The Holy Spirit: Are You Afraid Of The Power?
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In yesterday's devotional, we dug into the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in us. In short, He's the game-changer for everything we do as believers. He shatters addictions, cleanses us from sin, pushes us toward righteousness, gives us understanding, provides us words to speak, gifts us talents, and even works miracles through us. Without the Spirit, we'd be redeemed but immediately defeated. With Him, we get to tap into the conversion power of Jesus and the sustaining power of the Spirit.
But here's the deal. I think a lot of believers are afraid of the Holy Spirit. They are afraid of the strongly held opinions various denominations have about Him. They are also afraid of manifestations of the Holy Spirit, like prophesying, speaking in tongues, and visions. And they are a little suspicious of people who say they do these things. And finally, I think they are afraid of what might happen if they opened themselves up to something like Him because they would rather be safe than sorry.
Today, I am going to read a few verses for you. Rather than so quickly embracing suspicions, jumping to conclusions, and being afraid of the Spirit, I want you to listen to the text exactly as it is written. Rather than rush to skepticism or fear, just listen. Take God at His Word. Set your reservations aside.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." — Acts 2:1-11
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days, I will pour out my Spirit. — Acts 2:16-17
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. — 1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Now, these texts mention at least three manifestations of the Spirit that scare most believers — prophesying, speaking in other languages, and visions. And because we are scared of it, we try to read past it, ignore it, reject it, and talk ourselves out of it. All this does is suppress the Spirit and the reality of what he can do. And then inadvertently miss out on enjoying the power Christ left for us. We trade the power of the Spirit for the comfort of the familiar.
Just consider this question. Why did the Spirit manifest itself this way on Pentecost? Why during a national holiday, 50 days after Jesus was resurrected? Easy. This was a divine setup. People from all corners of the world were there. The Spirit used that moment and people like Peter to catapult the gospel across the Roman Empire. Want proof? Then, read ahead in the Book of Acts. Paul's later missionary journeys found people who'd already heard about Jesus because of that event. And as we read one of Paul's letters today, he encourages this to continue through the church in Corinth.
So now consider this. If the Holy Spirit worked through them, then what's stopping Him from working the same way through you? Think about it: What's preventing Him from doing something incredible through you? The answer is nothing. But we spend so much time worrying about manifestations (i.e., visions, speaking in tongues, and prophesying) that we end up suppressing the Spirit instead of letting Him do what He wants to do. I believe that right now in history, the Spirit has work to do. We, as believers, need to stop suppressing Him and move past our fears of Him and even what others might think if He worked through us in these ways for His purposes.
So take a bold step today. Confess your fears to the Holy Spirit. Stop suppressing Him. Then, invite Him to use you in new ways by fearing God and not the workings of the Holy Spirit.
- What fears or reservations are holding you back from fully embracing the work of the Holy Spirit in your life?
- What specific steps can you take today to invite the Holy Spirit to use you in new ways, setting aside your fear of what others might think?
DO THIS: Confess and pray to the Holy Spirit.
PRAY THIS: Holy Spirit, I confess my fears and reservations that have kept me from fully leaning into Your power and gifts. Today, I put aside those fears and invite You to work through me in new and transformative ways. Let me be a vessel for Your purposes, fearing only God and not the opinions of men. Amen.
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