Christians have been taught some strange things about the Holy Spirit over the years. There were some who taught you had to “tarry” to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, based on the King James rendering of Luke 24:49. By tarry, they meant that people have to wait, often in hours-long prayer meetings, for a sign of the Holy Spirit. Many people found the wait exhausting and never experienced what they were told to wait for. There are others who have so connected speaking in tongues with the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit can take a backseat to speaking in tongues and God’s power is missing in people’s lives as a result. Others have been so freaked out by horror stories of “tarrying” and fiascos related to tongues that they want nothing to do with the Holy Spirit altogether. None of this is helpful. Over the last several weeks we’ve been looking at who the Holy Spirit is, why He’s just what we need, and what He seeks to do in people’s lives. Today, let’s consider three basic ways Scripture gives to connect to His power in our lives.
1. Ask for more of Him. Everybody loves the Lord’s Prayer. Many Christians have memorized it. But few people seem to have grasped the focus of what that prayer should be directed toward. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to ask for our “daily bread.” And in so doing, it reminds us to ask for what some have called “our need not our greed.” Our daily bread represents the basic needs of each day. Following the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2-4, Jesus tells a story about a person who needs bread to offer a guest who has shown up unexpectedly (vv. 5-10). The point of the story is the need for persistence in prayer. But Jesus follows this story with a strange punchline. He says in v. 13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” After we get over the fact that Jesus nonchalantly called us evil, we’re left reeling with His sudden change of subject. Why is He talking about the Father giving the Holy Spirit all of a sudden? I thought we were talking about bread! The point seems to be that while we have many daily needs, food included, there is nothing we need more than more of God in our lives. We need more of Him and less of us. We’re supposed to pray for more of the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives. Is the Holy Spirit on your daily prayer list?
2. Follow where He leads. If you are a believer in Christ, the Bible is very clear that the Holy Spirit already dwells in you (Romans 8:9). And he seeks to guide you and nudge you in obedience to God. The Holy Spirit’s influence is like your conscience on steroids. We connect to the Holy Spirit’s power by tuning in to what He’s doing in our lives. Paul says for instance, “those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). So, we maintain an awareness of the things that matter to God and what He might be leading us to do. And as we sense the Holy Spirit leading us, we follow. That’s why Paul talks about being “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18) and calls us to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). If you want to connect to the power of the Holy Spirit, follow where He leads.
3. Live under His on-going influence. Finally, Paul talks about the filling of the Holy Spirit. He says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). He lines up two seemingly unrelated things. The filling of the Spirit and getting drunk with wine. When someone gets drunk, it’s like they become a different person. They say and do things that they might not otherwise have the courage to say and do. The only problem is that they do things that are negative and that they regret. Paul says don’t do that, come under the influence of the Holy Spirit, instead. Submit to Him in such a way that you experience the strength and courage to say and do things that would bring pleasure to God. The command is a continuous action so that we give ourselves to His influence in our lives in an on-going way.
Are you connected to the power of the Holy Spirit? Add Him to your prayer list – you need more of Him than anything else! Tune in to what He’s doing in your life and cooperate with His leading because when you’re under His influence, there are no regrets, only strength to live the life God calls us to.
In awe of Him,