When we speak of the power of the Holy Spirit, many people — even Christians — misunderstand the term power. They tend to define power as the world defines it. Likewise, most believers appear to pursue power in the same way the world pursues it.
In the world's view, power conveys the ability to control people, events, and circumstances. In this view, power brings with it a high degree of independence and self-sufficiency, with no need for the help of others.
The Bible, in describing the power of the Holy Spirit, paints quite a different picture (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8, and 2 Corinthians 12:9). The word translated as power in our English Bible is the Greek word dynamis, from which we get the word dynamite. In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His disciples that before they could be His witnesses, they must first receive the dynamis of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit possesses a dynamite — like power that works within a believer to blast out anything that is unlike God. It is not a power that exalts one person above another. It does not manipulate or control others, and it does not enable a person to become independent of others. The Holy Spirit uses His power to break us so that He might remake us.
To experience the power of the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge our utter helplessness and our complete dependence on God. It is in the life that is totally submitted to His will that God manifests Himself fully able to meet every need.
The Holy Spirit does not make us powerful people. Rather, He works in us and through us as vessels of His work in the world. The more we get self out of the way and yield our will to His, the more powerfully He is able to pour Himself through us to others, and the more powerfully He is able to transform our lives. The power is His; we are only the conduits.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses of God's love, to live in a way that pleases God, to meet fully the demands and pressures of life, and to fight temptation. The power of the Holy Spirit is the only power that is sufficient to win spiritual battles against the minions of Satan. So how can we put ourselves in a position to experience the Spirit's power?
The key to spiritual power is the exact opposite of striving for success and seeking to promote ourselves. Instead, the key is humility. God honors those with broken spirits who are utterly dependent on Him. God manifests His power in those who lay their weaknesses at His feet.
We need always to focus on the One who gives us the power to avoid sin, who gives us the power to receive the fullness of God's provision for us, and who gives us the power to discern His will and to do it.
God the Holy Spirit desires for us to be joyous Christians. He wants us to walk in the power of the Spirit and to allow the Holy Spirit to nurture and to strengthen our relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son. He wants to help us become faithful followers of Christ Jesus, living righteous lives in a wicked world — something we can only do by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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