The Work of the Holy Spirit
Goodness, patience, love, must come into being in us, and they are obtained by keeping the Word of Christ under the guidance of the Spirit. (We are changed in His image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18)
He who has begun this good work in us, through His Word and the Holy Spirit, will also bring it to an end. (For we are His work. Ephesians 2:10)
He gave His Son as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven; He gave us the seed (the Word of Christ) from which life begins, and He also gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit for our renewal and growth. (…by the renewal made by the Spirit…Titus 3:5; You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38)
The Holy Spirit works towards our sanctification, becoming our instructor, guiding us on the way to the Kingdom. He works together with the help of the Lord’s teachings to raise us and get the result God wants, namely His character in us. (…by the sanctification of the Spirit. 1 Peter 1:2)
The teachings of Lord Jesus are indispensable for imprinting His attributes in us, to shape us according to His image.
The Holy Spirit will take each teaching and work together with us towards our perfection (When the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak from Himself, but will speak all that will be heard. John 16:13 He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit does not come into us to sit somewhere in the corner of our heart, ignored, without allowing Him to get involved.
He comes only as a leader, and only when we agree to submit to Him. That is why God tells us that we should aim to be fully led by His Spirit. (Be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18) He comes and starts working in our lives for us to bear the fruits of the Spirit. (…walk in the Spirit, and do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16)
The Spirit works with us and is supportive in our weaknesses. He understands our weaknesses and helps by praying for us. (And likewise, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses: for we do not even know what we should pray for: but the Spirit itself intermediates for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26)
But if we do not want to obey His leadership, He won’t be able to help us in our weaknesses. Thus, we will stop the work of the Spirit. He will not force us to obey if we do not want to. (Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19)
Only if we allow ourselves to be exhorted by the Spirit of Christ and seek the things of the Spirit as a pearl of great value will He guide us towards obtaining the character traits of God, towards obtaining the heavenly things. (…walking in the things of the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6; Those who live according to the promptings of the Spirit walk in the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5)
Where there is life from above, the first fruits of this new life will eventually appear as a result of the Spirit working with us. (…we have the first fruits of the Spirit. Romans 8:23) Therefore, we can easily see if the Spirit dwells in us.
The Scripture tells us that we receive the Spirit not to live for ourselves, but to become like the Lord; to have love and to work towards the spiritual benefit of the others. (Love does not seek its own benefit. 1 Corinthians 13:4; And to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of others. 1 Corinthians 12:7)
We must understand what the things from the Kingdom are. Moreover, we must receive them. Furthermore, we must give up on the old things and replace them with the newly found treasures, that is, the things/fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, abounding patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. (Galatians 5:22) To give up on the old things means to give up on self-love, or in other words, to give up on living for ourselves. (Indeed, none of us lives for himself… Romans 14:7)
By doing the above things, we will begin a new life, a life based on the things from the Kingdom. We will begin to work on the perfection of our character, on the wedding garment, guided by the Spirit of God. (And clothe yourselves with the new man, made in the image of God, of righteousness and holiness, which the truth gives. Ephesians 4:24)
If the new life from above begins, we will start having other concerns. (If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…And these things are from God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
We are in His workshop every single day, working with Him to transform ourselves to reach the character of His. By obeying the leadership of the Spirit, and through the Word of the gospel, the fruit of the Spirit will start appearing in us.
Restraint of lusts/cravings:
A fruit of the Spirit is the restraint of lusts. If we obey the leadership of the Spirit, He will work with us to sanctify ourselves, to crucify our lusts, to restrain from anger and from evil thinking. (…by the sanctification of the Spirit. 1 Peter 1:2)
When we are tempted, the Spirit will remind us of the Lord’s Words and urge us to act accordingly. He will guide and support us so that we may be able to combat evil thoughts and flee from the lust of the eyes, therefore sanctifying our souls. (By obeying the truth, you have cleansed your souls through the Spirit. 1 Peter 1:22)
Our part is to crucify the old man together with his passions, cravings, and lusts (the desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes), to work to build His image in us through the Holy Spirit, to help us put on the new man. (If your right eye causes you to stumble, remove it, and cast it away from you. Matthew 5:29)
To crucify the flesh, the Lord will provide us more help in addition to the Holy Spirit; this help is provided by the limbs of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12) That is the reason why we cannot unite with just anybody. We must unite only with the members/limbs of the Body of Christ, which is the Church of God, where purity is practiced, and sin is not tolerated.
In the Body of Christ, we will be helped by the Holy Spirit and by the other members to grow and to crucify our old nature, to put off the old man. We must unite with those who do not love the world or the things of the world. Their restraint from the things of the world (e.g., restraining from going by the sea, ill talking, watching TV, freely roaming the internet, working illegally, using bribery, etc.) will help us to get rid of the old man. (Flee from the passions of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22)
We can ask ourselves: Have we begun seeking the things of the Spirit as a treasure? Are they a daily priority? Do we have the first fruit of the Spirit? Do we see a growth in restraining of lusts, the appearance of kindness and goodness in our lives?
He who has the Spirit also has His fruits. (You will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:16) Do not be deceived into believing that you can have the Spirit if you do not have His fruits.
If we have given up a few sins (drinking, smoking, partying), and started reading the Bible, singing, praying, having Bible studies, but still living for ourselves, and not following the things of the Spirit, then we can be sure that the new life has not yet begun.