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The Power of the Spirit...to live

dark dawn desert 2479501 Photo by Al Butler from Pexels“Send us out in the power of the Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory”, so we pray at the end of the communion service.

I love the sentiment of this line. It always fires me up, anew, and in the moment I say “Yes, Lord...send me!” but I wondered today, not for the first time, how earnestly I really want this, or believe this, or accept the unfettered power of God’s Holy Spirit in my life?

How about you? Do you ever wonder some days, where on earth the power of God’s Spirit is in you? It all seems so possible, stood amongst God’s people in the warmth and wonder of acceptance and forgiveness...until the moment you leave the comfort of communion to step into the demanding, often pressurised requirements of daily life and begin to rely on your own strength instead of His....

So, I have been pondering on the powerful coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, that displayed itself so vividly in tongues of fire and aural accessibility to all, alongside the transformative power that changed a motley collection of confused and lost disciples into changed people. This encounter with God’s Holy Spirit transformed those waiting into empowered and missional individuals who travelled the world, often in the face of much opposition, as witnesses to the power and resurrection of Christ giving praise and glory to the One who sent them...

Where does that leave me? Where does that leave each of us?

The Power of the Spirit....given to us

Despite how we might feel some days, as Christians, God’s Spirit is in each one of us. Each of us is a temple of God’s Holy Spirit...

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? ...” (1 Corinthians: 6:19, NLT)

We have in us the Holy Spirit: Counsellor and Comforter, eternal, free, good, Spirit of might; grace and truth, knowledge and understanding, wisdom and prophecy, life giving; promised for so long , eagerly anticipated and faithfully bestowed by God upon his waiting people in the story we know in Acts 2.

God himself lives in us! This means we have ALL the power we need to get on with whatever God has given us to do. Wow! So why don’t we trust in this awesome power within us?

Is it because the Spirit of God seems so untameable and free that perhaps we are afraid of the letting go of ourselves to allow God free reign in us through His Spirit?

clouds dark lightning 1118869 Photo by Johannes Plenio from PexelsAre we over cautious about plugging in to the immense power of God’s Spirit; harnessing the potential energy of that lightning bolt energy ...fearful of being disturbed from the comfortable course of our lives; terrified of God’s transformational effect? Yet, if we are to live and work to God’s praise and glory, we cannot go it alone. We are to trust the One who made us and rely on the power of His Holy Spirit in us, to give us all we need. This is how God intends us to live well.

The Power of the Spirit...a spark within us

Paul encourages us to do just this, by igniting the power of the Spirit of God in our lives....

“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1: 6-7)

Amazingly, this tells us that the spark of what we need is within us. God has planted the spark of his Spirit in the hearts and souls of his people. All we need to do is to get the bellows out and fan into flames what is already there.

God has been affirming this to me again and again, recently .... We have all that we need. God does not ask to do something without equipping us.
All we need is a tiny spark inside us, for even a spark, when given the right conditions can create a great fire!   

When we fail to allow Gods spirit to dwell in us, fill us, work freely in us and through us, we stunt the growth of the fruit in our spiritual life. When we do not put our trust in God and deny His sovereignty in our lives then we also deny the effect that the spirit may have through us on the lives of others....I fail when I try to go it alone.... when I pursue the good ideas that are not God ideas; when I ignore the nudge of God and turn away from saying “yes”, or when, having said... “ yes God, send me”, then fail to summon the faith to risk and step out in the power of the Holy Spirit... “

The Power of the Spirit...fanned into flame

So how can we each encourage Gods spirit to burn brightly in our lives; to fan into flame the gift of God in us? 

  • Thankfulness... for all God has givenblue burn fire 45244 pixabay at pexel
  • Confession... for our wrongful thoughts and deeds
  • Acceptance…of God’s forgiveness of us
  • Forgiveness...of others, as God freely forgives us
  • Listening to God... and obeying His voice
  • Trusting God... that He will provide all that we need
  • Fellowship...with others seeking God

The Power of the Spirit...a spiritual weapon in our hands

  • Reading His Word... and living by its precepts

In addition, we are gifted the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17) The words of the Bible, used well, can defend us against the devil’s whispers that we are not enough, and attack all that is thrown against us. God’s Word can be a spiritual weapon in our hands and lives.

The Power of the Spirit... to bear fruit in us

apple tree apples colorful 54629 pexels

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

When we fail to allow Gods spirit to dwell in us, fill us, work freely in us and through us, we not only stunt the growth of the fruit in our spiritual life (Galatians) but deny His sovereignty in our lives and the effect that the spirit may have through us on the lives of others....

 

The Power of the Spirit...for harmonious living

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5: 25)

When we walk beside someone we know well, we find that we keep in step with them. So, too with God’s Spirit. If we ensure that our daily journey is led by God’s ways, not our own, then our keeping in step can bring about the freedom to enjoy the dance of life.

The Power of the Spirit... to conquer fear

God has not given me the spirit of fear but of power, love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:17)

So, when we feel small, weak and ineffective, perhaps we can take our eyes from ourselves and our human inadequacies, and look to God, trusting the gift of his spirit in us. Can we let go of the reigns, yielding to the Holy Spirit and after that initial burst of fear, feel the exhilaration of being born on wings like eagles, and seeing the world and ourselves from a different perspective?

My prayer would be that of the words in the moving song... IMG 0057 “Consuming Fire”, by Tim Hughes

I encourage you to listen to it and make it your prayer too...

Artwork
This tells of the narrative of the Coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 with God at the centre of the twelve disciples sending out his power onto his waiting followers and beyond. Tongues of fire alight on the heads of the disciples, but the flames reach so much further, igniting all God’s people with all that we need, then and now. The background is blue…springs of eternal life flowing from the Creator splashing and radiating outwards, pouring over God’s people; refreshing our thirsty spirits.

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