I love Jesus. I am thankful that He died for my sin, rescued me from death and destruction and gave me a life I never could have expected. Some of my favorite Bible verses reflect this reality, like this one:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6–8
He is talking about me!! It find it truly amazing and baffling that Jesus would die for me, no strings attached, so that I could have the "life to the full" that He promises.
But once we are saved and belong to Jesus… then what? How do we live for Christ? How do we experience freedom? How do we grow the kingdom of God? How do I live in a way that the fruit of the Spirit reproduces in me? How do I manifest God’s power into the world? How does that happen?
It happens through the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But as "good evangelicals" we sometimes feel as if we're cheating on Jesus if we begin to pursue a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Theologian Wayne Grudem says, "The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest or show the active presence of God in the world, especially in the church." This happens in and through us as we are filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. — Acts 1:8
You will receive power when… the Holy Spirit comes. He is the one who will empower you to do the work God has for you.
Many of us return to the burden of works or religion once we become Christians.
We think, "I am going to read about Jesus and muster up the discipline and power to live like Him!”
What happens? We fail.
Why? Because it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can become like Jesus, that we can do the work of Jesus.
Yet, we often have an aversion to the Holy Spirit. We categorize His work as weird, less important, scary, unknowable. We treat Him like the black sheep of the Trinity. So we don’t study and pursue how to "stay in step with the Holy Spirit."
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. — Galatians 5:25
As followers of Jesus who desire to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we need to learn about the Holy Spirit in the Bible, and grow in our knowledge, understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The believer who doesn't seek to be empowered by the Holy Spirit often settles for obedience over love, discipline over pleasure, law over grace. This leaves us feeling exhausted, worn out and frustrated; imprisoned by a way of life that is impossible to achieve. And we offer little to the world.
What the world needs are authentic Christians who are not acting like perfect people, trying hard to keep their lives together. What the world needs is an authentic representation of imperfect people filled with the power of a perfect and loving Father.
The world needs more than what we can offer in our own power. The world needs to encounter the living God in and through you.