Mark is an ordained minister, treading the tumultuous waves of a developing writing career, daring to dream a new dream.
God’s Spirit, Unhindered
We all know the anticipation of a parade, fireworks, a birthday party, or a wedding. We know what to look for and what to expect. And we also know what we feel when our expectations fall flat. When Joel declared the Lord’s prophecy that the Holy Spirit would fall on men and women, young and old, rich, and poor, the expectation was high, to be sure. The promise that God would reveal himself personally must have been exciting! (Joel 2:29-29)
Yet, I don’t know if anyone could have imagined how fully God would fulfill this promise. Jesus declared before his hometown, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me..." (Luke 4:18-19) God lay upon a person of humanity, one of his creations, the ability to receive the Holy Spirit directly. Jesus continued the fulfillment of this prophecy (after his resurrection) by breathing on his followers saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) The same breath that called the universe into existence, that breathed life into humankind, prepared these eleven to receive the Holy Spirit.
Some scholars have said that the book, the Acts of the Apostles, should have been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. At no other time in biblical history has God revealed himself so much through so many people in so many places. The power of the Holy Spirit was equal only to the acceptance of the Holy Spirit. After being beaten for preaching the gospel, the believers reaffirmed their desire to spread the gospel, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4.31) If the Holy Spirit suddenly shook your church, how would we feel? Excited or afraid? Empowered or judged?
However, God hadn’t finished with fulfilling of this prophecy. Not by a long shot. On the Day of Pentecost, when God fulfilled the promise of the Holy Spirit, it was an event. Luke describes the descent of the Holy Spirit as a “rushing mighty wind” and “tongues of fire”. The power of God came upon those 120 persons and immediately empowered with the courage for the gospel and equipped them to speak perfectly over a dozen languages. (Acts 2:1-6) As a result, on the Day of Pentecost, over 3,000 people received salvation! This is before any evangelism or outreach program even existed. “Not by might nor by power, but my Spirit.”
Ordinary People, Amazing Results
Peter saw the Holy Spirit descend on the most unlikely of people, a Roman soldier. No one could appreciate or believe why Peter, being a Jew, would go into a Gentile’s home. No one could believe the Holy Spirit had fallen on the unclean, immoral, non-Jew. Peter declared God’s saving power saying, “... if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17) God has used handkerchiefs, aprons, even Peter’s shadow (Acts 19:11-15; 5:14-16) to reveal himself and work his will in this world.
If God can use ordinary persons in everyday places to affect change in over 3,000 people through the power of the Holy Spirit by immediately speaking a dozen languages, what could God do through us today? The only hindrance to the power of the Holy Spirit descending upon us “as a rushing mighty wind” and “tongues of fire” is our willingness. Are you willing to be THE person the Holy Spirit uses to effect change around you? The key word here is ‘willing’.
While the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to equip each of us for service in the Kingdom of God, He doesn’t break down locked doors. Of those 120 people in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, all of them were of one mind and in prayer for 40 days. They believed God could use them and they wanted to be used by God. They wanted to be used by the Holy Spirit to speak salvation in someone’s life. “Not by might nor by power, but my Spirit.”
My challenge to everyone reading this article is to assess your willingness to be used by God. Not your own wishes, desires, objectives, agendas, or ideas, but God’s. What is God’s plan for your family, friends, your neighborhood? What is God’s plan for you? Don’t say I’m too old, too young, too busy, or don’t know. If these are your first thoughts, then your willingness factor is zero! With this attitude, God can’t use you, but God won’t use you. Remember that Jonah spent three days inside a fish because he ran from God! (See Jonah 1-2)
But if you desire to do God’s will, to be obedient to the call of Christ in your life, to honor the salvation that God has provided you, then allow the Holy Spirit unhindered access to your life. Open the door to your personal upper room. Pray toward your personal Day of Pentecost. Pray for the Living God to descend upon you. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit by refusing, dismissing, or avoiding His presence in this world and your life! (Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63:10) “Not by might nor by power, but my Spirit.”
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Mark Lewis