You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. — Acts 1:8
I have a bargain for you to consider, a really great deal on a new tripod. It is top of the line, weather resistant, and lightweight. It folds up to fit in a backpack. It adjusts to secure any type of camera. This tripod can be a treasure that you pass down to all future photographers in your family. Interested? I’m offering it one-third off the regular price. It’s only fair that I do since this tripod is missing one-third of its legs. Yes, this is a two-legged tripod. Imagine the convenience of one fewer legs to fold up and pack. No wonder it is so lightweight. Besides, who needs all three legs?
What’s that? You do? You’re unconvinced of the value? You’d rather wait for a three-legged tripod?
Well, okay. Then let me move on to bargain number two, a tricycle. Just think of the joy your youngster will have riding up and down the sidewalk on this spectacular trike. Fire-engine red. Tassels that dangle from the handles. And, listen to this, a little bell that sits on the handlebar. Again, a great bargain. I’m offering it at one-third the original price. With these savings you can take the entire family out to dinner! There is, however, the small matter of one missing wheel. But the trike still has two. Little Johnny will eventually need to ride a two-wheeler anyway. Might as well start him out right. Buy him this two-wheeled trike.
You’re giving me that look again. You’re rolling your eyes at me the way Denalyn does. Now you are sighing. Come on, don’t walk away. Okay, the two-legged tripod is no good. The two-legged tricycle falls short of your expectations. But I have one more bargain for you to consider.
Have you ever seen a prism? Nothing captures the radiance of sunlight like a triangular prism. You’ll spend hours caught up in rapt fascination with the refractions of this simple tool. Entertain the kids. Impress your date. Get a good grade in science class. No home is complete without a triangular prism. This one is particularly suited for the budget-minded consumer. A slight factory defect has left one side of the triangle opaque. The other two sides work fine, mind you. But one third resists the light rather than refracts it. Granted, the flaw is a slight disadvantage, but on the other hand who else on your block owns a two-sided prism? Of course, I’ll lower the price by one-third to compensate for the defect.
Don’t be so quick to shake your head. Think about it. One-third off the price for a tripod that is missing a leg, a trike that is missing a wheel, or a prism that is missing a side. Do you not see the value here?
Of course you don’t, and I don’t blame you. Who settles for two-thirds when you can have the whole?
Many Christians do. Ask a believer to answer the question “Who is God the Father?” He has a reply. Or “Describe God the Son.” She will not hesitate. But if you want to see believers hem, haw, and search for words, ask, “Who is the Holy Spirit?”
Many believers settle for a two-thirds God. They rely on the Father and the Son but overlook the Holy Spirit. You wouldn’t make that mistake with a tripod, trike, or prism. You certainly don’t want to make that mistake with the Trinity. Your Bible refers more than a hundred times to the Holy Spirit. Jesus says more about the Holy Spirit than He does about the church or marriage. In fact, on the eve of His death, as He prepared His followers to face the future without Him, He made this great and precious promise:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. — Acts 1:8
Imagine all the promises Jesus could have made to the disciples but didn’t. He didn’t promise immediate success. He didn’t promise the absence of disease or struggles. He never guaranteed a level of income or popularity. But He did promise the perpetual, empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is central to the life of the Christian. Everything that happens from the book of Acts to the end of the book of Revelation is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ. The Spirit came alongside the disciples, indwelled them, and gave the early church the push they needed to face the challenges ahead.
Perhaps you could use a push.
Several years ago when my legs were stronger, my belly was flatter, and my ego was bigger, I let my friend Pat convince me to enter a bike race. Not just any bike race, mind you, but a race that included a one and a half mile climb up a steep hill with a gradient of 12 percent. In other words it was a tough, climb-out-of-the-saddle, set-your-thighs-on-fire, and prepare-to-suck-air-for-ten-minutes section of the race. Appropriately called the Killer Diller, it lived up to the hype.
