‘When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth
(John. 16:13). These are the words of Jesus Christ.
He was speaking about the Holy Spirit whom he promised to his disciples. After the ascension of Jesus, the disciples stayed back in Jerusalem and spent their days in prayer in expectation of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Finally, on the day of the Pentecost, that great event happened. Fulfilling the prophecy of Joel, the Holy Spirit was showered upon the disciples. The rest is history. Jesus’ disciples turned the world upside down by giving witness to him starting from Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria and then to the ends of the earth. Those disciples, who earlier confined themselves to a room for fear of the Jews, were transformed into fountains of strength in a moment. It was the work of the Holy Spirit. But for the world it was amazing. They couldn’t grasp the truth behind this sudden transformation of these ordinary mortals to fortresses of strength. They knew nothing about the promise of Jesus that when the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples, they will receive power. But the Apostles knew what really happened. Peter’s speech is the best evidence.
Ours is a time when the Holy Spirit is poured out on every human being. Like the Apostles, we too are entitled to be anointed with the Spirit. This is because sending the Holy Spirit to us was the most important result of the sacrifice of Jesus in the cross. No doubt, Jesus died not only for his disciples, but for the entire human race.
If that is the case, why are we still afraid to open our mouths and proclaim the good news to others like Peter? Why are we afraid to stand trial before governors and authorities like Paul? Why are we terrified at the very thought of death even after reading how Stephen faced his cruel death by stoning? Why are we so weak in faith and tremble at the first instance when our faith is questioned? Why do we permit ourselves to be swayed by the false teachings of false prophets?
Questions are many. But the answer is one. We are yet to experience the true power of the Holy Spirit. Once we experience it, we will not be scared to sail to unknown shores to share the good news. We will not feign ignorance when we are called to give witness to Jesus Christ. We will gladly welcome death in Christ rather than compromise our faith. The history of early Christians tells us how they were treated like second-class citizens and persecuted, and how they withstood every attack against faith.
Having read this, if anybody feels that they want to experience the anointment of the Holy Spirit, we are glad. Because the purpose of this article is to invite you all to experience the biggest gift in this world, which is life in the Spirit.
Well, a new life in the Spirit is totally free. You need not spend a penny for it. You need not wait for days, months or years. But you need to have one thing, the only precondition to receive the Holy Spirit. You should thirst for the Spirit. Unless you are thirsty, you cannot enjoy the drink. More important, there is no point in giving water to somebody who does not feel thirsty. Jesus knew this. That is why he said once; “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water”. Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified’ (John 7: 37-39).
Read carefully; Jesus describes what should be done to get the anointment of the Holy Spirit. The first step is being thirsty to get the water of life. If we are thirsty, we have passed the first test. What next? As the next step we should seek the Spirit. Though we are thirsty, but remain where we are, nobody can help us. We need to go to the place where water is available. This is the reason Jesus tells; ‘Let any one who is thirsty come to me’. Seeking the Holy Spirit completes the second step.
Naturally the third step is drinking. We are thirsty and we have reached the fountain of water. Then what else to do? But here Jesus inserts a small condition. ‘Let the one who believes in me drink’. Holy Spirit is the reward to the one who believes in Jesus Christ. What do we mean by this ‘belief in Jesus’. It may look a little awkward to ask this elementary question to practising Christians. But we are discussing something very important and we need to clear the air before proceeding further. If we can boldly say that ‘This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone’. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved'( Acts 4:11-12), we can say that we believe in Jesus. Confess Jesus as your personal saviour and then go to him. He will give you the water of life which is nothing but the Holy Spirit.
What then? Let us study what Jesus did when he was filled with the Spirit. ‘Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil’ ( Luke 4:1-2). Beware! Holy Spirit comes with a lot of problems. There is no prospect of any material gain. Apart from that the Spirit leads us straight to the wilderness where the evil one waits for us. Why it is so? It has to be so, because the fruits of the Spirit are well manifested in the fight against the evil. God knows that when we are fresh from the anointment of Holy Spirit, we are in a better position to combat the devil. That is why He permits us temptations immediately after a good retreat or prayer session from where we start getting the anointment of the Spirit. We might have wondered often that when we were leading a wayward life, it was easy going, but when we turn to God, the going becomes difficult. Hope you got the answer now. When we fight the devil and come out victorious with the help of the Spirit, our confidence increases. But remember, until the time we conquer him, the satan will keep on haunting us.
