Ask any roomful of Christians about desiring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or if we should be walking in the power of the Spirit [as Jesus did], and you will get opinions ranging from those who have been wounded by the Church because they didn't appear to have a particular gift, and therefore don't desire to seek more of Him; to those who, while unknowledgable about the subject, are curious to know more; to those who flat out reject it; to those who have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and are walking in His empowerment, healing the sick and setting the captives free from bondage.
So, I guess the fundamental questions become Are the gifts and the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit only for a chosen few? Does this intimate experience with God through the Holy Spirit mean anything in God's Kingdom on earth? And finally, Can anybody do what Jesus did?
First of all, it is important that Christians realize Jesus was 30 years old before the Holy Spirit rested upon Him and He had the power to begin His ministry. The Bible tells us that As Jesus grew, so did His wisdom and maturity. We must realize that the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives comes through our own process of gaining wisdom and maturing in our faith; of walking with God and experiencing an increase in His grace, and an increase in the comprehension of the Father’s plan for our life -- and all of that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in us. We must recognize His presence in us!
But I think most Christians are scared of the power of the Holy Spirit, primarily because they are unfamiliar with it. The Bible tells us there is a purpose for a five-fold ministry in the Body of Christ. By God's grace, some have been called to be apostles [an ambassador of the Gospel of the Kingdom]; some prophets [a proclaimer of a divine message]; some evangelists [a preacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom]; some pastors [providing tender care and vigilant oversight]; and some teachers [an instructor concerning the things of God and the duties of man]. But Ephesians 4:12 specifically says that these callings are to equip [nurture and prepare] all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry... And here is the root of that concept: God's grace is the power of the Holy Spirit in us to do those things we have been called to. And lest you misunderstand, we are all called to do the things that Jesus taught and commanded (defeating the works of the devil) and to walk in the manifestation [the enabling power] of the Holy Spirit to serve God in whatever gifts, achievement, or abilities He has designed for us to carry out.
So, how many of us can say that we have experienced any of this nurturing within the Body of Christ? Jesus is our model, and everything He did was the product of the Holy Spirit working in Him to carry out His commission [ministry] from the Father. AND it is the function of those called by God's grace to equip us to receive that same Holy Spirit power to do our "own works of ministry." But how many of us received that equipping ... that nurturing and preparing ... that instruction and modeling of how to become more like Jesus?
This is not just my own opinion to back up my own brand of theology. The Bible says it plainly and clearly ... in Hebrews 10:23-25, we are told to hold tightly to the promise given us [that the Holy Spirit would come to empower us and guide us]; and we should give considerate and deliberate thought to encouraging each other to love and do the good deeds Jesus modeled, not forsaking the gathering together to encourage each other to do these things as we wait for His return. The "gathering together" is not the primary focus; it is the encouragement of each other to walk in the power that God sends us through the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
So, back to my original questions ... Are the gifts and the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit only for a chosen few? The answer is No! It says in 1 Corinthians 12:6-7, "The same God distributes different kinds of powers [gifts] that accomplish different results through each believer's gift and ministry as He energizes and activates them. Each believer is given continuous revelation by the Holy Spirit to benefit not just himself but all". But I believe it is up to each believer to seek and receive that revelation.
Does this intimate experience with God through the Holy Spirit mean anything in God's Kingdom on earth? Yes! It is the only way to impact this world for the Kingdom of God. Without experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in one's life, it is my humble opinion that you can't truly know God, and know His will for His Kingdom. You can read and study Scripture and recite all the verses from memory, but as my wise husband expressed, "It's like how can you say you know how to swim, if all you've done is read every book in the Library on swimming, but never actually experienced getting in the water and swimming?" And I liken it to reading every post on Facebook by a friend, and reading every text message she sends me, but if I'm never in her presence and experience her, can I say I really know her? How can we be ambassadors for a Kingdom when we don't know the King and what He desires?
Finally, Can everybody do what Jesus did? The simple answer is Yes. But can we guarantee success every time? No. But what I can tell you from my own experience in walking in His power, the more you do it, the more confidence you get in your identity and the ability of the Holy Spirit to work through you. In other words, people who pray more for healing, will see more healings happen. John Wimber, one of the founders of the "Power Evangelism" movement in the U.S. prayed for healing for 1,000 people before he saw anyone healed. And I have heard so many similar testimonies from those who walk in Jesus' signs, wonders, and miracles say the same thing: Christians must make a commitment to press into what CAN happen and SHOULD be happening.
My final analysis of experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Christian life is that God brings each of us to a place of maturity that requires our perseverance through the discouragement. The Enemy likes nothing more than to send obstacles to our walking in the power of the Holy Spirit that is in us. The Body of Christ must begin to overcome our long season of apathy and indifference [and yes, fear] towards embracing the power of Heaven within us. The Holy Spirit of God is the key to an effective Christian life of service. Without His ministry to our spirits, our Christian life will be powerless and fruitless for the Kingdom. And this life is all about the Kingdom!
Ephesians 3:20 Never doubt God's almighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you.
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