I knew its reputation. Still, I signed up because Pat, my riding buddy, told me I could make it. Easy for Pat to say. He is fifteen years my junior and has competed since his elementary school days. He was riding in pelotons before most of us knew what they were. When I balked at the idea of completing the race, he assured me, “Believe me, Max. You will make it.”
I almost didn’t.
In quick fashion the riders who belonged there left those of us who didn’t far behind. We, the barrel-bellied laggards, made jokes about the upcoming ascent. But we didn’t joke for long. It takes wind to talk. We soon needed all the wind we could muster to climb. I pushed and huffed and puffed, and about that point the ascent began. By the time I was halfway to the top, my thighs were on fire, and I was having less-than-pleasant thoughts about my friend Patrick.
That is when I felt the push. A hand was pressing against the small of my back. I turned and looked. It was Pat! He had already completed the race. Anticipating my utter exhaustion, he had hurried back up the hill, dismounted his bike, and scurried to give me a hand. Literally. He began pushing me up the hill! (The fact that he could keep up with me tells you how slowly I was pedaling.) “I told you that you would make it,” he shouted. “I came to make sure you did.”
The Holy Spirit promises to do the same. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit became the primary agent of the Trinity on earth. He will complete what was begun by the Father and the Son. Though all three expressions of the Godhead are active, the Spirit is taking the lead in this, the final age.
The Spirit promises to give us power, unity, supervision, and holiness: P-U-S-H. Need a push?
He promises power to the saint. He is the animating force behind creation.
All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time. When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When You send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. — Psalm 104:27-30
Every unfolding flower is a fingerprint of God’s Spirit.
If God were to withdraw His Spirit, all life would disappear and mankind would turn again to dust. — Job 34:14-15 TLB
The Spirit of God is a life-giving force to creation and, more significantly, a midwife of new birth for the believer. Jesus told Nicodemus:
Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again.” The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. — John 3:5-8
The Holy Spirit enters the believer upon confession of faith (Ephesians 1:13). From that point forward the Christian has access to the very power and personality of God. As the Spirit has His way in the lives of believers, a transformation occurs. They begin to think the way God thinks, love the way God loves, and see the way God sees. They minister in power and pray in power and walk in power.
This power includes the gifts of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23
These attributes appear in the life of the saint in the same way an apple appears on the branch of an apple tree. Fruit happens as a result of relationship. Sever the branch from the tree, and forget the fruit. Yet if the branch is secured to the trunk, nutrients flow, and fruit results.
So it is with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As our relationship with God is secured and unmarred by rebellion, sin, or stubborn behavior, we can expect a harvest of fruit. We needn’t force it. But we can expect it. It simply falls to us to stay connected.
Want to see [the Holy Spirit’s] to-do list?
- Comfort the believers (Acts 9:31).
- Guide the believer into all truth (John 16:13).
- Reveal the things that are still to come (John 16:13).
- Offer prayers of intercession (Romans 8:26).
- Bear witness that the saint is saved (Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:16).
- Attest to the presence of God with signs and miracles (Hebrews 2:4; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Romans 15:18-19).
- Create a godlike atmosphere of truth (John 14:16-17), wisdom (Deuteronomy 34:9; Isaiah 11:2), and freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
The list of his activities is varied, wonderful, and incomplete without this word: holy. The Spirit of God also makes us holy. After all, is He not the Holy Spirit? One of His primary activities is to cleanse us from sin and to sanctify us for holy work. Paul reminded the Corinthians:
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. — 1 Corinthians 6:11
Make it your aim to sense, see, and hear the Spirit of God. Would you use a two-legged tripod? Two-wheeled trike? Two-sided prism? Of course not. Avail yourself of all God has to offer. Fix your heart on this promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8).
Excerpted with permission from Unshakable Hope by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.
Hear from Max about Unshakable Hope
* * *
Are you settling for two-thirds of God when you can have the whole God? All three Persons? Let’s pray today to connect with the part of the Trinity who indwells us and empowers us! Come join the conversation about the Holy Spirit on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily