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Empowered by God’s Spirit

Nancy McGuirk - Bible Commentator

To be full of God’s Spirit simply means to be controlled by the Spirit’s presence.

If ever we were faced with the situation, could we be as bold as Stephen and die for Christ? Yes, if we allow the Holy Spirit to empower our lives! In the second installment of a three-part series on the power of God’s Spirit, teacher and Bible commentator Nancy McGuirk offers a helpful and informative explanation of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit Empowers – Article 2 of 3

What is our reaction when we read the New Testament account of Stephen’s stoning? Do we feel inadequate? What comes to our minds? Do we ask ourselves, “Could I do that?” The answer is most likely, “No.” But the Holy Spirit in us can if we allow Him to empower our lives.

Perhaps many of you are thinking, “But Nancy, I don’t want to be empowered like that!” Well, God may not call many of us as Believers to be martyred, but He does call us to die to this world and become all that He intends us to be. We should strive to be available to God at all times, to glorify His name in every possible way. That is really the question before us as we examine Stephen’s life: Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us daily to bring glory to God?

What does it mean to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, or to be a person like Stephen, “full of the Spirit?” To be empowered or full of the Spirit simply means to be controlled or dominated by the Spirit’s presence and power. Our being filled by God’s Spirit is not a suggestion, but a commandment. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he writes, “Be filled and keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

God teaches us in His Word that there is one baptism, but many fillings. In other words there is one time that the Holy Spirit enters our heart, but many times that we choose to let Him have control of our hearts and our lives. Why? Because we like to be in control of our lives. Even after we come to Christ we still have a sinful nature that we must die to daily. Each day we must choose between two masters that we will serve: we either choose to be led by the flesh or led by the Holy Spirit.

Probably the best and most often used illustration of the filling of the Holy Spirit is the example of a sink in which water overflows as it continues to receive more water. That’s the way our lives should be—overflowing with God’s love for others as we continue to allow ourselves to receive His love for us.

Yet because we are human, we sometimes allow the flesh to control us instead of God’s Spirit. Every time we sin (or live according to the flesh), it is somewhat like opening the sink drain, because we grieve the Spirit and let a little of the water out. When we continually serve self, we experience spiritual dryness in our lives. But as we repent and place ourselves back under God’s Spirit to receive His nourishment and love, He empowers us once again and our sinks begin to overflow anew with His love.

Have you ever experienced an empowering or filling of God’s Spirit in your own life? This empowering sometimes enables us to endure painful circumstances, opposition and hardship. At other times it may be a special anointing for service, or an empowering for a particular task. In every one of these circumstances, we know that we are standing firm not because of our own ability, but because of God’s power. He faithfully grants us the ability to accomplish His eternal purpose—to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be certain that when we are at our very weakest, God provides His strength through the wondrous power of the precious Holy Spirit.

Nancy McGuirk - Bible commentator, small group facilitator, and intercessor - is the founder and director of the Women's Community Bible Study International. Nancy ministers to thousands of people each week in person and through a video and audio tape ministry. The focus of her work is evangelism, discipleship and intercessory prayer.

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