What or Who is the Holy Spirit?

These days you often hear a person claim to be “spiritual” rather than proclaim a religion or aspire to be “religious”.  Religion it seems smacks of something suspect. “Spirit” and the “spiritual” are the stuff of spiritual devotees or wannabees. So what is this “spirit” that makes one “spiritual”,  but not, God forbid, “religious”?

Is it raw, ethereal, but available energy to be plucked from the life-stream by a mantra or posture. How about a super-force, an impersonal force, as “the Force” of movie fame. We can ask what is asked of Superman, “Is it a bird? .. .;  we’ll stop short of asking “is it a plane?’, perhaps, just, maybe, of another plane, It’s hard to tell.  With New Age jargon, eastern religious explanations in pop culture and  literature, making claims for apprehending it for our use, health, wealth and happiness or the simple purity of bliss, the matter of the immaterial is evasive.

For the undiscerning Christian, the airways are ripe with confusion, which is the way the spirits of the air like it. Religious truth be told, truth holds the answer for the discerning, if we, indeed, are seeking Truth, rather than novelty and the exotic.

The answer to what or who,is “Who” is the Holy Spirit. “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14: 26), operative words: “Advocate”  and “He”, a mission and a person, not a thing, a vibration, a feeling, or impersonal force. Where Satan and his minions confuse and accuse, the Holy Spirit advocates on behalf of those who call on the Father and the Son.  “The Spirit intercedes” (Romans 8:27). He also directs, as in: “Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me..’ (Acts 13:2), also,  “And the Spirit said to Philip, Go up..” (Acts 8: 29).

Just as we seek to know ourselves, through experience, introspection, observing as objectively as possible, our inner workings,conversations, intentions, and desires, so the Spirit knows the Father and the Son, their inner workings and intentions and desires, “Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.(I Cor 2:11)

As for the gifts, health, provision and happiness or the simple the purity of the peace that passes understanding: “.. one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes” 1Cor 12:11

So, while the world, the flesh, and the devil, may appeal to a “what” or a “something”, and be lost in a soup of foggy warm fuzzies and cold prickly vibs, you can seek the Paraclete, the Advocate, intervener, director, gifter and producer of good fruit growing on the vine of the One Who identifies Himself as Truth and sends the Spirit.

As for spiritual, that you already art, in part.  You are a synthesis of matter and spirit, a natural Human Being called to be more, invited to be supernatural, to be incorporated with the Divine. These days are no different than the days of old, Man seeking his God, or a handy substitute.  Choose wisely; your eternity begins with Who you choose to serve in this life and, ultimately, the next.

©2015 Joann Nelander


Discernment of Spirits – Setting the Captives Free – Fr. Timothy Gallagher


1 Jn 3:24–4:6

Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

New Song

Love and praise hold hands.
Happy hearts rejoice.
Song rises from the multitude,
As lives lived in faith believing.

The Just sing with their being,
Resplendent and resounding love.
Praise embodied in saintly flesh.

New song, New Day,
New creation,
In harmony with Heaven
A symphony of faithful, forgiven witness.


Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved