Today was providential. I passed by a street this morning that is usually just full of diggings and saw a startling sight. Gallons upon gallons of fresh, clear water gushed forth deluging the street. Months ago that spot was covered with layers of concrete. But our village association found a competent well digger to select a spot out of the many hectares of land in our village and find us water. And find water, he did after months and months of digging!
This incident happened many years ago. I cite it because I believe this is very much like our life in the Spirit. Who else but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit can fathom the depth of one’s life and know that there is a deep potential for life, life in its fullest, within each one of us just waiting to be tapped?
Previous to my own BCLP and baptism in the Holy Spirit, I never considered myself a ‘spiritual’ person. But since that event I have never looked back nor have ever had the inclination or reason to abandon my life in the Spirit. I find strength, empowerment and encouragement in His words in John 14:5-20: He will be with me forever, even the Spirit of truth … He says, “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you and because I live, you will live also … you in me, and I in you.”
Life in the Spirit is truly an experience in empowerment. Within our BCBP community context, we find ourselves enfolded in a Spirit-environment, enabling us, encouraging us, supporting us to do the will of the Father. We remember the Hebrew baby boy set afloat in the waters of the Nile who grew up to lead the Israelite nation out of bondage. And the young shepherd boy anointed to be cone of Israel’s greatest kings. One after another we see the unlikeliest of prophets all resisting and running away from the call of the Lord who yet end up accomplishing His will with full obedience and trust. Yes, we resist being asked to step beyond our limitations (sometimes even hearing the complaint “abuse of the Holy Spirit”) but when we do, we find that we soar with confidence to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus clearly says this in John 14:12-14: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if yhou ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
In the account of Stephen in the book of Acts, chapter 2, we see that Stephen, filled with grace and power, worked great wonders and signs among the people (v.8), speaking with wisdom and the spirit (v.10). When he appeared before the Sanhedrim his face was ‘like the face of an angel’ (v.15). Imagine the great transformation in this man! This to me is a true miracle of empowerment!
How do we know the Holy Spirit was involved in Stephen’s transformation, and the transformation of many others in that early Christian community? By their fruits! We see lives transformed way beyond any human estimation, experience or native talent. This, I believe, is the core of the miracle of spiritual empowerment, when with the help of the Spirit, we can say one plus one equals one thousand … when out of nothingness through simple obedience and trust we become witness and participant in the unveiling of great spiritual works through the unlikeliest of human “instruments”.
Does this mean we are to throw away all possible human means of approaching a life in the Spirit and depend solely on the Spirit to work? Does it mean that we should abandon all BCBP teaching, training and leading by example to rely solely on the laying of hands? No, I don’t believe so. As in the principle of making an offering, we do not come before the Lord empty-handed. We offer something for him to bless, no matter how ‘human’ it may seem. So, no matter how simple or basic our teaching programs may seem to be, let us remain involved and active, so we will have a committed discipleship life to offer to the Lord and Holy Spirit to empower.
Looking at the letters in the word EMPOWER, we can recognize the fruits of a Spirit-empowered life. E – Equips, M – Motivates, P – Prays, O – Obeys, W – Wisdom, E – Encourages and Enlivens, R – Responds and Renews.
What, then, is empowerment? The dictionary says it is to enable, to give ability and to authorize. This is the delightful task of the Holy Spirit – to enable us to live full lives as Christ’s disciples in today’s world, to give us the ability to transform our lives, and to authorize us to do the work He has planned for us to do. In the BCBP He calls us to bring our marketplaces to Christ and to bring Christ into our marketplaces.
Even as we allow ourselves to be empowered, transformed and as we answer God’s call in our BCBP community, we will find we are abundantly blessed and, wonder of all wonders, we become a blessing to others. We can then say with Job: “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you.” Job 42:1-6