirit bringing about recovery from trauma. The trauma of sin that has affected all mankind needs to be dealt with by a twofold operation of the Holy Spirit. The wineskin of our broken hearts must be restored and softened before receiving new wine. So there is the new birth experience then the Holy Spirit baptism or infilling.

Luke 10:34

So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine…

          Oil is used as a symbol of anointing for service. The prophet Samuel anointed King David with a horn of oil (1 Samuel 16:13). Jesus, the king was anointed for service (Acts 10:38), and the early disciples were continually refreshed with an ‘oil change’.

Psalm 92:10

10 But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox;

I have been anointed with fresh oil .

Acts 3:19-20

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Acts 4:31

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

          They recognized this and yielded to these times of refreshing and were “re’- filled with the Holy Spirit time and again. They had previously been born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit, but still felt the need in this threatening situation to be ‘refilled’ with the Spirit, a ‘topping up’ if you please.

 

 The dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit       

Matthew 3:16-17

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

           The Holy Spirit is likened to a dove in Jesus baptism, and in keeping with the first direct mention of the dove in scripture, is used to speak of the peace He always brought to any situation. (Olive branch of peace that the dove brought after the flood of judgment began subsiding – Genesis 8:7-12). After all, Jesus is described as the prince of peace! (Isaiah 9:6). In your life if ever you want to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit look for peace, that’s where He will be.

           Then, like a dove broods over its eggs in order to bring forth new life, the Holy Spirit in you broods over new things he wants to bring forth in your life. He is gentle and protective and will speak comforting and encouraging things to you.

          The dove in the natural is faithful to its one mating partner, is gentle and is able to keep its eyes focused. The Holy Spirit in turn is faithful to never leave you, is gentle and controlled, and keeps your eyes focused on Jesus (John 14:16 / Isaiah 42:1-4 / Matthew 6:22). It is also ‘harmless’ or as is implied in scripture ‘unmixed’ or innocently unmingled.

Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

           Your witness in the world must reflect the purity of a dove like holiness. That is something only the Holy Spirit can give you. Your enemy, the devil, is unholy in all that he does, and you and I must cooperate with the Holy Spirit to be set apart from evil in all we say and do. Allow the inner seed of positional holiness given to you at the new birth to grow into the fruit of practical holiness as the ‘divine dove’ gains more and more control over your life.

Philippians 2:14-15

Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless , children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, …

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