2 Important Reasons You Need the Power of the Holy Spirit
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I’ve sent up more than a few frantic, “help!” prayers in my lifetime. There have been times when I just didn’t know what to say how to pray. There have also been times when I’ve prayed those quick prayers and experienced what I can only describe as a supernatural power shortly afterwards. My faith has been strengthened from these events and I want to give full credit to where that power came from: the Holy Spirit.
One example is the time I stood in a college registrar’s office trying to hold back tears as I argued my case for why I should be allowed to start school in the next week.
Long story, short, the college was missing some paperwork from my high school. The high school’s office was closed for the summer and nobody would be there to get the needed papers to the college before the semester started.
There was no backup plan. I was financially independent, living in a new town far from home, I’d spent every last penny just to be there, and I was depending on a job that was contingent upon me being a student. I was trying not to panic.
I thought I was sure that God had directed my steps to this school. But those plans seemed to be crashing down around me- all because of one missing transcript. I knew I had requested that paperwork months ago. But now it was missing.
I could tell the lady at the desk was tired of me standing there. She wasn’t interested in helping me. That’s when I sent up one of those “help!” prayers. And that’s when I heard myself say the words that I hadn’t even thought of come out of my mouth,
“Can you please see if my name was misspelled? Can you check if it was filed somewhere else?”
I offered an alternate spelling of my name (even though nobody had ever spelled my name this way before). The lady rolled her eyes, made a big huff, and walked over to another cabinet to look.
Less than a minute later, she found the required paper, filed in the wrong spot, and the problem was resolved.
The lady in the registrar’s office seemed as shocked as I was. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that those words came out of my mouth seconds after I prayed that prayer. It hadn’t been an eloquent prayer but it did the job. I couldn’t deny that something powerful had just happened.
I thanked God and marveled at his goodness that day. I can now look back on that moment as life defining- not just because I got to go to school but also because it built up my faith in a powerful way.
The Holy Spirit empowers. Let’s get one thing out of the way, first. Whether you’re a believer, or not, the fact of the matter is you’re already dependent on his power- because it’s the Holy Spirit who gives life. Mentioned right at the beginning of the Bible in, we can find Ruah Elohim in the creation story,
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV)
Ruah Elohim is a Hebrew phrase meaning Spirit of God. Ruah means breath, wind, spirit. This phrase is found in the original translation of Genesis 1:2. The words then go on to describe how God gave life to all living creatures.
The Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, is the giver and sustainer of all life.
“then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7 (ESV)
When I contemplate this truth, I feel nothing but wonder and awe at God’s greatness- and I feel the heavy reality of how sacred life really is. The breath of life, in us, comes from the Holy Spirit.
Job makes it plain how dependent we are on the Holy Spirit,
“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” Job 34:14-15
Do you feel humbled? I do!
The gift of life is a beautiful thing but the Holy Spirit’s power doesn’t stop there. We weren’t created and then abandoned. The Holy Spirit is present and with us, right now.
The work that the Holy Spirit has done, and is still doing today, is vast. We’re going to spend a few weeks on this topic. But today, I want to narrow in on the ways that the Holy Spirit gives us power (and why we need it).
The first way that the Holy Spirit gives power, of course, is through life itself. The second way that he gives power is for special service.
The Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments, is full of true stories that detail how the Spirit of the Lord frequently comes upon people so that they could be used by God to fulfill his purposes.
Here are a few examples (Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem):
· Joshua was empowered with leadership skills and wisdom (Num. 27:18)
· Bezalel was given special artistic skills for the construction of the tabernacle (EX. 31:3)
· Prophets such as Isaiah and Daniel all prophesied under the power of the Holy Spirit
· Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit at his baptism and his subsequent miracles fill the pages of the gospels. (Matt 3:16, John 1:32, John 3:34-35)
· The disciples and the early Christians worked miracles and had great power when they proclaimed the Word (1 Cor 2:24, Acts 4:8)
The work of the Holy Spirit is still happening today.
As Christians, and as the Church, we are utterly dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit. If we want to do great things for God, it is not through our own strength that we accomplish anything worthy of Christ. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit, in us, that makes us different. I like the way Francis Chan says it,
“The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”
― Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit empowers Christians for service in many ways such as giving spiritual gifts to equip them for ministry (1 Cor. 12:11). He makes our prayers effective, he makes the scriptures come alive and he speak to our hearts. He empowers us to overcome spiritual opposition to the preaching of the gospel and to God’s work in people’s lives. The Spirit of God also gives us discernment in situations of spiritual conflict against forces of darkness.
Holy Spirit, we need you!
I’ve shared two important reasons explaining why we need the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives today. Next week, Melanie will be sharing how the Holy Spirit works by revealing truths to us. I hope you’ll join us!
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being the sustainer of all life, thank you for your power, and thank you for the work that you’re doing in our lives. We love you and we honor you. Amen
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenets of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
Linking up with Deb Wolf at #faithandfriends (Friday), #GraceandTruth (Friday), Holly Gerth at #coffeeforyourheart (Wednesday), Susanne Eller at #livefreeThursday, Carmen at #salt&light (Thursday), Kelly at #RaRalinkup (Tuesday), and Lori at #Momentsofhope (Monday)