This article is part of a small series of foundational articles, the series starts with "What are foundations" then moves to " Total surrender to Jesus Christ ", " Understanding Repentance ", " Baptism in Water ", Empowerment to be, and " Living after the Spirit ".
Empowerment is a hot subject with some Christians, and I have heard a few different theories about how to become empowered, and what the "secrets" to empowerment are. But as Jesus taught this, it is really quite simple and straight forward when we accept that this comes out of a place of repentant surrender to Jesus, with the full release of His life inside us that comes with Baptism in Water. This article deals with the beginning of empowerment and articles "Empowerment 2" and Empowerment 3" follow on from it.
It is helpful to start by sorting out our thoughts and thinking, trying to see things from our Father's point of view. Think for a moment about what you envision "Christian empowerment" should look like. Most Christians tend to agree that Jesus Christ modelled this for us, but few actually believe we can live there. Now what do you think our Father thinks about this?
Next think about what your personal relationship with God should look like in order for His power to be flowing through and around you. Finally, consider the empowerment areas that you would like to see functioning strongly as a product of your relationship with our Father.
How are we empowered?
The beginning looked like this:-
John 20:22, 23 . Then he (Jesus) breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven."
. And, being gathered together with them, (Jesus) commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, you have heard about from me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
When they gathered together, they asked him, saying, Lord,will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has reserved for His control. But you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses about me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Acts 2:1 - 4 . On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (tongues), as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
There was a huge difference between Jesus blowing on the disciples in Acts 1 and what happened in Acts 2. It is really all there in verse 8 (highlighted), so it is not really enough to just receive Holy Spirit, but be supernaturally filled with Him with the appropriate signs.
When we are filled (or baptised) with the Holy Spirit, there are many changes that take place. We become naturally much more able to live out the Christ Life and there is generally more depth to the level of relationship we experience with God.
It is helpful to see what the early Christians understood about living out of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18-20 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This scripture speaks about a fullness so powerful that Christians appear to be drunk (as they did on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2) and to be feeling the effects of the Love of God in such a powerful way inside, which has the effect of propelling us into deeper relationship with our Father.
Miracles small and large follow as we grow spiritually in Him, learning to obey His promptings and thoughts.
Other clues are found in the following passages:
Romans 14:17, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you , whom you have of God? And you are not your own,
2 Corinthians 13:14, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all . Amen.
Ephesians 1:13, ... you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 4:30, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God , by whom you are sealed until the day of redemption .
Jude 1:20, But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit ,
John 7:37-39 And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)
How did they understand people got baptised in the Holy Spirit?
They understood that Jesus in us baptises them. Matthew 3:11 (John the Baptist speaking) I indeed baptise you with water to repentance. But He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; Luke 3:16,17.
They understood that our Father is wanting to give to those who ask. Luke 11:13. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?
They understood that laying on of hands to impart spiritual blessing is important with this. Acts 8:17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:6 .And as Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Staying filled with the Holy Spirit
If we modernise the language a bit in John 3 it reads like this.
John 3:16-21 . He that does truth naturally comes to the light and lives for light but he that does self avoids the light seeking to hide. He does not wish for the glamour of limelight but the natural drawing into the light and light places causes his deeds to be made manifest because they flow out of connection with Father and Father is at work doing stuff that is very visible. We do not actively seek to be visible but it happens and we need to take hold of some willingness to allow Father to do that by being focused on occupying our internal truth and light space in Him without compromise or apology to anyone else.
It helps if we develop sensitivity to catch the hiding reflex that comes up inside us when we have been doing against Father’s wishes. It is a sneaky resentment to being exposed doing rebellion, but doing TRUTH brings a reward and a cleanness inside that does not hide or condemn or seek to justify or excuse the acts of self. If we are sensitive to the beginnings of hiding, we can stop it in its tracks early so we can continue in doing Truth.
Seeking Truth and doing Truth has its rewards in living out righteousness and in strong deep peace that holds and maintains and carries all the knowing and perspective to do His will dynamically, to see with His seeing/perception and to hear what He would speak with a full and gracious heart. There is no other foolishness quite like unrighteousness to take us out of continuous fullness of the Holy Spirit.
You can only inspire people to places that you know that you know.
Praying in tongues is a personal tool for this, and for other areas of our walk.
10 power pointsWhen you are baptised in the Holy Spirit you receive:-
- Power Acts 1:8,
- A comforter (He stands by you and gives you strength) John 14:26,
- Protection Acts 16:6,
- A different mind Ephesians 2:3-6,
- New Life 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 instead of death,
- A life in partnership with the Spirit of Truth John 16:13,
- Access to the Father Ephesians 2:18,
- Hope Romans 15:13,
- Liberty 2 Corinthians 3:17,
- A supernatural experience that is a beginning of many and involves speaking in tongues Acts 10:44.