because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with great conviction—just as you know we lived among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5
As a freshman in the spring of 1981 , I participated in an off campus retreat for training on how to use Campus Crusades “For Spiritual Laws” witnessing booklet. As we went home on Friday night our assignment before returning on Saturday morning was to memorize the booklet word for word. We also had to memorize Bill Bright’s definition of successful evangelism – “Taking the initiative to share the gospel in the power of the Spirit and leaving the results to God.”
When it comes to the presentation of the gospel, what have you witnessed or defined as the greatest illustrations of power?
This question might make some Christians a little nervous. Our minds are tempted to be drawn into thinking that great power leads to great miracles and great faith. If Jesus is our standard, we have a long way to go to reach the level of miracles that He performed like feeding the 5000, healing the paralytic, raising the dead or walking on water. But are these the only standards that God uses when He expects us to operate in the power of the Spirit when sharing the gospel?
Sometimes Yes. When Peter and John were walking to the temple, they healed a man who was lame since birth. The miracle drew a crowd of people, and then Peter preached how each one could also become a follower of Jesus. Peter declared that he and John accomplished this miracle because of the power and authority of Jesus, who was still alive. People looked at the miracle, heard the words and became followers of Jesus.
Here is the deal. For the believer in Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is released when you respond in faith to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Hear what the Spirit is asking you to do, and then do it. Even Jesus declared that He only spoke and did what He saw His father doing. Jesus walked in perfect obedience to the Spirit’s leading. The powerful signs were a testimony that God’s power and authority on the earth rested in and on Jesus’ life.
God’s power is released during your obedience in two ways. First, your born again, transformed spirit is leading over fleshly fears. You want to respond in anger, but you respond in love. You want to hold bitterness against those who hurt you, but you forgive. You want to be unkind to those who hurt you, like eye for eye, instead you serve then with joy. You want to keep quiet, but you speak the truth in love. You want to be afraid of men, but boldness keeps pushing you forward.
Secondly, power is released in response to faithful actions. Even though, the Spirit prompts us to do something, the power is released during the act of faithful obedience. Peter and John told the man to rise and walk, then Peter took him by the hand. Notice Peter’s faith was in action as he grabbed the man’s hand, then healing power entered into the man’s legs. Power was released during and on the actions of faith.
Power of God is present, but it is released during actions of faith. The actions could be as simple as speaking what God is saying. I personally have seen God move or settle storms coming our way in the same manner as Jesus speaking to the waves to be still. I can’t make it happen on my own or speak it whenever I want to. But I clearly know when by faith I spoke to the disaster to not come my way. The key is the prompting of the Holy Spirit and giving voice to what He is saying. Power was demonstrated in Jesus life when He spoke. Even the disciples were amazed at the authority that was demonstrated to the demons when they spoke to them in Jesus name.
Our transformed lives are a testimony of God’s resurrection power at work in our life. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave abides in us. Our born again testimony from what we were to what we are now is an open display of God’s power. Our testimony should be clearly evident…if God can change me, He can change you also.
When following the Spirit, you may see signs and miracles. Those expressions of His power are totally up to God when and how He desires for them to become evident around you. We are only responsible to act in obedience, not to determine the outcome. I will say, if you have a desire to see certain miracles happen through you…God’s Spirit is already planting the seed for that fruit to come forth in your life.
Be careful not to try to compare the power of God from one person to another. It is all God’s power and authority that He ask us to steward. Everyone in the body o Christ has different giftings and different paths to take. Our only measurement is our own exercise in obedience to the Spirit’s leading in our lives. There is NO quota of signs or miracles for you to accomplish. Be the best witness that God has called YOU to be for His name’s sake.
So when it comes to operating in the power of the Spirit, you need to back up a couple of steps and answer these questions.
- Are you seeking and giving full control of your life daily to the infilling of the Holy Spirit? If not, can you identify what is holding you back?
- Are there sins, that you have been unwilling to confess to get your heart clean and pure before God?
- Do you know how to discern God’s voice speaking to you?
- Is there an act of resistance to the prompting of the Holy Spirit that you are unwilling to engage? Forgiving another person? Withholding a monetary gift
- Many times the Holy Spirit waits at this point of obedience, before He moves forward. He waits for us to follow through. Our disobedience to that leading, no matter how small we believe it to be, is a quenching of His power to work within us.
Hopefully you realize that all of God’s power is available to you in Christ Jesus. You and I are only responsible to follow the Spirit’s leading in faithful obedience. Our new birth in Jesus is the greatest of miracles. Other signs of healing and miracles are expressions flowing from the presence of the Holy Spirit from within that transformed life.
Take the initiative to share the gospel today…and watch how the power of the Spirit will be on display
Blessings Love y’all