Have you ever felt that your non-Christian friends and family members just don’t seem to listen to what you have to say, that they brush you off the moment the topic of Christ comes up? Some of us might even think back to our conversations with them and say to ourselves, “If only I had said…” But is it really in our power to change their hearts and convict them of their sins?

From a very young age I was always taught that I had to memorize Scripture. As a little girl, it was my favorite part of Sunday school, because it generally meant that we would be rewarded with sweets or the promise of an outing if we could “parrot” away all the verses that we were required to; but we were never really taught why we had to do this, and I doubt any of us actually understood half of them; all we had was a vague idea that we should be using them in some way.

As I have grown older and matured in my faith, I have come to realize two things. Firstly, although it was man that wrote the Bible, ultimately it is God who was the author. He has given us a way of gaining access to Him in a world that sometimes seems void of His presence. Secondly, if Scripture is like a key hole in the door that sin has put up between us and Him, then the Holy Spirit is the key. We need to spend time in Scripture in order to learn more about God and in order to give us the knowledge in how to ultimately become more Christ-like, we may even memorize sections of Scripture in order to be able to accurately refer to them later for several purposes, but ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that brings understanding to us and allows us to grow. Without the Holy Spirit, it does not matter how many verses we memorize, or how well we prepare our arguments for Christ – we will fail.

Luke 12:11-12 states: “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you that very hour what you ought to say.” (ESV) 

In a sense, the Holy Spirit is our teacher, bringing us understanding and remembrance. We, as meagre humans, can do nothing about spiritual affairs without its assistance and clarity – this is true for both Christians and unbelievers. The only way in which any of us can repent is if our sins are shown to us, if we are convicted by our teacher, the Holy Spirit; thus, without it, we would all ultimately be doomed. That is what we should remember as we go out into the world to do Christ’s work.

God is, among many other things, a teacher. The Holy Spirit not only gives us understanding of God’s word, but also brings it to remembrance at relevant times, allowing us to carry out God’s work. But first and foremost, it opens up our hearts by educating us in our wrongdoings, and doing the same for those whom we are trying to reason with. As we live our lives, in all things, we should first seek it out.

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