Empowered by the Spirit
The filling of God’s Spirit in our lives is reflected through both the maturing process by which we are transformed into Christ’s image and by the Spirit’s empowerment to proclaim Christ. The Spirit has come to testify about who Jesus is and to be a witness to his saving work in the world (John 15:26-27; 16:8-11). The Spirit also empowers Jesus’ disciples to be witnesses (Acts 1:8), testifying not only through what they say and do (Matt 10:17-20) but also through the testimony of their lives (2 Corinthians 3:2-6).
In the Old Testament we see the Spirit coming upon God’s people, enabling them to either act by his power or prophesy under his influence (Jud 14:6; 1 Sam 10:10-11). Similarly, God’s Spirit filled Jesus’ disciples in the early church to accomplish his purpose to proclaim Christ (Acts 2:4; 4:7-8; 4:31). The power of God’s Spirit was evident in both word and deed as well as in signs and wonders (Rom 15:18-19; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5). However, the power of the Spirit looks very different than worldly expressions of power - Jesus came in the weakness of human flesh yet lived by the power of God (2 Corinthians 13:4). So too, it is in our own weakness that the power of God is evident through the strength of his grace and love (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
The Spirit’s empowerment is also expressed in his gifting of all believers for the purpose of serving others and building up the church (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Spirit reveals himself through his gifting of each member of the body of Christ, which he distributes to both men and women as he chooses (1 Corinthians 12:7). There is a diversity of gifts, yet the source is the same one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). Each gift contributes toward the Spirit’s purpose of serving and building up the church. Since the gifts are an expression of God’s grace, God’s love must be the motivation for using one’s gifts (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Since Christ himself suffered, we should not be surprised when we also experience suffering (1 Pet 2:21; 3:17-18; 4:12-14). The presence of God’s Spirit in our lives offers us comfort and hope in the midst of our suffering and help in our weakness (Rom 8:26-30). It is in our weakness that the power of God is at work making visible the life of Jesus through us (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).
How have you experienced the empowerment of the Spirit this week?