A power outage this weekend allowed me to finish the 2019 book “Jesus in Me” by Anne Graham Lotz. Anne is the daughter of Billy Graham and a gifted Bible teacher. In this book, she gave a biblical overview of the Holy Spirit along with His role within the trinity, God the Father; God the Holy Spirit; and the (preincarnate and incarnate) Son of God, Jesus Christ.
I’m calling this a biblical overview since Anne couldn’t very well write about every occurrence of the Holy Spirit in scripture. That would make this look more like a textbook. Her writing reminded me of the sermon style with touches of memoir that I’ve seen in the writings of popular ministers, like Max Lucado and Louie Giglio. She used tools to spark recall of information, like alliteration, allegory, and narrative. Her own walk with the Holy Spirit at times broke my heart. She talked about how the Holy Spirit — Jesus within her — has become both father and husband as she’s walked alone as a new widow and felt lost like an orphan.
She took away some assumptions we might have about the Holy Spirit, too. He’s a spirit. He’s not a dove, nor a flame. He’s not optional for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as savior. We received the Holy Spirit when we accepted Christ. And even though He’s living in our hearts, she said we sometimes treat Him like He’s only allowed in certain parts of our lives. It’s like inviting someone into your home, she said, but then closing off areas to that person. We don’t want that person peeking into the messes in our house.
If we give the Holy Spirit free range of our whole being though, He will examine our hearts and root out sin — that barrier in His way — and we will hear Him as we read scripture and pray. That’s how we can stay filled with the Holy Spirit, she said; however, she didn’t want to mislead anyone. The Holy Spirit became our seal – our deposit from God — when we were saved. Jesus paid our sin debt in full, and no one can take us away from the Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our owner/God.
Anne gave a beautiful illustration of how we should view the presence of the Holy Spirit. She likened Him to an engagement ring, not unlike her diamond in a Tiffany setting from husband Danny. Using Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s thoughts on Jewish betrothal, Anne wrote an allegory about a princess who fell in love with a prince. They became engaged, but then he left to prepare a home for them to live. The princess had an engagement ring, a pledge from him, to remind her of his promise.
Rabbi Cahn called the jewelry given out of love “the mattan.” The Holy Spirit within us is like the mattan. He works “to beautify us in the Son’s absence, while He also guarantees the Son’s faithfulness to us, His bride. The Holy Spirit is His pledge of commitment to us now and His pledge that one day He will return to take us to live with Him forever in the home that He is preparing” (201).
Along with this assurance of our salvation, the Holy Spirit uniquely gifts each believer with one or more gifts. Anne talked about what those gifts look like in us and in the church body as a whole to glorify God, minister to each other, and promote the Gospel message. (Readers will find more about these spiritual gifts at the end of the book.)
Anne dispelled the idea that we’ll be called to ministries where we feel most comfortable. She didn’t have formal training at a Bible college and didn’t feel comfortable speaking in front of people. The Holy Spirit led her to lead a Bible study of more than 500 women. She has spoken at conferences, written 17 books so far, and has been on televised interviews or has interviewed someone else. She would never have decided to do these things based on what she knew about herself, but the Holy Spirit called her into those public ministry opportunities. He equipped her to teach and lead others.
I am looking forward to using a few of the resources in the back, including these notes Anne shared on how to hear from the Spirit during personal Bible studies. She also shared a pamphlet on asking the Holy Spirit to search and reveal sin in her life. Doing so has helped her clear out the road blocks created by sin, which then leads to healing and a return to the communication flow between her and the Holy Spirit. And right now through Aug. 31, 2022, her site AnGeL Ministries has given free access for the summer to the “Jesus In Me” Bible study video sessions. For more information about this book, go here.