Anne Graham Lotz talks about the inspiration behind her new book Jesus in Me.
The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most misunderstood and overlooked person of the Trinity, often portrayed as a supernatural genie that we rub by faith in order to produce signs and wonders. Some feel somewhat intimidated by him as though they are not spiritual enough to interact with him, while others have no opinion whatsoever because they seem to think he is unnecessary… sort of like an optional extra in the Christian life. But Anne Graham Lotz says that as children of God we have the Holy Spirit in us and we can know him. In Jesus in Me, Anne explores the personal and practical implications of seven aspects of the Holy Spirit, weaving together biblical teaching and personal testimony so that we can know him as our constant companion.
What called you to focus on the Holy Spirit in your book?
God put the writing of Jesus in Me on my heart at a time when I was learning to live as a widow and needed to focus on the One who is my constant companion. I’m so glad he did because during the writing process, my father moved to heaven. Six months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Through all these traumatic life events, my peace, joy, and hope never wavered. One reason my faith triumphed amid such a challenging season was that writing the book helped me stay focused on Jesus, who is in me.
Is there an attribute of the Holy Spirit that particularly resonates with you?
Like a brilliant, beautifully cut gem, there are many facets to the Holy Spirit. Each one is beautiful. The facet that was almost a surprising discovery to me is that the Holy Spirit loves me. I had thought he was assigned to me by God the Father, sort of like a spiritual, invisible professional partner in the Christian life. What I discovered is that he lives within me and is devoted to me – that he is emotionally involved in my life, grieving when I do the wrong thing and rejoicing when I do the right thing.
You use passages of personal and often painful testimony in Jesus in Me, how have you found it to relive these events?
The reliving was very difficult, but also part of the healing process. As I wrote of those experiences, I was able to focus on the Holy Spirit’s presence and help during each one. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘see’ or ‘feel’ him when a crisis hits, but as I look back in retrospect, I realise he has been there in each moment and has brought me through, not just somehow, but triumphantly.
The guidance the Holy Spirit offers you is evident through your writing; are there any specific times when you have felt his presence with you?
This is an interesting question and touches on something worth noting: I live by faith, not by feelings. Though at times I have ‘felt’ alone, I know from Hebrews 13:5 that I am not alone and never will be. The Holy Spirit is always present with me. I am continually growing in my faith, which means sometimes I must discard or overlook my feelings. But I also know that his presence seems almost tangible at moments of highest joy, or deepest pain, or crushing grief.
What was the most important lesson you learned from writing this book?
Towards the end of the book, I write about the overall purpose given to each follower of Jesus, which is to glorify God. Then I consider the life goals that we set in order to achieve that purpose, and how those goals are accomplished as we set our daily priorities. While it may be a simple formula, it has helped me examine the way I spend my time, especially during this season of life when I’ve been battling health issues and other challenges. Am I being true to my life’s purpose? And if so, what goals have I set for the coming year in order to achieve them? Are my daily priorities in line with fulfilling those goals? I do not want to waste my life, and therefore I want to be intentional about the way I live each day. To maintain that intentionality, I need the Holy Spirit.
Whether someone is new to faith or has been a believer for years, what do you think is the most crucial thing Christians should know about the Holy Spirit?
We need to know that the Holy Spirit is Jesus in me. He is a distinct, living person – all that Jesus is without his physical body. Jesus referred to him in John 14:16 as ‘another counsellor’. In other words, Jesus is a counsellor, and God the Father would give us another counsellor. In this case the Greek word for ‘another’ means someone exactly the same as himself.
What lasting impact do you hope Jesus in Me will have on the reader?
My prayer is that God will use this book to help spark a spiritual awakening in the hearts of the readers and that they will love and rely on the Holy Spirit more while embracing his priority which is the Word of God, both written and living.
Jesus in Me is published by Authentic Media.