“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4,5).

I was raised in a family where my parents were both deaf-mutes (they could not speak or hear). They communicated with each other and other deaf-mutes by using their hands to indicate letters and words. This is known as American Sign Language, or ASL. Since I was the firstborn child, I naturally learned to communicate using this form of sign language before I even learned to speak.

In a sense, my vocal abilities and hearing abilities were useless in trying to communicate with my parents. In the same way, their signing abilities would have been useless in trying to communicate with a non-signing person. The problem was not a lack of communication, but an inability to discern or understand the correct mode of communication.

In the same way, we often try to use the wrong senses to communicate with God. We try to use our natural senses to communicate with God who is Spirit (John 4:24). Yet He has given us supernatural or spiritual abilities to communicate with Him.

COMMUNICATION AND FELLOWSHIP

In order to understand the operation of the Holy Spirit, it is essential to understand how communication takes place between the Holy Spirit and an individual. But before we can effectively study that topic, we need to agree that God can and does communicate with us and that we are able to communicate with God.

The Bible gives us many accounts of communication between God and mankind. In the Garden of Eden, God communed with Adam and Eve directly (Gen 2:16,17). Their communication was personal and open. Tragically, as a result of their disobedience and rebellion, that open personal communication was broken (Gen 3:8-24).

Now which of us has not experienced in our personal life a break in relationship that also produced a corresponding break in communication? Have you ever been so upset with someone that you then found it difficult to communicate with them, especially in a loving manner?

The consequence of Adam and Eve eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was death (Gen 2:16,17). The death was more than just eventually a physical death; the death was also a spiritual death, where the open communication and fellowship with God was broken.

From that time until the time of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, the Holy Spirit communicated with man through messengers. These were messengers such as angels and prophets; but also, at times, the Holy Spirit communicated directly. The Holy Spirit would be “upon” or “with” an individual for a season of time (Num 11:16-29; Judges 3:10, 6:34; 1Sam 16:13; 2Chron 24:20).

As New Testament believers, we understand that the Holy Spirit now lives within the individual. (As a side note, this may explain the infrequency of angels and the use of the office of the prophet in New Testament writings.)