While Jesus was upon the earth, He was the Person of the Godhead with whom man most closely related. Jesus was here to represent God to man, which He did wonderfully - to such a degree that He could tell Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father ... I and My Father are one" (John 14:9; 10:30). Jesus was God in flesh upon the earth.
At first the disciples didn't recognize this. But over time they came to realize that when they walked with Jesus along the road, in fact they were strolling alongside of God. Eventually they saw that when they laid their hand upon His shoulder, in reality they were laying their hand on the shoulder of God. They recognized that when Jesus talked to them, they were hearing the very words of God. They understood that when they saw Jesus and His compassion for the sick, they glimpsed the heart of God and His desire to make right that which was wrong. When they saw Jesus take the scourge and drive the money changers out of the temple, they witnessed the determination of God to bring purity to man's religion - or more accurately, to purge man of religion and bring him into a pure relationship with God. When they saw Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because its people had failed to understand the opportunity for salvation that God had given, they watched the heart of God breaking over man's lost chances.
During His roughly 30 years on the earth, Jesus taught the disciples thoroughly and gave them many commandments. But on the day He ascended into heaven, He told His friends He would thereafter give them commandments and direct their activities in a new way. From that day on, He would guide and direct them through the Holy Spirit.
It's critical that we understand this. The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of the Godhead working in the world today. He is the person of the Godhead to whom we relate most closely. He is the One who is gathering a body of believers - the bride of Christ - to present unto the Lord. And the church through the Holy Spirit is doing the work of God in the world.
The Holy Spirit is called the Paraklete, "one called alongside to help." He has come alongside to help us in every situation. He is here to be our strength. He is here to be our provider. He is here to take care of the emergencies that arise in life. Anytime that we need help in any kind of situation, we can know that the Holy Spirit is here to be our helper. He is the One who has been called to come alongside to help us.
The Holy Spirit desires a personal, loving relationship with all of us. He wants to come alongside of you and help you in and through every situation you may face. That is why it is so vitally important that each of us come to know the person of the Holy Spirit, to know Him in His fullness. Only in that way will we be able to experience the comfort, help, and strength that He provides and which all of us so desperately need.
The purpose of this book is to help you get to know the Holy Spirit so that you might enjoy a full, rich relationship with Him. It is my earnest desire to so present His glory and beauty that you will seek to yield your life fully to Him, knowing and personally experiencing His grace, His love, His power, and His gifts.
God wants us to know Him not merely as some eternal creator or as some force or power that fills the universe, but as a loving, caring Father who sent His Son to die for our sins. Jesus made it possible for us to enjoy this intimate relationship through the agency and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am praying that by God's grace and through this book the Lord will develop in you an insatiable hunger for and thirsting after the Spirit.
I pray that you will come into a deep, personal, intimate relationship with Him so that your life will be transformed by His power. I pray that you will come to depend upon Him for guidance, for health, for strength, for comfort, for wisdom, and for power. And I pray that He will become closer to you than any person you have ever known - that you will be bathed in His glory and thus fashioned into the image of Christ.
Some exciting times lie ahead in these pages! But, of course, you don't have to wait for the end of the book to gain great blessing. You can yield yourself to the Holy Spirit even now, giving yourself over to His control and to His filling. I urge you to make up your mind even now to yield and surrender your life to Him. Then you can begin, even at this moment, to enjoy a glorious walk in the Spirit, delighting in the fullness that God desires for each of us.
This excerpt is the introduction to the book "Living Water: The Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life," by Pastor Chuck Smith.
PART ONE: Who is the Holy Spirit? and the entire book is free to read in PDF here: