Are you Phasmophobic?


The thought of a ghost may make chills go up your spine or the hair on the back of your neck stand up. This fear is called phasmophobia. There are terrifying ghost stories in cultures all over the world. Even the Apostles were overcome by the thought that Jesus was a ghost when He came at night walking on the water. When I see how little the Holy Ghost is mentioned in Christian conversation today, I wonder if the Church has contracted a case of phasmophobia.

The King James Bible uses the term Holy Ghost to refer to the Spirit of God. For some people it conjures up spooky ideas of an ethereal floating mist that passes through walls and leaves cold spots in the atmosphere. Today we normally use the term Holy Spirit to avoid this misconception but by the way the Church deemphasizes Him, it would be easy to conclude that He still scares us. If we avoid the Holy Spirit, we will miss the very heart of Christianity on earth.

When John the Baptist announced the Lord Jesus, he stated that Jesus’ purpose was to baptize us with the Holy Spirit. Luke 3:16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. He was empowered and after a time of temptation, began to perform miracles. Luke 4:14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. It is interesting to note that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit but was empowered by the Holy Spirit when it descended upon Him at His baptism. Luke 1:35 The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 3:22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”


When Jesus was trying to tell His disciples about His approaching death on the cross, He said in John 16:7-15: “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. “ If Jesus thought it was more beneficial for the Holy Spirit to be sent to them than for Him to stay with them physically, our relationship with the Holy Spirit must be very important. Jesus told the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come upon them even though they had been living and training with Jesus for three and a half years. (Acts 1:4)

The Holy Spirit births the Church on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 empowering the disciples who have been in hiding since the crucifixion. The same Peter who was afraid to be identified by the servant girl as a follower of Jesus now boldly declares Jesus’ resurrection to the people who crucified Him. The result is the conversion of 3000 men. When Peter is sent by God to tell the gentiles the gospel, the sign that God accepted them is the Holy Spirit coming upon them. Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and declaring the greatness of God. Then Peter responded, 47 “Can anyone withhold water and prevent these people from being baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” When Phillip goes to Samaria and works miracles while preaching Jesus, causing them to believe and be baptized, the Apostles feel it is urgent to send Peter and John to lay hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:14 When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had welcomed God’s message, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 After they went down there, they prayed for them, so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit is essential to the life of the Church. These are just a few of many examples in the New Testament of the importance of the Holy Spirit.

We must place the same emphasis on the Holy Spirit that Jesus and the Apostles did. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit is our relationship with God. Jesus is on His throne at the right hand of the Father but He has sent the Holy Spirit to live in human temples, our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? Without The Holy Spirit, we are just another religion, a good philosophy or a spiritual concept. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that makes Christianity different. He should be at the forefront of Christian dialogue not relegated to back rooms of our churches and spoken about in whispers. The Holy Spirit is the driving force behind the new life.


*All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible



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