Weather permitting, early each morning that I am home, I walk and run for about two and a half miles. This has been my routine for over thirty years. As I grow older, I also grow more grateful for the physical ability to maintain this exercise. I have been consistent and committed to it, not just for the physical benefits but also because it is a stress reliever. The burdens of the day seem to be placed on hold for the thirty or forty minutes it takes to complete my route.
Over the years I have had multiple walking partners who have either moved on to other forms of exercise or dropped exercising altogether. The friend who walks with me now from time to time is a delight. While walking, we engage in energetic discussions, solve world problems, share insights into Scripture, and often end by praying for each other. Her companionship has made me aware of an interesting facet of my routine. When she walks with me, the journey does not seem nearly as long or arduous as when I walk alone. With her beside me, I seem to have more joy, more energy—and the time seems to fly by. Somehow, her presence makes my walk easier.
On the other hand, when I walk by myself, the routine seems harder, longer. My hamstrings seem tighter and unwilling to stretch for long strides. My knees ache when I pick up my pace for a jog. My breath seems more labored and shallow. My mind shifts into neutral. I find myself just trying to make it to the next bend in the trail, to the next familiar tree, to the third bridge that marks the ascent to the parking lot, to my waiting car on which I lean as I work through final stretches.
While the direction, pace, and length of the routine are the same whether I walk alone or with someone, a good companion makes a distinct difference in my overall enjoyment and well-being.
Which brings me to the walk of life. Living day after day, week after week, year after year requires effort, energy, commitment, focus, thought.
To be perfectly honest, I’m old enough to know that the path of life leads through emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual aches and pains. Some are irritating. Some disruptive. Some much more serious and even life threatening. At times I have found myself just trying to make it through this day. This month. This year. “If I can just make it to Easter break.” “If I can just get to the beach for our vacation.” “If I can just hang on until Christmas.” There are times when I have fulfilled a commitment just to check it off my list and get on to the next thing so that I can get on to the next thing. The walk itself becomes a burden. Drudgery.
What I have needed is a walking partner. For life. Someone who would come alongside me and share every step of my journey, day in and day out. Someone in whom I could confide. Someone with whom I could discuss issues that are on my mind. Someone who would answer my questions. Help me with decisions. Listen to my complaints, my fears, my worries, my dreams. Someone I could trust. Believe. Enjoy. Someone whose very presence would bring joy. And peace. And hope. Someone who would know me. Who would understand me. Someone who would love me!
Where have I found such a walking partner? Amazingly, as a child of God, I didn’t have to look around for one. I just needed to look within. Because God has given me the ultimate walking partner for life: His Spirit. And not just for life, but forever!
In this study I will not attempt a full, in-depth treatise on the Holy Spirit, nor will I explore all the ways He is understood or misunderstood, abused or used, sensationalized or normalized, neglected or prioritized. I will seek to share with you what I have experienced personally about this incredible divine Companion. While I do not claim that I can even begin to know all there is to know about Him, I am learning to enjoy and trust Him more and more. If anything, the more my knowledge of the Holy Spirit grows, the more I learn I still have a lot to learn! One thing I know for certain: He is not an optional extra in my Christian life. He is a divine necessity.
The indispensable necessity of the Holy Spirit has never been more evident in my life than during the writing of this study. My ninety-nine-year-old father, whom I adored, went to heaven. I was already a widow, and his homegoing left me an orphan. Six months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, went through follow-up surgery, then began the brutal chemotherapy treatments. Through the ups and downs, the tears and joy, the grief and comfort, I have experienced the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit.
I have learned day in and day out that the Holy Spirit is all that Jesus is, though without His physical body. He is Jesus without skin. Just as Jesus is the exact representation of God the Father, the Spirit is the exact representation of Jesus’s mind, will, and emotions. He is the invisible Jesus. The Holy Spirit is…Jesus in me!
Are you interested in learning more about the person of the Holy Spirit? To experience his constant companionship? Join Anne in the 8-session Bible study Jesus in Me!
Called “the best preacher in the family” by her late father, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz speaks around the globe with the wisdom and authority of years spent studying God’s Word. The New York Times named Anne one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation. Her Just Give Me Jesus revivals have been held in more than 30 cities in 12 different countries to hundreds of thousands of attendees. Anne is a best-selling and award-winning author of 18 books. She is the President of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, North Carolina, and she served as Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force from 2016-2017. Whether a delegate to Davos’s Economic Forum, a commentator to the Washington Post, or a groundbreaking speaker on platforms throughout the world, Anne’s aim is clear–to bring revival to the hearts of God’s people. And her message is consistent–calling people into a personal relationship with God through His Word.