Empowered by the Spirit

In the last few posts, I have been writing about the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is not just some impersonal “energy” source or “life force.”  He is a Person; and He is God.  The Holy Spirit wants us to know Him and grow in intimacy with Him.

The Holy Spirit is also the One who empowers us to walk out the Christian life and to fulfill our God-given destiny.  When God gives us a command, He also gives us the grace to obey it.  When God gives us a commission, He also empowers us to fulfill it.  And it is the Holy Spirit who gives us this power.

The disciples were called by Jesus to follow Him.  They walked with Him for three years and watched Him teach and minister.  They witnessed His crucifixion and resurrection, and then they were given their commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
-Matthew 28:19-20

They knew the message that they were to preach and they knew what their call was.  But there was one more thing that was needed:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
-Acts 1:4-5

Even though they had been given the commission, they still needed to wait to be filled with the power of the Spirit before they attempted to go out and fulfill what Jesus had commanded them.  The Bible says that they waited in Jerusalem, constantly praying together and waiting for this promised empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  After waiting ten days, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured upon them and they were filled with supernatural “power from on high.”  The church was now born, and began to expand rapidly in the midst of terrible persecution and opposition.

What if they had tried to fulfill the mission without the power of the Holy Spirit?  What if after nine days of waiting they decided they had waited long enough and were ready to go out and take the gospel to the nations?  More importantly, what if we are operating in the Christian life and ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit that the early church had?

Sadly, the manifest presence and power of the Holy Spirit is absent in much of our church experience.  Maybe we need to get back to the basics of waiting on the Lord in prayer and crying out to Him for a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Having the Holy Spirit live inside of you is one thing; having Him fill you with supernatural power is another.  The early church was filled continuously with the Holy Spirit.  For instance, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit three times in the first four chapters of Acts.  We need to be filled with the Spirit again and again!

God is willing to empower us by His Spirit to walk out the Christian life.  He wants to empower us to walk in victory over sin and temptation, to have boldness to be His witnesses, and to walk in miraculous power to heal the sick and set the captive free.  Let us relentlessly and actively pursue being filled with God’s Spirit.  Let us not settle for a powerless Christianity.  Let us wait upon Him until we are “clothed with power from on high!”

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