Theology

Desperate for the Spirit

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The Holy Spirit is at work in us. The Holy Spirit is at work in and through our personal stories, and testimonies. The Holy Spirit is at work saving souls, orchestrating our time and space, the ways in which we live, breathe, and have our being. This is miraculous, and yet I long to see and experience more of him.

I don’t say this as someone who is just looking for a miracle or ways for God to prove himself. I say this as someone who is completely devoted to the Scriptures, and the ways that God has desired to show up for his people in this way. Doing the impossible like Red Sea departures and delivering people from over 400 years of slavery brings him glory.

I say this as someone completely devoted to the Scriptures Click To Tweet

Raising people from the dead brings him glory. Making promises and then fulfilling them across generations against all odds brings him glory. Sending a Savior to rescue and right all the wrongs of human history brings him glory. Exploding the church from 120 saved souls to thousands in the book of Acts is glorious stuff. This is the work, expression, and way God longs to reveal himself as active and present in the world. This is the way he ushers in spiritual awakenings.

I know that folks have been praying and lamenting over these past few years, but for several weeks I have turned my eyes to the omnipotent God to humbly and boldly ask for revival in our land.

Revival.

When was the last time you heard that word? I know this is not something we can conjure up or strategically plan, but I do believe that praying for it will drastically change the posture and hearts of the people of God, and those ordinary, broken, humble, knee-bent people are the ones who can see and invite a mighty move of God!

Humble Beginnings    

I have had quite a diverse faith journey. As a child, I remember going to church every Sunday just as sure as we went to school Monday through Friday. We were raised Methodist, and I was just like your average church goer or “cultural Christian” of today. When my mother decided to become a disciple of Jesus and not just someone who went to church on Sundays, however, we all went and were emerged in the waters of a traditionally Baptist Church.

By that time I was on my own faith journey, being a disciple of an older Presbyterian woman who was a disciple of Christ, gleaning on the faith and tradition of the Black Church while singing in the United States Naval Academy Gospel Choir, and then experiencing worship in Pentecostal churches where people would linger all day simply because God was worthy.

Those were the years when I saw people praying like they expected God to do something about their present condition. Those were the years when I witnessed people exercising various gifts of the Holy Spirit in power and without apology. I miss those years of worship, and the various ways that I saw God move among diverse people groups at different stages of their spiritual journeys.

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As I grew in faith, I began to study the stories, history, and traditions of mighty movements of God, whether it be the birth of the Christian church through the assassination of the radical Jesus, or the sacrifice and resistance of persecuted missionaries across the world, or the Great Awakening, the Abolitionist or the Civil Rights Movements.

God is on the move in small and big ways, and sometimes we miss him for the simple fact that we are neither watchful nor expectant. Could it be that we have missed seeing a mighty move of God through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit in America and in this generation simply because we have not asked God for it?

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13 NIV)

I find it fitting in this time when darkness is so prevalent that we ask God to shine his light. We can start by remembering the promise of the Holy Spirit.

We can start by remembering the promise of the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet

The Promise of the Holy Spirt

The most composite teaching on the Holy Spirit in found in Jesus’ promise made to his disciples concerning in the Gospel of John 14:16-17, 26-27:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

This passage reveals these truths about the Holy Spirit:

  • The Holy Spirit is our counselor who will be with us forever (v 16, 26)
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (v 16)
  • The Holy Spirit is rejected by the world (v 17), but
  • When you become a disciple of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in you and will be with you (v 17),
  • The Holy Spirit would teach the disciples everything and remind them of what Jesus teachings (v 26)

Even though he was going to his death when he shared this truth, there was no reason for his disciples to be afraid or troubled. God’s redemptive plan was at work. Yet, Jesus did not just leave them with a promise. He also informed them of the work of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is our counselor who will be with us forever. Click To Tweet

The Work of the Holy Spirt

He continued to teach and assure them in John 16:8-15:

When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

This passage makes it clear that the gospel message may not be good news for everyone, because those who don’t believe in Jesus will not receive the same blessings, power, and new life as those who do believe. According to this passage, the work of the Holy Spirit is also to:

  • Find the world guilty for not upholding God’s righteous standards (v 8),
  • Find humans guilty of sin when they do not believe in Jesus (v 8),
  • As a result, those who do not uphold God’s standards, those who do not believe in Jesus, and those who choose to worship Satan—who is the prince of this world, instead of God— will find themselves pronounced guilty and they will receive judgment (v 8-11).
The gospel message may not be good news for everyone. Click To Tweet

Just as the Psalmist records a lament of the wicked who prosper in Psalm 73, we are reminded that when we enter the presence of God, we understand the final destiny of the wicked (v 17). Surely God puts them on a slippery slope, casts them down to ruin, destroys them suddenly and completely wipes them away (v 18-19). Since we know the end of the story, we can continue to trust in God, and stand on his side. We do this knowing that we are empowered by his Spirit to act.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirt

As if the gift our salvation and freedom of our souls from death were not enough, the Holy Spirt gives each of us spiritual gifts so that we can live a life that is pleasing to God, and so we can lead and serve others in the kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 12:1, 4-7, the Apostle Paul, wrote:

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant…. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all [people]. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

This passage informs us that we should not be ignorant of our spiritual gifts because our spiritual gifts are the very means that God uses to make himself visible through the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, and the spiritual gifts are meant for us to use for the common good of humankind.

Our spiritual gifts makes the work of the Holy Spirit evident in our lives. Yet the gifts are not to be worshipped. The gift(s) are given so that we can work together in unity to advance God’s kingdom. By utilizing our spiritual gifts we get to participate in the writing of God’s redemptive story! See, “the gospel is not simply about what we have been saved from, but also about what we have been called to.”[1] Today, I am calling you to pray for revival so people all around us and experience the promise, work, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 

[1] Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship

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