The Holy Spirit may be like slick okra – we are afraid to take in anything that we don’t have control over! Even to the most intellectual and sharpest among us the Holy Spirit is a mystery. In the words of Jesus he operates like the wind (John 3:8) coming and going as he likes. In spite of his mysterious existence, he is real. But, I am convinced, he is only real to those who experience him.
It was Jesus who said, “It is for your good that I am going away” (John 16:7). Why? Because, “I will send the Holy Spirit to you” (John 16:7). Jesus was bound by his physical presence with the disciples, but the Holy Spirit is not so bound. He dwells in all the earth. Peter quoted the prophet Joel in Acts 2 saying, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Joel 2:28-29). There are no physical limitations on the Holy Spirit of Jesus.
We should be challenged when we read the book of Acts by asking, “Is this a book of exceptions or examples?” (Rick Atchley, May 3, 2013) The Holy Spirit was active among the people of God then, what about now? Paul was clear, “His Spirit HIMSELF testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). Those who were to be chosen to serve in Acts 6 were to be “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (6:3). No doubt they visibly demonstrated the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Acts 13 records the Holy Spirit speaking to the worshipers in Antioch saying, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (13:2). Barnabas and Saul were “sent on their way by the Holy Spirit…” (13:4). The Holy Spirit remained active in the ministry of Paul and his companions as you can see from Acts 16:6-10. He wants to be active in our ministry also.
I asked in a Bible class, “Would you believe me if I told you that God called me to preach?” One brother was quick to speak and said, “NO! I wouldn’t believe you.” I have met some who have said that God was “dealing with me for years before I decided to surrender to his will.” Others have said, “God spoke to me and said…” Language that conveys that God is working in our life or ministry, apart from the Bible, is met with skepticism in many circles. Sad.
Why not open yourself up to the Holy Spirit rather than resist (Acts 7:51), grieve (Ephesians 4:30) or quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) Him? Why not “fan into flame” this great gift of God? (2 Timothy 1:6-8) Then, watch out!