The Power of the Spirit; June 3, 2017

1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”

Language is an interesting thing. Reading the NIV, the implication is that “God’s Spirit will bring power to you.” However, the Japanese comes across as, “God’s Spirit will come powerfully/violently on you.” Once again I wish I knew Hebrew! However, in either case we see that God’s Spirit isn’t something to be trifled with. Encounters with Him certainly change us. For Saul, the sad thing was that it didn’t change him enough. He got blinded by the honor of being anointed king and forgot that he was totally dependent on God. He, along with Solomon, are two of the saddest figures in the Old Testament to me, because after initial, very promising, encounters with God, they descended into depending on the gifts God had given them rather than on God Himself. I am reminded of various prominent figures in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement in particular who have fallen rather spectacularly. That is a sad object lesson to us that God’s gifts, even His power, aren’t merit badges but tools, to be used in all humility and obedience. Actually, we are all likewise tempted to think that what God has given us is ours, that is, innate and a matter of personal accomplishment. Nothing could be further from the truth! Our very existence is totally dependent on God’s grace and will, and the better we grasp that and live accordingly, the better our lives will be from every angle.

With tomorrow being Pentecost Sunday, the phrase in the NIV caught my attention. I would be thrilled for the Holy Spirit to come upon us all tomorrow, but I can no more make that happen than Saul could have done so in his own strength. Whatever good happens tomorrow, I’ve got to receive it in all humility and gratitude, not just rejoicing in the moment but walking in consistent gratitude and obedience. I’ll be speaking on how being filled with the Holy Spirit is for power to be Christ’s witnesses. That’s something we all desperately need! I need to remember that the tense of the verb in Paul’s famous statement indicates that it should be translated as, “Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) I’m never to feel I have been “filled enough,” but remember that I am created to be a pipe and not a bucket. God’s supply is infinite, (John 3:34) so my part is to let Him flow through me more and more.

Father, I have more excitement about Pentecost Sunday than I have had in many years. Thank You. Keep me from trying to make things happen, but keep me also fully responsive and obedient to You so that You may do all that You desire to do. You have indicated that You are going to make real changes in this church. Help us welcome whatever You do tomorrow, whether it’s visible or not, so that we may indeed be transformed into the body that You desire here, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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