1) Long practiced in Christian history, is the first misunderstanding, the idea that if I am holy enough, spiritual enough, Godly enough, then the Spirit is my reward.
2) Another form/version of this is the Spirit as reward for praying enough, claiming enough, being worked up enough. Revival movements have often been based around this.
Both of these approaches are wrong, and within them we become preoccupied with ourselves, of how we can receive spirit, by earning Him, or making Him manifest. We can’t earn the Holy Spirit, he is a gift, as Peter reminds us at Pentecost.
To often we try to construct secret prayers, methods, and demands to receiving the Spirit, when the Spirit is a gift, who helps enables us to receive him in the first place.
3) A third misunderstanding is that the gift of the Spirit is a gift just for me. Maybe we don’t practice christian austerity, and holiness, and we don’t spend hours in prayers meetings. Rather our thoughts for the Spirit are for Him to intervene and be involved in the lives we are building on our own, safely away from others, and the world.
When my needs, my wants, my crises, my hopes, and my aspirations come to the fore, then we ask the Spirit to help us.
Yet the Holy Spirit is God’s gift for ourselves, but not by ourselves. I'll say that again, the Holy Spirit is God’s gift for ourselves, but not by ourselves.
At Pentecost the Spirit comes to others, for other with others, and experiences of the Spirit come mostly with 'others'. The holy spirit does respond to my needs, my wants, my crises, my hopes, my aspirations, me. But He does so in the context of living in the world, with God as my father, with brothers and sisters, and with Jesus as Lord.
Wind, Water & Fire
John 3:8 The Spirit is manifest like wind: 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
John 7:37-39 Spirit is like water, 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
And the Spirit is also like Fire, Matthew 3:11 I baptize you with[a] water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is a mysterious life energy, as water, wind, fire, that literally destroys one kind of life and gives birth to another.
A life of isolation from God, self and others, is destroyed as He enables us to live in the world as sons and daughters, with Jesus as our Lord, instead of responding to the endless demands of life, and other people.
Are we locked in a castle of tiredness, time poverty, limited resources, where we seek protection from ourselves and others? Would we like to enter into living our lives in the world, not alone, but with others, with God as our Father and Jesus as Lord?
That is something Jesus calls us to, for our identities and relationships, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
John 3:5-8: 5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You[c] must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."