Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just Like Us

  When you read the book of Acts you see men and women on fire for Jesus. You see the miracles of God being done through them. You see Peter getting freed from prison by an angel of the Lord. You see John and Peter being bold in their witness for Christ. You see Stephen speaking with great power. I want that. I want the power of Peter, the boldness of Paul and the love of John.  As I prayed this morning, I talked with the Lord about the Apostles and Disciples during the book of Acts. As we talked He reminded me that Peter, Paul, John, and all the other disciples and Apostles were simple men and women who loved Him. They are no different than me. Yet, somehow I do not see the similarities, I do not see the power or the boldness or the love in my life, and I asked my Lord, “Why is that?”
                “So He answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
Peter, Paul, John, all the men and women who we read about in Acts were just like us. They walked through trials, suffering and pain, they stumbled, and they fought fear and doubt- just like us. They were sinners in desperate need of a Savior- just like us. Peter denied Jesus, Paul persecuted the Church, and John sought glory next to Jesus in His kingdom. They were men and women who needed salvation just like you and me. But what set them apart? What made them into the men and women we see in the book of Acts? What was their secret? There is no secret. It was and is the power of God, the power of His Spirit- that is what set them apart- just like us.
They allowed God’s Spirit to possess them, to overtake them. They did not move mountains; God moved those mountains through them. It was by His Spirit that they were able to conquer the fiery darts of the enemy. It was by His Spirit that they were raised from the dead and it was by His Spirit that others were raised from the dead. It was not their power and their will that did the miracles, it was God Spirit working through them to reach the lost and save the nations. It was God’s Holy Spirit that spoke words of boldness. It was God’s Holy Spirit that told Tabitha to get up and walk. It was God’s Spirit that told Phillip to go to the desert and find a man in a Chariot reading the prophet Isaiah. It was God’s Spirit that came to Peter and told him to go and preach to Cornelius’s household so the Gentiles could be saved. It was God’s Spirit freely moving through His people to accomplish the work that He desired to do.

I saw today that I do not always live my life as if God’s Holy Spirit is living in me. I sometimes live my life as if the Holy Spirit is beside me, helping me do what God wants me to do. The Lord showed me that I do not allow the Holy Spirit to overtake me. I do not fully surrender to His will. The men and women that we read about in the book of Acts were men and women just like you and me. The difference was that they were fully surrendered; they were fully committed to be nothing so that God could be everything. They were holy men and women of God, just like us. They were disciples filled with the power of God, just like us.
Do we live our lives in the Spirit of God? Do we allow Him to possess us? Do we allow Him to speak for us, to walk for us, to move mountains for us? I have come to a place in my walk, I believe, where I need to make a choice. I can teach, I can write, I can lead a women’s study, but am I doing it in His Spirit or in my own spirit? It is not by my might, or my power, but by His and His alone that I live, move and have my being. (Acts 17:28) I am no longer to be a woman who walks after her own ways, or her own thoughts. I no longer belong to my own agenda. I now belong to God the Father. I was bought with a price, and I am no longer my own. I am no longer to be a woman walking in her own ways, but am to be allowing His Spirit to freely move in me and through me- just like them.  The Spirit of God is not just beside me. He is not just behind me. He is not just going before me. He is in me.
There are times when I see this, when I know that I know, that I know- that He is in me. I know that what just came out of my mouth could not have been of me, it was completely of Him. But then there are days when I forget the wonderful miracle of His presence in my life. I forget that He is not beside me, but He is within me. I cry out to my God this day that I would be poured out and that His Holy Spirit would be poured into me. Daily I desire this, daily I need this. If I desire power like Peter, boldness like Paul and love like John’s, then I must allow His Holy Spirit to possess me and overtake every area, every nook and cranny of my life. I must become nothing and He must become everything.
When we do this, when we allow His Holy Spirit and the power of His presence to fill our lives, then and only then will we see the mountains moved, the dead raised to life and the good news of Jesus Christ abounding in the world. Do you know that you have the Spirit of God living in you? Do you allow Him to move you? Do you allow Him to possess you? Is He beside you today, or is He in you?

May your heart be filled to overflowing this day with the presence of His Holy Spirit, and the peace that we have in Him. May we all come to this place of surrender, where we allow Him to possess our everything, just like them. In Jesus Name I do pray, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen and Amen.