The word used to describe the Holy Spirit in biblical Greek is the word paraclete, which means advocate—one who pleads a client’s case before a court. The Spirit is our supernatural Counselor. When we become Christians the Spirit of God comes to live in us. When he does, he begins to communicate with us so we learn to understand the “voice” of God. Typically that voice is understood as a sense of direction or a strong conviction that we ought to act in this way or not this way. It’s not so much a question of the Spirit saying “do this,” or “do that.” It’s much more a recognition that our whole lives need to change in such-and-such a way. We test those feelings, those impulses, and those compulsions against wise counsel and against Scripture.

When we know his will and act accordingly, the Spirit’s action in our lives produces positive results known as the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23). The Bible defines the Fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. Because Jesus said “you will know a tree by its fruit” we can test ourselves, based on our behaviors, to determine whether we’re growing in godliness. We must learn to adjudicate our behavior based on these fruits, striving for lives of virtue and good character in response to God’s movement within us.

Adapted from Why God Died