RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S POWER
We received the “Indwelling” Holy Spirit in our hearts when we believed in Jesus as our Savior. He quietly guides us and helps us. Teaches and comforts us. He convicts us of sin and develops love, peace, joy, faith, patience and other fruits in our life if we let Him. The “indwelling” ministry of the Holy Spirit is automatic when we accept Christ into our lives. We don’t have to ask the Holy Spirit to live inside of us.
But that is not the case with the “empowering” of the Holy Spirit. The “empowering” Holy Spirit is very different from the “indwelling” Holy Spirit. Usually a believer must want the empowering of the Holy Spirit. And usually we must pray and ask God for more of this fullness of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Sometimes we must keep on praying and wait for this gift. One expression of our faith is our willingness to continue seeking until we have received. (Luke 11:5-13) Perseverance is a sign of faith. (Timothy 4:16 and Hebrews 12:1) Jesus promises that God the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask in faith. (Luke 11:13)
A second way to receive the Holy Spirit’s power is by receiving it through another believer. Another Christian who has already received the “empowering” of the Spirit can lay his or her hands on the one who is seeking and pass on this power. When Paul had his dramatic conversion on the Damascus Road when the glorified Christ came and spoke to him, Paul believed in Jesus at that moment. But Paul did not receive the “empowering” of the Holy Spirit until a few days later when another Christian, Ananias, came and laid hands on him, praying for the Spirit to fill him. The Bible teaches that the Spirit’s power can be imparted this way. (Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 9:11-17)
The “empowering” of the Holy Spirit is a ministry where the Spirit of Christ “comes upon” you with power to equip you to accomplish the work of God. The “empowering” of the Spirit can be called by several names. Some call it the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Or being “filled with the Spirit.” It seems that there are different levels of empowering. Perhaps when you first receive the empowering of the Spirit you may not receive a great deal of power. But if you use what you have and continually ask for more, you will receive more in answer to your prayers.
Believers will see changes in their lives when they receive the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Many people say that when they receive the “empowering” of the Spirit they have wanted to praise God and worship Him more. There is a strong desire in their hearts to have a closer relationship with God. Sometimes there was a release of tongues or prophecy. And they would want to pass on His love and be a witness for Him. Acts 1:8 reads: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you: and you will be My witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”
There are many wonderful Christians who have given their lives to Christ but still know little about His charismatic power. The display of the Holy Spirit’s power makes many Christians uncomfortable. Many Christians feel better when our worship services are orderly and the charismatic Christian may upset that order when he or she speaks in tongues. Years ago, instead of submitting to what God wanted for me, I made the mistake or committed the sin of telling God that I was afraid of any confusion the empowerment of the Spirit might cause. I have since been sorry that I put up barriers to receiving all that God might have for me.
I believe that one thing we may need to do to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to put up barriers. To submit to God and want anything He wants to give us. Scripture says: “Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life: and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. “ (Romans 6:13b-14)
When the Christians in Thessalonica were skeptical of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote these words to them: “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire: do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good.” (Thessalonians 5:19-21)
What does a Christian do with this power from the Holy Spirit? We are to preach the Word, help others, pray for the sick, feed the hungry, give to the poor and be God’s people in the world.
Scripture tells us that in the beginning there was only one kingdom in the universe – the kingdom of God. Everything that God made was very good. God is all powerful and holy and loving and merciful. Just and good. He can do no evil. His kingdom is always righteous and loving and always holy and good.
But Scripture tells us that Satan rebelled against God’s kingdom of light and a started his own kingdom of darkness. (Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15) Satan drew away a third of the angels in heaven and established a second kingdom of darkness and hate and murder and lies and evil to oppose God’s kingdom of goodness and light.
The Bible tells us that this world is now controlled by Satan and his forces. (Ephesians 2:2 and John 5:19) But at the second coming of Jesus, He will destroy Satan’s kingdom and fully establish His righteous rule on the earth. And what rejoicing there will be on that great Day!
But until then we on earth are to rescue people from Satan’s kingdom of darkness to God’s kingdom of light. And we are to resist everything that Satan’s kingdom brings- sin, hunger, sickness, suffering, poverty, and more. When He taught us the Lord’s prayer Jesus taught us to pray and ask that “God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) Helping to bring God’s light to a dark world is a big job for us to be given. That is why God has promised us the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Our ministry can take many forms. We have each been given special talents and we can use them to God’s glory. The Holy Spirit will be there with us as we go about our daily duties. He will give us guidance that we wouldn’t have on our own. And He will give us the power to bring blessings into the lives of others. And bring people out of darkness into light. We need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be able to do all of the wonderful work that God has planned for us to do.
Many of the truths spoken of in this blog were taken from Robert Heider’s book, “Experiencing the Spirit”