The Holy Spirit: His Miraculous Effect

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So today, I want to address the miraculous effects of the Holy Spirit. This is because many believers get overly fixated on these effects and thus miss the cause behind them.

With this, let's turn to one very popular text about the pouring out of the Spirit. It's Joel's prophecy, found twice in the Bible. Joel first speaks it in the Old Testament and then it's spoken by Peter on the Day of Pentecost in the New Testament. Here's the text in Joel 2 and Acts 2:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. — Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18

Every time I read this text, I am drawn in by the effects of the Spirit. Words like "pour out, prophesying, dreams, and visions" command my attention. But I want to make two clarifications about these words.

Clarification one: There is a new way the Spirit is being poured out, but it's not a new Spirit. There is not a different Spirit in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. There is only one. He is the same Spirit. But there is a subtle difference. The difference is in the continuing presence of his effects. In the Old Testament, we will read about moments when the Spirit came upon followers like David, Samson, and Joshua. The Spirit rushed on them and gave them ability, strength, knowledge, and wisdom. But in the New Testament, as God promised through Joel and as we see in Peter, the Spirit would be sent to us, be with us, and be poured out on us a way he had not been before — onto all flesh — including believing men, women, sons, and daughters.

Clarification two: These effects (i.e., prophesying, dreams, and visions) are the effect of a cause. They are effects of the Spirit. Thus, they are the effect of God doing something to us, with us, and in us. They occur because the Law of God has moved from external to internal. Listen to another prophecy spoken by Jeremiah in the Old Testament and then repeated by Paul in the New Testament. Here's the text in Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. — Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10

This prophecy is another parallel promise, and we live in this time. God has moved the Law from tablets of stone to tablets of flesh. The Law is now written on our minds and hearts by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And because it is, it will manifest the effect of the Spirit at times in things like prophesying, dreams, and visions that reinforce the Spirit's working. Many believers fail to understand this and see this in their lives. If they did, we should see more, not less, of the effects foretold by Joel and Jeremiah, as well as preached about by Peter and Paul.

But do you? Do you see that today?

So now that I have presented this question, I want to be careful. Here's why. It's easy to become overly desirous of only the effect of the Spirit. One where we desire the ability to prophesy, dream, and see visions. But these effects are not the goal. They are the effects, which means they are the outcome of another cause. They are the effect of the Spirit acting on the believer's heart and mind. The cause is the Causer we call the Spirit, and when he works in, on, and through a believer, these effects are natural outcomes.

Take Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8. Simon started well and walked away from sorcery, hearing the gospel and being baptized. But when Peter and John show up to impart the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Simon wants that power for himself. He's drawn in by the effect, missing the cause — The Spirit himself. Thus, they reprimand him for this because he was after the gift or not the Giver. Just like in the time of Jesus, people wanted the show, not the Savior.

So, yes, we should see an effect of the Spirit in our lives, but we shouldn't pursue the effect of the Spirit but rather the Spirit himself. The cause is the Spirit, and the goal is intimacy with God, Jesus, and the Spirit. The effects are just effects; they are his to work through us for his purposes, not ours.

If you want to know and even see these effects, try this with consistency. Read God's Word, which is the only truth, and invite God to activate the Holy Spirit in you. When reading, pay attention when God's truth and the Spirit teach, convict, prompt, and purify you. Then immediately activate holy action, and speak about it quickly while you do. Tell believers and non-believers alike. Share the good news, and sometimes I bet to someone it will sound a lot like prophesy, dreams, and visions. And let's pour out the Spirit that has been poured out to us.


  1. Are you more focused on the miraculous effects of the Holy Spirit in your life rather than the Spirit Himself? How can you shift your focus back to seeking intimacy with God?
  2. How are you actively inviting the Holy Spirit to teach, convict, prompt, and purify you through God's Word? What steps can you take to make this a consistent practice?

DO THIS: Read the Word, listen for the Spirit's conviction, activate holy action, and let the Holy Spirit have an effect through you.

PRAY THIS: Lord, help me to seek not just the gifts but the Giver, drawing near to You and Your Spirit. Equip me with a heart sensitive to Your leading so that I may recognize and act on Your prompts. May my life be a testament to the work You've done in me for Your glory and not my own. Amen.

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22 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit: His Miraculous Effect

  1. Eddie Ackerman says:

    To quote Mel Brooks from the kids movie “Robots”, “See a need, fill a need” is the easiest way to get into the servant mentality. And we are ALL called to be His servants and ambassadors, so we should see the needs around us and fill those needs as we are able and to others it will look like “signs and wonders”, but we know it is just us being the hands and feet of Jesus’ ongoing ministry THROUGH us.

  2. Sean Dahlquist says:

    Wow, really good!! It’s so easy to seek the gifts and fruits and not just truly seek the relationship! After reading this it made me realize that I might subconsciously veer more towards pray the effects and not the actual relationship and letting the gifts come to fruition on their own.

    Sean Dahlquist
    Bradenton, Florida

  3. Mark Becker says:

    Worland WY

    The Holy Spirit is indeed still working in and through us to “DO” miraculous things.
    It’s sad that as Simon, some bring out the “SHOW “ and are false believers.
    That makes believers and nonbelievers alike more skeptical about those “GIFTS “
    We have to keep our faith strong and use what the Holy Spirit truly gives us instead of embellishing something that isn’t there.
    Thank you Vince🙌🙌

  4. Mark says:

    I find that especially in charismatic movement particularly prosperity gospel there is tremendous abuse here. Using the pretense of the Holy spirit to “slay” (not in the Bible) then to make predictions of the future in the name of God which 99% are false prophecies and are used to make themselves rich off the backs of the congregants. Word of knowledge, healings and the like are almost always phony and for show. YES God does heal but no one today has the gift of healing. Gift means you can use at any time , and anywhere isn’t it funny they only use it in the services flashy displays of stupidity. Also speak in toungues claiming they are speaking a heavenly language bs. No interpretation just rambling nonsense causing confusion and dis order. Prophecy also means to preach the word (speak forth) 9 times out of ten they have visions and dreams to add to scripture which is totally contrary to the written word. They make Christianity a laughing stock and those guys, almost all of them, are just like fake, phony hustlers used car salesman. Makes me sick

    • Vince Miller says:

      Mark, I don’t disagree with some of what you have said here. There are abuses of these gifts that people use for personal means. But this is also true of teaching, hospitality, etc… Carry your logic out, and you will find it true. So the issue you present is not a problem with only 3-4 gifts. It is a problem with all gifts. And maybe because you have the gift of discernment? But this does not disqualify the fact the gifts are mentioned in the Bible, were given in the Bible to all believers, and exist. This is worth a teaching in this series. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Chuck says:

    These studies have been very insightful and helpful. In my life the timing must have been planned by God as a group of guys and myself just finished a study by Dr. Charles Stanley, entitled Relaying on the Holy Spirit. It left me wondering, if Romans 3:11 and Ephesians 1:17-20 are true, why do I/we not see this power more often in our lives. Your studies are helping me to dig deeper and more understand the why and what I need to do to see that POWER.

  6. Bill Adams says:

    Bill Adams from Bemidji, Mn
    Spot on Vince. I am hungry and thirsty for Holy Spirit. I have 1 desire and that is to bring joy to The Trinity. What He performs through me is just a by-product of His love pouring out of me. I pray for the outpouring to be evident in all mankind.

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