How active is the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you living the abundant Christian life the Jesus promised to all his followers? I believe it all depends on how much access and freedom you give him to truly live a Spirit empowered life.
The case for the Spirit
The first question to ask is where is the Holy Spirit in the Bible and how involved is Him in the grand scheme of things.
In the Old Testament
We first find Him in the beginning as the source of life. He strives with men. He is the very manifestation of God. He has a special relationship with Israel; he guides and empowers men from all walks of life to do exploits for God.
In the New Testament
In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit’s role in the ministry of Jesus and in the Early Church is on full display. In fact, the Holy Spirit launched the public ministry of Jesus. As we read the gospels and particularly the Book of Acts, He is also involved in the lives and ministries of the disciples, empowering them for a fruitful life.
- He gives life; he proclaims the future; he dwells in Believers
- He teaches; he testifies about Jesus; he glorifies Jesus
- He convicts of sin; he is present in lives; he discloses what belongs to God
- He baptizes in the Spirit with enduement of power for life and service
Jump Start the Experience
The first step toward a Spirit empowered life is to come alive to God. Regeneration is the word that we use to refer to the process of coming alive to God. When we get born again, our spirit-man comes alive. Just like the scripture says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” At this time we have power to live like Jesus lived. We have power to pick up our cross and follow Him. We have spiritual power to endure suffering like Him. We have power to live a life of joy and peace.
Experience the Release
When we talk about the second step toward a Spirit empowered life, “it is important to stress that the Holy Spirit is not external to a believer not yet baptized in the Spirit. The Spirit works internally in a repentant and believing person to effect the new birth; He does not then leave, to come back at the time of the in filling. Spirit-baptism is an overwhelming experience of the already indwelling Spirit; it’s called by some a “release” of the Spirit.”
The most distinguishing features of the baptism in the Holy Spirit are as follows:
- The first is “theologically and experientially distinguishable from and subsequent to the new birth”
- The second is usually followed by speaking in tongues
- And the third is “distinct in purpose from the Spirit’s work of regenerating the heart and life of a repentant sinner.”
Experience the flames
Paul writes, “But when one turns to the Lord, He removes the veil. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are change into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
For Paul, the goal of the Christian life is transformation into the image of Christ. This transformation only comes by the Holy Spirit, as we continue to spend time with the Lord beholding his glory. The word behold means a careful study, not a casual look. As we look for him on the pages of His book; spend time at his feet in prayer; practice the Lord’s presence; fan into flames the gifts of God and keep in step with the Holy Spirit – we are changed from one degree of glory to another.
Here is how:
- We turn to the Lord
- He removes the veil
- We continue to Gaze intently upon his glory
- He releases a greater measure of his Spirit and his freedom
- We enjoy this Freedom
- And we never forget where it comes from – “the Lord who is the Spirit.”
I’m convinced that God is calling us from a life of independence to complete reliance on him. I can do nothing in my strength. I can’t pray adequately, but the “Spirit himself intercedes for me in my weakness.” I don’t have the power to witness, but “I receive power when the Spirit comes upon me.” I can’t live holy in my strength, but if I “keep in step with the Spirit, I won’t gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Every child of God must diligently seek and expect the Holy Spirit’s power to help him/her bear spiritual fruit, cultivate spiritual gifts and enduement of power for a life of service in the kingdom of God. If we open our lives to the Spirit – He will give life to our mortal bodies – and that is what we need to live this Christian life.
As I draw to a close, I urge you to take these words as encouragement to drive you to your knees and ask the Lord for more of His power, instead of engaging in a theological debate. You would agree that, no matter what your theological persuasion is – we all desperately need the Holy Spirit. With that, stay blessed and have a great day!
Resource: Position Papers
Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 61; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ezekiel 36:25–27 and Joel 2:28,29; Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32