I recently read a book written by my cousin, Delron Shirley. It is entitled, “Don’t Leave Home Without It”. The title refers to Jesus’ command for the disciples to go and preach the gospel to all nations, but to wait until they received the Holy Spirit.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples, showed them the wounds in His hands and feet and even ate fish and honeycomb so they would believe it was really Him. He explained how the law, prophets and the psalms all spoke of Him. Then he said, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Just before He ascended, Jesus told them again, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And they became those witnesses because they obeyed Jesus instructions to wait for the Holy Spirit to come.
Jesus told them to wait so they would not go out in their own wisdom, strength and ability, or in their own zeal. Sometimes our zeal can do more damage than good. Before the Holy Spirit was given, Peter’s zeal caused him to boast that he would not forsake Jesus, but his strength flagged and he denied Jesus. In their zeal, James and John had wanted to call down fire to destroy the Samaritans who would not receive Jesus into their territory. Jesus rebuked them. They needed zeal, but they needed the zeal of the Lord of hosts Who perfectly performs everything He has purposed. He will get the job done. Jesus knew they needed the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Without Him, they would fail.
Jesus had spoken to them earlier about rivers of living water. “ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Jesus had also taught the disciples that the Holy Spirit would be a Comforter Who would come alongside them just as Jesus had done for 3 ½ years. This Comforter or Helper would stay with each one of them always. He would be with them individually wherever they went.
Just as Jesus had been with the disciples to lead them in the right direction and set their course, the Holy Spirit would lead them. Just as He had taught them, the Holy Spirit would teach them. And He would bring to their remembrance the things Jesus had taught them.
The Holy Spirit would also give them miracle-working power, just as Jesus had when He was with them in the flesh. And the Spirit would make all the difference in the preaching of the Word, because He would make the Word alive in their hearts. Then their communication of His Word would have power and life for the hearers. People would be drawn by the Spirit of God and not the wisdom of man.
After they had waited for the Spirit in Jerusalem as Jesus had told them to do, the Spirit descended upon them in a mighty way. He came with the sound of a rushing mighty wind, and tongues of fire sat on each one. Of course, God had chosen just the right time. Jerusalem was crowded with people from many nations who were there to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. The disciples were enabled by this outpouring of the Holy Spirit to speak in the languages of all those present. Every language group heard them speak in their own language “the wonderful works of God”. Then Peter, who through fear had denied Jesus, stood up boldly and preached a powerful sermon that ended with 3,000 people believing in Jesus, receiving the gospel message, and being baptized.
The Holy Spirit will do everything for His disciples today that was promised to those first disciples. We can have the Holy Spirit operating in us and through us as rivers of living water. We all need to go and be His witnesses, but first we need the Holy Spirit. We need the guidance, power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit actively working in us and through us.
We won’t accomplish much without Him, but with Him, we can do exploits. Daniel 11:32 says, “but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” How can we be one of those people who know their God? We can know Him through the Holy Spirit living in us!
Great exploits are highly significant deeds and accomplishments that are considerable in power or number. It also includes being able to stand and take action in resisting evil and ungodliness.
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12) Because of the Spirit of God in His children, we can accomplish more in outreach. We can cover more territory with the same power, just like the disciples did when they scattered abroad. Read through the book of Acts and see what God will do through those who are surrendered to and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
The question is do you want to be normal with a wishy-washy relationship with God? Or do you want to really know Him? Do you want Him to work through you with mighty acts and His living, powerful Word? If we want to accomplish anything of eternal value, we must have the Holy Spirit. Without Him we can do nothing of lasting value.
The Holy Spirit leads us one step at a time, so where He leads may seem illogical to our human reasoning. But, if we follow the first step, we will see the second step more clearly and will eventually see the wisdom of His guidance. It takes faith to follow when it seems there is no reason to it. But the Spirit of God is much wiser than our human understanding. We can depend on Him to be right 100% of the time. Trust Him above all human wisdom.
Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will reveal to our reborn spirits things that our natural mind cannot understand. He reveals to us the wisdom of God, spiritual things that cannot be understood with human reasoning. He is there to give us whatever we need.
When the disciples were discouraged, Jesus encouraged them. When they didn’t understand, He taught them. When they put emphasis on the wrong things (like who would be greatest), He corrected them. When they were afraid, He rebuked their lack of faith…and calmed the storm. When they didn’t know which way to go, He led them.
The Holy Spirit will do the same for you! So, when you are discouraged, go to Him. When you don’t understand, learn from Him. When He corrects you, receive it and grow from it. When storms come your way, have faith that He will bring you out. When you don’t know which way to go, follow Him.
You can receive the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to have a degree or go to a certain place. You don’t have to go wait in Jerusalem. You can receive the Spirit wherever you are and start from there.
Jesus said, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Why not ask right now? Just surrender your life to Jesus and say, “I want to be controlled and led by the Holy Spirit.” Then begin working alongside Him!