Now what? Again Jesus is our model. ‘Then ( after the temptation in the wilderness) Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee……….He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone’ (Luke 4:14-15). It is clear that the one and only duty of a person anointed with the Holy Spirit is to preach the gospel. There is no cooling period, no vacation, no interval. After conquering the devil, Jesus proceeds straight to Galilee to preach the good news.
Now many among us may start thinking, ‘What is this? Is it possible for every Christian to go and evangelise? Does God really mean it?’ We should not have an iota of doubt in that every baptised Christian is duty-bound to proclaim the good news. It need not be from the pulpit. It need not even be by preaching. Wherever you are and whatever you do, add the little salt of faith to it. Remember the words of our master. “You are the salt of the earth”. Holy Spirit will help us in accomplishing whatever we are into, in the Christian way. This is not difficult. Once we give our control to the Holy Spirit, whatever we do will automatically be for the greater glory of our God, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
We are coming to the most important part. When we surrender everything – our lives, our belongings, our faculties, knowledge, strength and weakness – to the will of the Holy Spirit, we will start experience the true life in Spirit. Then we are not alone in our journey. Rather we are not journeying at all. Instead the Holy Spirit carries us wherever God wants us to go. This is what happened to Philip. The Spirit prompted him to ‘go over to this chariot (the chariot in which the Ethiopian Eunuch was travelling) and join it’ ( Acts 8:29). After joining the Eunuch and explaining the scripture, Philip baptizes him. Then we read; ‘When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the Eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Ceasarea (Acts 8: 39-40). Philip did nothing by his own. Instead he obeyed what the Spirit told him. In the end, when his mission was completed, the Spirit carried him to Azotus,his next port of call.
It is a wonderful experience to be carried by the Spirit. Prophet Habakkuk was blessed to get a glimpse of how the Holy Spirit works. He was taking stew and broken bread in a bowl to be given to the reapers in the field. On the way he receives the order from God to go straight to Babylon where Daniel was kept in the lion’s den. For Habakkuk it was beyond his imagination to travel to an unknown land just for the purpose of serving food to somebody kept in a lion’s den. “Sir, I have never seen Babylon, and I know nothing about the den” (Daniel 14:35). But for God it was an important task to be executed then and there, and He knew how to get it done. More important, God decided that none other than Habakkuk should do it. ‘Then the angel of the Lord took him by the crown of his head and carried him by his hair, with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon, right over the den………..And the angel of God immediately returned Habakkuk to his own place’ ( Daniel 14: 36-39). It is indeed easy to be carried by the Spirit.
Our problem with the Holy Spirit is that we often think the other way. Unlike Philip and Habakkuk we think we have to carry the Holy Spirit once we get the anointment. Correct the misunderstanding right now. We need not carry the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that carries us wherever God wants us to go.
Carrying the Holy Spirit will lead you nowhere. Because the Spirit will be inactive in any person who counts it as a burden. On the contrary, if we allow ourselves to be carried by the Holy Spirit, we will reach the right destination as Philip reached Azotus and Habakkuk reached Babylon.
Ezekiel beautifully narrates the progress in the life of a person filled with the Spirit. He starts from the altar and after one thousand cubits the water was ankle-deep. Another one thousand cubit and the water level raises to knee-deep. Going further, water raises first to waist-deep and then it becomes a river which could not be crossed but by swimming. We know when we are in a river, it is the water that carries us. We never carry the water.
We wish all of you a life filled with the Holy Spirit. Thirst…..seek…..believe…come to Jesus…drink….preach… and allow ourselves to be carried by the Holy Spirit. We will reach our destination safely. Never try to swim against the current of Holy Spirit. Rebellion only takes us in the opposite direction.
Let us pray; ‘HOLY SPIRIT, HAVE YOUR WAY’.