Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz’ newest book, is a very personal and intimate exploration of the identity, the very person of the Holy Spirit. While some may consider this third person of the Trinity to be mysterious or even unknowable, Lotz shows us that He CAN be known, He wants to be known, and He must be known if we are to grow in our relationship with God.
In Part One of the book, Lotz goes through the characteristics or traits of the Holy Spirit; Our Helper, Our Comforter; Our Advocate, etc. It’s both enlightening and humbling to explore the character of this Person who indwells us when we confess Christ as Savior.
In subsequent chapters, Lotz explore the presence, the power, and the purpose of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can transform us when we allow Him full access to every dark corner, every sin, every thought, and every action in our lives. “Ask yourself whether it’s worth the cost to withhold some area of life from the Holy Spirit. Because His power in your life is activated in direct proportion to the degree you surrender and fully rely on Him.” (Pg. 99)
We’ve all heard the verse, do not quench the Spirit. Even more, we are not to “grieve” the Spirit. Lotz says, we can only grieve someone who loves us, and Spirit love us more than we can even comprehend in this life. “When I sin, the Holy Spirit disciplines me conviction, shame, and guild until I feel I’m smothered spiritually. Almost unable to think clearly or take a deep breath, I’m aware that my sin has grieved and hurt Him. Someone once said He is the most uncomfortable comforter they know! That has certainly been my experience.” (Pg. 97)
The Holy Spirit is not an afterthought, or a backup savior, or an esoteric feeling that confirms our salvation. He is the One whom Jesus promised would come after He Himself went to be with the Father. I think that because we haven’t really studied Him, we have missed opportunities for growth, power, strength, change, and holiness. He’s not just a “presence” or “feeling.” “In order to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ so that we bring Him glory by increasingly reflecting His image and character, the Holy Spirit energizes, or quickens, us into spiritual life.” (Pg. 117) And even more, “Once we are born again and we are assured of His life within us, the Spirit continues to quicken us, or stimulate us, to grow into maturity in our faith.” (pg. 118) The Holy Spirit is not an add-on or consolation prize the apostles and disciples received after Jesus left, He is in fact our Consolation, our Comforter, and evidence our absolute certainty that God is who He says He is and will do what He said He will do, in us and through us.
The Holy Spirit is a healer and teacher, encourager and supporter. “…the Holy Spirit can use the broken pieces of our lives to bring blessing and life to others – and ultimately glory to God.” (Pg. 124) Nothing in our lives is wasted or meaningless when we allow the Holy Spirit access and influence and instruction. “Jesus promised that ‘the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.’ So ask Him to guide your focus until it’s laser-like in steadfast resolution to bring God glory in all you say and do. Then relax. Regardless of whatever life may bring your way, embrace the Spirit’s purpose.” (Pg. 130)
But Lotz writes that the Holy Spirit doesn’t just impose His will or use us or lay on us His plan. We have an obligation, a duty, and the absolute joy of cooperating in His plans for us and for our world. We want to participate in His expression of Himself. She says, “Maintaining the fire [of the Holy Spirit] requires intentionally establishing some common spiritual disciplines. They are simple choices but not always easy. They include daily prayer. Daily Bible reading. Sharing the gospel. Continuous obedience as you live out what God says in His Word. Continuous trust as you relinquish your expectations and let Him have His way. Deepening surrender to His authority – especially in times of pain and suffering.” (Pg. 132)
Lotz’ book is personal, confessional, and humble as she reveals her own struggles and downfalls and victories in her Christian walk. She is never arrogant or superior – she is one of us – a pilgrim on the Christian path, and gives all glory to God for His goodness and provision.
As we explore our relationship to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, it’s important to study Scripture, pray, and as God to reveal Himself as the holy Trinity, the Godhead, the Creator, and Author and Finisher of our faith. I encourage you to buy or borrow this book, take lots of notes, and thank God for the Holy Spirit Who lives in us for His glory and our good.
Disclaimer: I received a pre-publication copy of Jesus in Me for the purpose of reviewing it.