An American, viewing Niagara Falls with an Englishman friend, said, “Come and I will show you the greatest unused power in the world.” They proceeded to the foot of the falls, and the host remarked, “There is the greatest unused power in the world.” His Englishman friend replied, “Oh, no, my friend, the greatest unused power in the world is the Holy Spirit of the living God.”
Jesus promised His followers, before He ascended to heaven following His resurrection, that “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8) That promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, and from that day forward to the present hour, every person who receives Christ as Savior is indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. (John 14:17)
A lady once said to a preacher, “I got the Holy Spirit last night.” (Unless she had just been saved, that was the wrong terminology.) The preacher said, “I know something better than that.” She asked, “What could be better than that?” To which the man of God responded, “It would be far better if the Holy Spirit could get all of you.”
Again, the 19th century evangelist D.L. Moody was the subject of a committee of ministers searching for the right man to conduct a city-wide evangelistic campaign. One young minister wanted to know why the committee would consider Mr. Moody, asking, “Does he have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” There was silence before an older, godly preacher replied, “No, he does not have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D.L. Moody.”
One well-respected Bible teacher said it well in a message he preached 60 years ago on Romans 5:1-11: “Wherever the Christian church is weak (and it is weak in many places), and wherever Christians are weak individually, it is always because they have never graduated into the high school of the Holy Spirit—they are still babes in Christ, no matter how long they have been Christians.” (Ray Steadman)
The Bible teaches that God the Holy Spirit indwells each believer; He also instructs, convicts, guides, and intercedes in prayer for us before the Father’s throne of mercy. (John 14:17,26; 15:26; 16:8; Romans 8:16) The Holy Spirit is God the Spirit, often referred to as the “third member of the Trinity.” He possesses a will (I Cor. 12:11), omniscient knowledge (I Cor. 2:10,11) and all the attributes of personality. (Rom. 8:27; 15:30; I Cor. 2:13) He is known in scripture as the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord God, the Spirit of your Father, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God’s Son, the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of worship and truth, the Spirit of life, faith, adoption and love, and the Spirit of eternity, grace and glory. He can be lied to, resisted, grieved and blasphemed. He is God and is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. He is likened in scripture to breath or wind; a dove; fire, light and living water; the earnest of our inheritance and the seal of our redemption.
Any believer who earnestly strives to serve and please God must know, hear, follow, and trust the indwelling guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. Someone asked how he could know the Holy Spirit was living in him. The answer: the same way you know there is music on a DVD. You can read the label and believe it is truthful, or you can play the DVD and hear the music. We can believe the Holy Spirit indwells us because God tells us in the Bible He does; and we can experience His indwelling presence as we obey God’s Word in surrender and observe His mighty working in our lives—moment by moment, day by day—as we are filled by God’s Spirit for service.
British pastor and author John Stott was the subject of a friend’s tribute on Stott’s 80th birthday. The tribute read: “Stott has begun each day with a prayer like this: ‘Good morning, heavenly Father. Good morning, Lord Jesus. Good morning, Holy Spirit.’ Stott then goes on to worship each member of the Trinity individually, acknowledging and praising them for their work in the lives of believers. He then continues, ‘Father, I pray that I may live this day in Your presence and please You more and more. Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow You. Holy Spirit, I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three Persons in one God, have mercy upon me. Amen.’” (copied)
I like what Maurice Wood commented about the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our day-by-day Christian living: “The Holy Spirit loves to so arrange men’s circumstances that they are brought within the sphere of God’s influence.” Well, we know that there is not a place on earth that we are not within the “sphere of God’s influence,” but I think we know what Wood meant. We read in the Bible how God arranges the circumstances in and through the lives of His people—either the nation of Israel or the Church that He is continually building. And we can attest that He is still leading, guiding, guarding and arranging our work and walk to bring us to our realization that there is nothing we can do apart from His Holy Spirit’s empowerment that will please and glorify God and yield eternal dividends.
A mouse and an elephant were constant traveling companions. One day, after they had crossed a bridge that spanned a deep ravine, the mouse exclaimed, “Boy, we really shook that old bridge.” Thus it is with God and us. We really “shook” that old bridge. But if there is any shaking done, it is the Holy Spirit of God that does it.
The British missionary Hudson Taylor wrote, “Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence with them.”
Let us never attempt anything for God’s glory and for His Kingdom’s advancement without obeying the injunction to “be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18) Every Christian is already indwelt; filling comes through surrender to God’s Spirit, moment by moment. He is our sole source of spiritual power. Without that power, we are powerless. Never forget it. Never forget Him.
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55–on the occasion of Stephen’s martyrdom.)