Slideshow image

 When you think of the power of the Holy Spirit what comes to mind?  For most of us I think we tend to think in terms of feats of power or demonstrations of the miraculous.  Certainly, there are moments and occasions where that occurs and it is exciting when it does.  But is that the typical way that we see the power of the Holy Spirit being described?  Actually, I think it is fair say that the Bible points us in a different direction when it comes to our experience of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  The power of the Holy Spirit is given to enable us to do that which we naturally can’t or don’t do.  But in what areas?  There are several that should come to mind; holy living, fruit-filled living, gifted service to name a few.  But for this meditation I’d like to point out two that might not be top on our list.  Witness and Love.  As soon as the disciples were convinced that Jesus had actually been raised from the dead, they asked a most pressing and obvious question, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  For the disciples this seemed to be the next stage on the program of God.  Jesus came to announce that the kingdom of God had come, he had unexpectedly died and then unexpectedly was raised from the dead, surely the next phase would be the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.  Jesus’ response is telling.  He does not scold them or even deny the rightness of the question, he merely redirects their attention to something else.  He says, that is His Father’s concern, however there is something else that you (disciples / us) need to concern ourselves with while we wait for the Father to fulfill his plan and that is the growth of the kingdom through our witness concerning the death and resurrection of the King.  To this Jesus says, “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.”  Our concern during our time of waiting is that we might be Jesus’ witnesses and for that we will need the power of the Holy Spirit.  A few chapters later in Acts, the disciples have begun to experience what will be typical during the delay of Jesus’ second coming, resistance and threats against their witness.  So, what do they do? They pray, saying, “Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.”  That’s what we need.  The power of the Holy Spirit for bold witness.  Often, I find that I can, like the disciples, get distracted by my agenda, routine, life plans and just general life in a way that keeps me from being focused on what really matters – the growth of the kingdom through faithful and bold witness.  I take it that I am not alone.  Maybe you experience the same thing.  Can we ask the Lord for eyes and ears that see and hear the world around us who are in need of a Savior and might we be able to share with them what has happened in our lives.  We are his witnesses. 

The second area is love.  Not only do we need the Holy Spirit for witness but also to love.  Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”  In this verse we see the other part of our witness.  Loving one another.  The reality of Jesus must be seen and heard and that happens when body of Jesus puts on display to a watching world the reality of the love of Jesus present in our daily lives.  Unfortunately, all to often those claiming the name of Jesus have not shown love to one another.  Love requires humility, servanthood, self-giving, putting others above ourselves, patience, kindness and sacrifice.  In other words, the Holy Spirit.  Love is not something we naturally possess.  Sin has corrupted our love capacity.  Only a faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus and consequently the presence of Jesus through the person of the Holy Spirit can change us so that we can love since God is love.  So, witness and love are two areas that we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Can you and I ask the Lord today for a fresh filling of the Spirit of God that we might have boldness in witness and His capacity to love so that all men will know that we are his disciples.  May the Lord bless you.