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January 19, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”—Acts 1:8 (ESV)
Have you ever felt like a failure as a Christian? Perhaps you’ve been struggling with a particular sin for years, you aren’t able to summon the courage to share your faith with a coworker, or you just can’t seem to trust God with your finances. Whatever it is, believe me, I can relate to the feeling of blowing it again and again.
One day; however, a lightbulb went off as I was reading a book titled, The God I Never Knew. In it, author and pastor Robert Morris explained the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and he posed a simple, yet profound question. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you’ve failed at living the Christian life, in whose strength have you been trying to do it?”
At that moment, I realized my power source was insufficient for the task of holy living. I was trying to live the Christian life in my own strength, even though I knew that in John 15:5 Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing. And in today’s passage of Scripture, Jesus instructs His disciples to go to Jerusalem and to wait for the Holy Spirit’s power to be given to them before going out into the world to share the gospel. In other words, we can’t be effective witnesses for Christ without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
After coming to this realization, I felt two things: relief and hunger. You see, when we stop depending on ourselves to do what God has asked us to do, there’s tremendous freedom in it. But it does require that we become hungry enough to seek His presence and to wait on Him to fill us. So, as I set aside time to fast and pray regularly, I asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit—and that’s exactly what He did.
I have a long way to go in my journey toward sanctification, but when I stumble now, I know three things to be true: 1. I’ve probably defaulted back to my own strength in whatever area I’m wrestling with; 2. God’s grace is sufficient for me; and 3. His power is made perfect in my weakness.
Christian, if you are down on yourself for some repeated failure or sin today, take heart! Not only does Jesus love you and forgive you, He wants to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can experience lasting freedom and joy. Just ask Him!
DIG: Why did Jesus tell His disciples to go to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit to give them power? What do you think would have happened if they had attempted to preach the gospel without it?
DISCOVER: Are there areas of the Christian life you repeatedly struggle with? If so, ask yourself honestly in whose strength you have been working.
DO: Spend time in prayer and fasting (if you are able) and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately; keep asking, seeking, and knocking and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:8; Luke 11:10).