[This article was contributed by Alex Rover]

Dear brothers and  sisters, seldom I have researched such an intimate and beautiful topic. As I worked on this article, I was in a state of joy ready to sing praise at all times.

So sweet and precious the Psalmist thought of the holy spirit he prayed:

Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me!  — Ps 51:10-11

Scripture likens us to clay in the hands of our Father, our potter. (Isa 64:8, Rom 9:21) Our bodies, like clay containers, yearn to be complete and full. In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commanded us to be “filled with the spirit” and in 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read that the spirit of God “may dwell in us”. (Compare 2 Tim 1:14; Acts 6:5; Eph 5:18; Rom 8:11)

The Holy Spirit is a Gift.

Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) [1]

While the spirit is a gift freely given to us (1 Cor 2:12), the spirit of holiness cannot be received by an impure vessel.  “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14) Therefore baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sins is a prerequisite, his cleansing blood wiping out every trace of wickedness.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. – Psalm 103:12-13

Therefore if the spirit bears witness with you that you are the Father’s child, be assured that your sins are forgiven, for the spirit of holiness that dwells in you was freely given to you by the Father in response to our Savior’s petition.

Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever – John 14:16

Thus, should we desire to receive Holy Spirit, we first need to repent of our sins, obtain forgiveness through Christ’s blood and be baptized in his name. Next, we need to make it known to the Father that we wish to receive his spirit of holiness:

If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! – Luke 11:13

This desiring and petitioning the Father for his spirit is so beautifully illustrated by the Psalmist in our opening verse, and our own wishes resonate with the words in 1 Thessalonians 5:23:

Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Walk by Spirit

Walking by spirit conveys the thoughts of following, holding on to, standing by and going along with. When we become filled with spirit, spirit permeates our every thought. It prevents the carrying out of the cravings of our sinful nature. (Gal 5:16 NLT)

As an autumn wind carries a brown leaf away from a tree, preparing it for promised fruits in the spring season, so the spirit of holiness is manifest in those who are transformed by spirit, pruning away the old works and renewing us to produce fruits of the spirit.

But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by his works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7

We will recognize in ourselves that we are filled with spirit, when this spirit is with us throughout each moment of the day. Our conscience will be renewed and tuned in accordance with a spirit of holiness. It will cause us to rejoice in goodness and come to hate that which is bad, that we may walk by spirit.

Hence the spirit is our guardian, planting holy fear in our hearts. Abiding by this sweet spirit of the Father contributes to our “confident expectation of eternal life” and thus grants us a peace that exceeds all things, as we enter God’s rest. (Hebrews 4)

Indeed, the working of the holy spirit instills assurance and conviction of our personal hope. One who is filled by spirit and abides by it is consequently built up in faith:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Heb 11:1

This verse is often misunderstood. Faith does not come through knowledge. It comes through assurance and conviction which only holy spirit can grant us. Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite having studied the Scriptures for years, sometimes struggle with feelings of unworthiness when it comes to their hope. (This I have observed firsthand.) No amount of knowledge of Scripture, prophecy, archeological evidence or works can grant us a confident expectation of the eternal life.

Inconvenient Truth

Insight in the Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, declares boldly that Christian sons of God are led by spirit. [2] Rightfully so, as Scripture declares:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. – Romans 8:14

The Watchtower of 12/15 2011 pp. 21-26 states in paragraph 12 that “Both the ‘little flock’ and the ‘other sheep’ are guided by holy spirit”. But as we know, JW only accept that the “anointed”, “little flock” of Christian Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God.

This Watchtower attempts to justify this by saying, “Paul said that the holy spirit can operate, or work, on different servants of God for a specific purpose”. In other words, they are saying the spirit can operate on some to call them to be sons or daughters, and on others to be elders or pioneers but not sons and daughters of God. Let’s repeat what Scripture says once more: “all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God”.

The teaching that some are not receiving Holy Spirit for the purpose of spirit adoption is an insidious false religious teaching, because it prevents true worship.

God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. – John 4:24

The depressing spiritual state became obvious when a brother was in the ministry with a respected elder, and the elder made the comment: “I hope Jehovah keeps these old timer cars and beautiful homes around for at least one-hundred years in the new system for us to enjoy. Afterward he can destroy everything. If I wasn’t a witness right now, I would be enjoying working on those cars and living in those beautiful homes.”

Those void of spirit will read Jesus words in Matthew 6:19-24 and believe that by simply avoiding material pursuits and making sacrifices and powerful works in the name of Christ, they are obeying the master. But what a deception! Christ does not know such ones! What was in the heart? If your heart is with the treasures of earth, then Christ says your eye is diseased. You cannot serve two masters. Sadly, many witnesses are in this dark spiritual state.

Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Mat 6:19-24

Likewise Scriptures such as this are totally misunderstood by our JW brothers:

You open your hand, and fill every living thing with the food they desire. [..] He satisfies the desire of his loyal followers… – Ps 145:16-19

Jehovah will not fill your desire for material treasures in paradise. Such fleshly thinking displays a lack of knowing the Father and knowing Christ. (John 17:3) What he has in store for his spirit adopted sons and daughters will be above and beyond what we know and can imagine today. Grace and peace and boundless joy are what he will grant us. Dwelling in the glory of the Father himself, filled and complete in his love and the radiant beauty of his Holy Son. Our desire needs to be equal to God’s will for us, so he can make us complete in ways we don’t understand yet! Our Father knows what we need. It is presumptuous to pretend we can direct our own path.

Yet not my will, but yours be done. – Luke 22:42

A sad spiritual state was prophesied:

For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. – 2 Tim 4:3

The desire of fleshly things is of this earth, and it is contrary to the desire that the spirit cultivates. It’s an inconvenient truth that those who desire the things of the earth are following their own desires, not the desire of the Father.

Their works are so they can be seen by others. Recently this has become exemplified by wearing of JW.ORG badges in the congregation meetings. Who are they preaching to if not their own? This new phenomenon is not new at all, and it is a fleshly desire for prominence! (Mat 6:1-16; 2 Kings 10:16; Luke 16:15; Luke 20:47; Luke 21:1; John 5:44; John 7:18 John 12:43; Phi 1:15; Phi 2:3)

They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. – Matthew 23:5

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. – Matthew 6:5

In the run up to a recent presidential election, candidates were quick to pin American flag label pins on their jackets in a race to show off their patriotism. But President Obama did something radical, and decided to lose the label pin. When questioned why he stopped wearing it, he responded:

“My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on your lapel than what is in your heart,” he told the campaign crowd Thursday. “You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and ideals. That’s what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.” [3]

LOVE, the foremost fruit the spirit cultivates in us, is of an entirely higher order of quality and is absent in such a climate of hypocrisy. The appearance of love in the congregations is not the product of holy spirit.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? – Matthew 5:46

If congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses were filled by the true love the spirit cultivates, we would not stand for an unloving and unscriptural shunning arrangement. We would not have congregations filled with gossip. We would not tolerate false teachings of shameless self promotion by the governing body. True love cultivated by holy spirit, my brethren, is of a different and superior quality:

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.  – 1 Co 13:4-9

Dear brothers and sisters, it is not by our words we will win over anyone to Christ. It is by setting the example. Let us be what the Father has commissioned us to be: ambassadors of Christ (2 Co 5:20). Christ is with us, for the holy spirit cultivates the Christ in us, that our whole body may be full of light, and the light may shine in the darkness.

Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. – Ro 12:11 AMP

Let our ministry be more than just words, so that others can see our burning love for our Lord Jesus Christ and his Father through our holy conduct, compassion and sacred service.

Abide, Sweet Spirit

This article came about upon re-discovering the first song of the songbook “Hymns of Dawn”, which was used by bible students a century ago and even today. It was sung as part of the memorial celebration of Christ’s death. When I heard the song I was truly moved by the lyrics:

Abide, sweet Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With light and comfort from above;
Be thou our guardian, thou our guide;
O’er ev’ry thought and step preside.

To us the light of truth display,
And make us know and choose thy way;
Plant holy fear in ev’ry heart,
That we from God may ne’er depart.

Lead us in holiness, the road
Which we must keep to dwell with God;
Lead us in Christ, the living way;
Nor let us from his pastures stray.

Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for thine appointed hour;
And fit us by thy grace to share
The triumphs of thy conq’ring pow’r.

May these words become part of our worship once more.  Perhaps we may even choose to sing it as we celebrate the Lord’s evening meal together. May it remind us that we need to ever pray the Father for more spirit, and allow the spirit of holiness to complete its perfect work in us.

May it cultivate gifts in each one of us who are not just born again in spirit, but aglow and filled with the spirit of holiness. Let it guide our every thought and action. Let the Father’s will be done in us.

Thanks to the collaboration of those on our forum, I am so excited to share with you our community’s rendition. [4] A special heartfelt thanks to our anonymous brother for the sung version. If you would like to contribute to future songs, then we welcome your talent!

Songs-For-Worship-Abide-Sweet-Spirit

INSTRUMENTAL VERSION

download (mp3) Songs for Worship #1 Abide Sweet Spirit – Instrumental

SUNG VERSION

download (mp3) Songs for Worship #1 Abide Sweet Spirit – Sung


[1] What is the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christian Courier.

[2] Christian Sons of God, Insight Vol. 2

[3] Obama stops wearing American Flag pin, MSNBC.

[4] Also check out this and this beautiful rendition of the song by others!