I hope we are all reminding each other of the extreme importance of walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Who says we’re not in a spiritual war? We are. But who says that the name of Jesus isn’t ALL-powerful? God “gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” (Phil. 2:9,10) We (His holy people) have been extended the privilege of using His name. (John 14:13,14) And we have been provided with powerful spiritual weapons –as found in Eph. 6:10-18.
Are we using our resources to walk this life of faith? –this life of devoted service to our Creator? Daniel 11:32 says, “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” That’s the NKJV, but in the ESV it says, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” Is that a contradiction? –stand firm/take action?
Here’s another seeming contradiction: “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians [the enemy] you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to BE STILL.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to MOVE ON.'” (Ex. 14:13-15) No, Moses’ words were not in opposition to God’s command. That’s why it’s good to know the whole Bible… Look at 2 Chron. 20:15 where the Spirit of the Lord spoke through Jahaziel saying, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Many other similar examples can found in the Bible –when GOD fought and the people did something –but it was not the something we’d expect to be necessary.
Matt. 11:12 says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” Who are the “forceful”? They are those who are BOLD. (Not physically violent, but bold.) Are you one? Am I? Have you noticed that when you’re not ADVANCING, then no enemy giants seem to jump out at you. You start to get lulled into complacency. “Oh, this is nice. There’s no battle. I must be in God’s blessing. I think I’ll wallow here a while. Yes, comfy… What was that I was all on fire about several months ago? …What? –The gospel? –Souls? Oh well, I’m sure someone else has taken up the job by now… In fact, I think I’ll take my pillow to church and lay on the floor and soak… Yes, that’ll be nice. I need to rest my mind… stop all this thinking… stop all these words… just FEEL God’s love for me. I’ve felt so worthless lately, so dry, so wimpy, so powerless, so unChristlike… yes, maybe that’ll do the trick… soak… feel… huh? –oh, yes… I will also pray for the persecuted church in other countries… as I lay on my pillow and soak to soothing music… with all the others who like to do the same.”
Such “lovely” tactics of the Evil One, huh? Yes, he always has a new strategy, a new ever-more-clever counterfeit. Once we get wise to the one, he slices at us from another angle. How to resist..? How to resist..? Gotta stand firm. The next blow could be deadly… Think… I know –Step One! –Read the Bible! (–Who would’ve thought…?!) Yes, it’s food for our spirit. We can’t even hardly step out our door, let alone go into battle spiritually famished. Yea, that’d be stupidity! (–Yet how many do just that?) The Word of God is what brings truth to mind –His truth, His instruction, His plan– and the mind clears. 2 Peter 1:4 tells us that we must “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” How? The phrase right before it tells us: That we do this through “His very great and precious PROMISES” that He has given us. Where are His promises found? They are found in THE BIBLE.
…Promises such as Deut. 31:8 –“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”
What is the secret then? Here it is again: MEDITATE ON THE BIBLE!!! Everything else follows that, and much more smoothly. –The praise, thanksgiving, singing, prayer, evangelism, preaching, serving, working, guidance, motivation, etc. The Holy Spirit will then take over in leadership and we will understand what we read. “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
There’s one more very helpful ingredient to advancing Christ’s Kingdom in and through our lives: THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!! I am not equating that with “speaking in tongues” like many do. I consider that gift to be beneficial as one “utters mysteries by the Spirit.” (1 Cor. 14:2) But what is Christ’s primary reason in saturating us with His Spirit? I believe, based on such verses as Eph. 3:16 it is for power. Paul says, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being…” And v. 17 –“SO THAT Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Then v. 18 states that the power is for the purpose of “grasping” and “knowing” His love. Oh yes, the precious love of Christ, our Redeemer, our Shepherd, our Friend…
So, coming into the power of the Holy Spirit and grasping His great love… –what is then the purpose of that? To self-indulge in it? Roll around on the floor in it? No. It is for the purpose of furthering the Good News –that “He loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood.” (Rev. 1:5) And then the purpose for THAT? Is it so Jesus will now be our “bellboy”? Our genie in a bottle –there to fulfill our every wish? No. Verse 6 informs us: It is in order that WE SERVE GOD.
Rom. 1:16 tells us that the gospel (the good news) “is the power of God.” And 1 Cor. 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.” And that, by the way, is not power to build human “Towers of Babel”, because as Jesus says in Luke 17:20,21, “The kingdom of God does not come visibly… because the kingdom of God is within you.” And again He says in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight…” We are never to FIGHT or to use physical force to further God’s spiritual kingdom! Those who are proclaiming this rhetoric are of “another spirit.” (2 Cor. 11:4)
So why does God give us power? It is in order that we may live holy and righteous in His sight AND it is for boldness in speaking out His Word that others too may be saved. In Acts 4:29 the Christians prayed, “Enable your servants to speak Your word with great boldness.” Verse 31 says, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Luke 11:9-13 tells us that if we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will give Him to us. So, being immersed into the Holy Spirit (and He in us) will create boldness in us. It’s a definite! Therefore, if we are NOT boldly speaking about Jesus, God’s Word, and the Way of salvation from sin, we are not full of His Spirit… nor do we prove that we are IN LOVE with Him. Instead, 2 Cor. 13:5 may need to be applied: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”
Matt. 3:11 says, “He [Christ Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” What’s the fire? Well, that context is about repentance. And if we look back at Mal.3:1-4, it is a corresponding prophecy: “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me… Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire… He will purify… Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness… acceptable to the LORD…”
TEST: 1) Are we accepting refinement? 2) Are we pure? 3) Are we righteous? 4) Are we bold in speaking about Him? 5) Are we in love with Him? 6) Are we truly loving our neighbor as ourselves? 7) Do we love His Word, the Bible? 8) Can we understand it? …In summary, are we participating in the divine nature and escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires?
So, let’s go out –serving God– in strength and power. His strength and power. For “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Ps. 18:32) And as Job 12:13 says, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His.”