Explaining the Holy Spirit to Kids.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit lately on the internet in the aftermath of the Strange Fire conference, and I think that generally speaking, we are confused or vague about what the Holy Spirit does in our lives.

In my experience, those with legalistic tendencies, us “rule followers” struggle with walking with the Spirit. It’s easier to feel smug with a set of rules. {Don’t settle for this! Seriously, walk in the Spirit!}

I’m no theologian, for sure, and the thoughts of explaining God is overwhelming and frightening because we may underestimate or limit Him, but I’ll tell you what I tell my kids.

The Holy Spirit is just like Jesus, but without skin, who lives inside of us. When Jesus promised his followers “I will send you another Comforter,” what He was saying was this:”I am sending you One of exactly the same essence as Me.”


That’s why people say “Christ lives in me.”

The Holy Spirit is on the same page as Jesus and has the same goals for me.

The Holy Spirit is holy and it’s His job to make me holy. He prompts me to obey God’s Word as I read daily.

Although He is called the Comforter, sometimes His presence is extremely uncomfortable because I have sin in my life.

The Holy Spirit nudges my heart when I’ve done something sinful, whether it’s a sinful attitude, unkind word, a jealous heart, a lie, a half-lie, whatever. He tells me it was wrong. He urges me to make it right.

For instance, when I am impatient and snap at one of my kids, I’ll have a “bad feeling”. Anyone would for a moment. But the Holy Spirit brings it to the next level, the heart level, the holy level. As I read God’s word and go throughout my day, He’ll try to convict and convince me gently until I become pliable. Things like

  • Does that passage describe you this morning? Patient, kind, tenderhearted?
  • Did that really need to be said? Is that what Jesus would have said?
  • Why don’t you confess your sins? Why make excuses? You can be forgiven! Why are you resisting?
  • Did you wrong another soul? Make that right. Are you too proud? Why do you keep putting it out of your mind when I keep reminding you?

The Holy Spirit reminds you, when you’ve treated someone wrong and owe them an apology. {You know whether you’ve been destructive or constructive}. Every time you see them and even at home, you’ll live with the burden of unconfessed sin and unrestored relationship until you agree with God, make it right and ask them for forgiveness.

Asking forgiveness frees you from your own selfish worldview. It takes you from the “I’m too good” category and put you back where you belong in the “I need grace because I have no goodness on my own” category. When we won’t ask forgiveness when we’ve wronged someone, we’re proud. When we repent, humble ourselves, God rushes in with amazing grace. 

When I’ve had a lousy attitude towards Peter or my kids and decided it was no big deal, that it was “just life” in a large household, and try to dismiss it assuming they’ll get over it,

if I’m sensitive and spiritual, the Holy Spirit will nudge me, to the point that I couldn’t sleep until I’ve made it right. {I’ve had many “bedtime” apologies over here. You?}

The scariest place you can be in your spiritual life is to have a silent Holy Spirit. This means that you’ve ignored him for so long you can’t hear His promptings anymore.  He’s not going to force you to walk in the Spirit. He allows you a free will.

The longer I ignore His promptings,

the further I get away from God,

The less I read my Bible,

The longer I hold on to my sin and refuse to repent of it and make it right with the person I’ve sinned against,

  • The more entrapped I’ll become in my sin {sin is deceitful}
  • The more discouraged or depressed I’ll be emotionally {sin brings misery}
  • The harder my heart becomes towards God and others {sin destroys relationships}
  • The more delusional I become about my real problems {sin leads us to blame others for our own sin}

But when I read God’s word, and ask the Holy Spirit to put me on the right path by showing me where I’ve gone astray,

He will,

but it may not be comfortable,

and I will have to drop all delusions of my own goodness,

and I will have to agree with Him that repentance is key to spiritual growth and freedom in Christ,

and I’ll have to hold with both hands to the mercy of God and His grace and claim it again for myself.


because I love Him and esteem Him properly,

I’ll have clear vision, to walk as He’d direct.

I’ll be aware as He prompts me, sensitive to His leading, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, aware, listening, responsive, obedient.

And I’ll benefit from His other ministries to me: comfort, encouragement, wisdom and guidance as I keep in step with Him.

That’s walking by faith and in the Spirit.


What about you? Has the Holy Spirit been prompting you? Is He urging you to put off some sinful habit in your life? To curb that harsh tongue? To control your emotional eating? To stop gossiping? To really embrace and love your church family rather than criticize them at every turn? To stop complaining? To admit your discontent? To drop your envy and really love and rejoice with others who have what you want? To witness to that unbelieving neighbor? To love and serve that unloving person? Whatever it is, listen and do it! You CAN do all things, even this, through Christ who strengthens you. 

1 thought on “Explaining the Holy Spirit to Kids.”

  • This is great, Sarah. What a wonderful way to explain the Holy Spirit to your kids. Who knew Pneumatology could be stated so simply?

    I recently heard a sermon where the struggle against sin was cited as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. He said that when he was pre-Christian he’d spend all kinds of time trying to figure out how to get away with things he now knows are sinful, but after Christ he now spends time thinking about how to avoid those things he knows are trouble spots for him. It seems like a great example of the ministry of the Spirit.

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