One of the most overused phrases in the country is “game changer.” We get bombarded with it in the news, around the office, and of course in places where the term was first coined in the early 90s — sporting events. It’s been voted as one of the most overused phrases multiple years running, and turns up more than 50 million hits on Google. As defined by Merriam-Webster, the phrase means, “A newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.” As a writer, I would do almost anything to avoid using such a tired cliche, but when it comes to talking about the permanent arrival of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of believers everywhere, use of the phrase couldn’t be more appropriate. The gift of the Holy Spirit after the resurrection of Jesus was nothing short of being the ultimate game changer. The King of kings sat down on the throne of the human heart and the earth would never be the same. It was the game changer to end ALL game changers if you ask me.
Up until the time of Pentecost, which was the day of the Holy Spirit’s entrance described in Acts 2:1-13
, God’s faithful followers received visits from the Holy Spirit, but He did not take up permanent residence in anyone. Even the most heralded Old Testament heroes like Moses, David, or Isaiah who frequently had conversations with God didn’t have the constant presence of — and continual guidance from — the Spirit of God. When Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:26
, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you,” they caught a glimpse of how game-changing it would be to have the Holy Spirit’s presence. In John 16:7
Jesus made an even bolder promise: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” They had been walking with Jesus for three years and had experienced the most miraculous and stunning events in history, so if the Helper Jesus was planning to send was to the disciples’ advantage
, then I’m sure they grasped the magnitude of the Holy Spirit’s coming.
For you and me, the Holy Spirit arrives for permanent residence in our hearts the moment we place our faith and trust in Jesus. Ephesians 1:13-14
from The Passion Translation puts it this way: “And because of him, when you who are not Jews heard the revelation of truth, you believed in the wonderful news of salvation. Now we have been stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. He is given to us like an engagement ring is given to a bride, as the first installment of what’s coming! He is our hope-promise of a future inheritance which seals us until we have all of redemption’s promises and experience complete freedom—all for the supreme glory and honor of God!” I love the comparison of the Holy Spirit to an engagement ring. A bride-to-be has a constant reminder of her betrothed’s love for her wherever she goes and for all to see. The precious gift is a sign of unbreakable covenant of love and a lifetime of being cared for. When we enter into a commitment with Jesus, He gives us His unbreakable promise and presence forever. Through the gift of the Spirit, we are able to experience the same miraculous living the disciples experienced, and it’s the reason Paul could say in Philippians 4:13
, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
The Holy Spirit has been the ultimate game changer since He hovered over the waters of the deep at the time of creation (Genesis 1:1-2
) and He will continue to be through the lives of believers until Jesus comes to take us home forever (Revelation 22:17
). He was at the beginning and He will continue beyond earth’s end. And despite our failings, frailties, and flaws, He will abide with us forever and ever. Amen!