Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning - Monday, August 5, 2013
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).
Food for Thought
So what is the practical benefit of all the theology of the Holy Spirit? It is the enabling power that makes it possible for ordinary human beings to be transformed and live differently. Jesus’ call to repent and change our lives, to replace our agendas with his agenda, to literally become a new creation, is only made possible when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts with power. It is only possible when God dwells in us. When that happens, we have access to abilities and insights previously unavailable.
It would take an entire book to unpack this idea fully, but let me list a few of the gifts made available to us by the Spirit:
wisdom: the ability to perceive things from God’s perspective
comfort: the ability to have confidence in God and put our minds and hearts at ease
discernment: the ability to discriminate between truth and falsehood, right and wrong
intercession: the Spirit praying with us and through us before God
direction: the ability to sense what God wants us to do and where
power: the ability to do things we could not do before
boldness: the courage to take a stand and face trials
endurance: the ability to continue under stress, in suffering, with patience
conviction: a keen sense of conscience about our sins and our behavior
strength: the ability to overcome our weaknesses
protection: the ability to remain safe from evil
unity: the ability to bind together with other followers of Jesus
fruit: the ability to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit in our lives
seal: guarantee that Christ will return to redeem us
The Holy Spirit is a game changer. How much of what we cherish today in terms of human rights, freedom, compassion for others, justice systems, and moral codes were derived from followers of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit? And what would the world be like had the Holy Spirit not been given? Would it be darker, meaner, and more brutish? I have no doubt it would. Because you and I have never lived in a world devoid of God’s Spirit, we don’t see the shocking contrast as the first disciples must have. No wonder they were on fire; both reality and possibility had changed before their very eyes.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a remarkable gift. The Spirit is a lamp unto our feet; we no longer have to wander in the darkness.
Question for Reflection
Can you see a difference in your capabilities before and after you chose to follow Christ? Can you testify to the Spirit’s work in your life?
Lord, thank you for making me able to follow you, able to resist temptation, able to love through the power of your Spirit.