How do I have a stronger relationship with God? What role does the Spirit play in this?
Who (or what) is the Holy Spirit? And What does it mean by the Fruit and Gifts of the spirit? And Finally how do you make a relationship with Jesus and God stronger?
Thankyou for your question. As there are many components to your question, my answer will have to be brief, so I encourage you to read the Bible passages I will refer to to get a better picture.
The Holy Spirit is God, the same God as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. He is equal with the Father and the Son. We refer to them as the three persons of the one God or the Trinity. Yet while they are all God in essence and nature, God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit have different roles as emphasised in the Bible. The main role of the Holy Spirit is to point people to Jesus and help us understand and obey God’s words.
When Jesus tells his disciples about the Holy Spirit, he said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13a)
And, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:14a)
Every Christian has the Holy Spirit inside them, (Romans 8:9) and he guides us to listen to and obey God’s words. Some other Bible passages that help us understand the Spirit’s role in Christian’s lives are listed below:
Romans 8:9-17, 8:26-27
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
John 14:15-18, 16:12-15
Once we understand the Spirit’s function it helps us understand what is the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
In Galatians 5:16 God tells us to “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contratry to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other.”
It then goes on to tells us what are the acts of sinful nature, e.g. sexual immorality, hatred, jealousy, and so on. This is then contrasted with the “fruit of the Spirit”, which are love, patience, self-control … etc (Galatians 5:22-23).
This makes it clear that the fruits of the Spirit refers to the things that we would do if we follow the Holy Spirit’s guide in obeying God. The opposite of that is following your sinful nature, and disobeying God.
Gifts of the spirit, on the other hand, refer to abilities that are given by God to Christians in order that they can serve other people.
In 1 Corinthians 12:7, the Bible tells us that gifts of the Spirit is “given for the common good.” In 1 Corinthians 14:12, “gifts that build up the church” are to be desired. The entire chapters of 1 Corinthians 12 – 14, however, teach us that no two people are the same and we all have our different gifts and functions given by God in order to serve others, and that gifts are not there for our own gratification. “Prophecy,” i.e. teaching others from the word of God, is the greatest gift, because it builds up people the most. (1 Corinthians 14:1-5; 14:18-19)
Finally, how do our relationship with God grow stronger?
In one sense our relationship with God with as strong as it will ever be, as strong as it will be in heaven. This is because God is committed to it. Rom 8:28ff says that because God has chosen us then nothing in heaven and earth can come between us and God’s love. Its a great comfort and joy!!
So your real question is about how you can become a stronger Christian and not give into sin. Firstly, we have to relate with God in the right way. God tells us that the only way we can come to him is through Jesus. Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We must believe that Jesus is our Lord and He rules us, and we need to believe that He is our Saviour who died to forgive all our sins, before we can relate to God at all.
Secondly, we can relate better to God by acknowledging and obeying Him as God, not going about life in our own way. We can do this by listening to Him , i.e. reading the Bible and putting it into practice in our lives. When you do this, you are “living by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16). Peter talks about striving to do the good things God wants us to do 2 Peter 1:5ff. Paul talks about setting your eyes on heaven rather than the earth and therefore taking off the old clothes of sin and putting on the new clothes of righteousness Col 3:1ff.
Thirdly, we can relate to God by talking to Him, and praying that He will make our relationship with Him stronger. If you don’t know how to pray, God tells us that the Holy Spirit inside us will help us to pray according to the way God wants us to pray.
“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:27
Ultimately, God is the one who helps us become strong in our relationship with Himself - he wants to do it and he does do it. He brings about this strength by testing and discipline. As hard times comes and you turn to him for help so, as he helps you, you grow in your confidence of his love towards you. This is the thrust of Hebrews 12:1-13.
So set your heart and eyes on heaven, continue to do what God wants you to do, endure hardship and pray and you will grow in your relationship with God.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au