A Christian Distinctive

I love to read some of the great Christian Apologist. The way they weave the historical, scientific and empirical evidence to prove the validity of the Scriptures amazes me. I could never emulate their writings or their reasoning skills. Compared to them, my mind is in slow gear.

Even though I know God has given them the power to persuade and inform, I believe most of them would conclude that without the power of God, their arguments would just be theological babble. That’s the reason that the power of God is a key distinctive of a committed follower of Christ. Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 2: 3-5:

“I was moved to utter despair during my time with you. I would find myself trembling in dread and fear. The sermons I preached were not delivered with kind of persuasive elegance some have come to expect, but they were effective because I relied on God’s Spirit to demonstrate God’s power. If this were not so, your faith would be based on human wisdom and not the power of God.” (The Voice)

The Christian life is not merely a set of ideas passed down from our ancestors, nor is the Bible just a set of religious rules and regulations which we follow. One can have a great knowledge of Scripture and be able to quote long passages and still miss the power of God. The power of God cannot be grasped by head knowledge. Yes, the Scripture is absolute truth but without the power of God behind the truth it’s just another historical book.

One of the last things that Jesus told his disciples before He ascended to heaven is that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment. It is not about our ability and knowledge, but about the Holy Spirit’s power within us, working through us to accomplish the Father’s will.

The power of the Holy Spirit is that supernatural element that distinguishes us from every other religion. The Spirit’s power manifests the life of Jesus in us when we speak to others about what God has done and is doing in our life. When we quote a Scripture it’s the Spirit’s power in us that gives the Scripture life and causes it to penetrate the heart. It’s the Spirit of God that leads us to speak to someone, and then He gives us the right words to say, just at the right time.

I think you get the point. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we are powerless to accomplish God’s will. God planned it that way. God wants us utterly dependent upon Him. That’s the reason that the Word of God emphasizes the importance of not “quenching” or “grieving” the Holy Spirit.

“Quenching” the Holy Spirit is when we don’t obey His voice or when we do something to deliberately hinder the Spirit’s moving. We “quench” the Holy Spirit when we operate in our own strength by not waiting on Him to lead and guide us. Or when we feel we have to interject our two cents into a conversation so that we will be recognized.

We “grieve” the Holy Spirit when we have deliberate, unconfessed sin in our life. There is an old saying that the “water of life cannot flow through a dirty vessel”. That’s a true statement because the Holy Spirit indwells every true disciple of Jesus, and He longs to flow through us and manifest the life of Jesus through us.

One of the things I learned through many years of vocational counseling is that most domestic problems are not caused by one event or one disagreement. It began months or years before by little self-centered acts of selfishness. Little barbed comments that began to accumulate and over time became a mountain of hurt. If these couples had been aware of the importance of guarding the power of God within them by not “quenching and grieving” the Holy Spirit they could have avoided most of the major problems in their marriage.

God’s intention for us is to live in a daily awareness of Christ within us. God placed Christ within us in order that we might be light and salt to the World. The power of the Holy Spirit makes Christ known to the world through us. Therefore, take care to guard this treasure within you by learning to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and then be dependent upon His leadership before you speak and act. To make Christ known to your world through the power of the Holy Spirit is one of your distinctives.

I encourage you to cultivate a daily awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence within you. Ask for His guidance, His filling, and ask Him to guard you tongue, to guide your speech as you acknowledge your dependence upon Him.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32- NASB)

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