by, Isam Itson III
Acts 1:8,9 – 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.9 After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
I love having experienced mentors in my life. Men and women who give me guidance, insight, and personal encouragement, as I wrestle with my personal and professional challenges. I love knowing that I am not traveling through this life alone. I feel most anxious and afraid when I do not know what to do and there is no one around to help me.
By the end of Jesus’ life on earth his disciples had learned to to live in light of God’s love and authority. But they had also learned that they could could not fulfill God’s purpose for them without Jesus being there to help them. So the thought of Jesus leaving them alone was terrifying.
But the night before his crucifixion, according to the Gospel of John 14:15-18, Jesus told his disciples that he would send them the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to come alongside them and help them. He was not leaving them alone. Even better, Jesus promised that God’s Holy Spirit would not just be with them, he would actually come and live within them.
Jesus had helped them live for God, and now Jesus was sending the Holy Spirit to help them continue God’s work in and through their lives. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, the disciples would be able to keep loving God and honoring God’s love for other people as a way of life. That is still true for followers of Jesus Christ today.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you,…
When we are filled with God’s Spirit we come under the influence of God’s Spirit. We surrender to God’s living presence within our lives. We exhibit the characteristics and values that are true to God’s on character and values. We become true and faithful representatives of God’s loyal faithful love and kindness.
…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
God’s Holy Spirit empowers us, or helps us, overcome our inherent weakness and enables us to live in light of God’s infinite strength, grace, wisdom, and love. God’s Spirit enlightens us and motivates us to think, speak, and act in ways that honor God’s power, love, and faithfulness in relationship to all of Creation, and especially all human beings, whom he made in his image.
According to the Gospel of John 16:25, 26, one of the main ways that the Holy Spirit helps us is by reminding us of God’s word. The Holy Spirit reminds us of the teachings of Jesus. Through God’s word we learn who God is and who we are. Through his word God reveals his will for us as human beings in relationship to himself, one another, and creation at large.
The key word in John 16:15, 26 is remind. That means we need to have already learned from Jesus. We need to already be following the instruction of God’s word. We need to already be following Jesus and learning what the Bible says about living for God.
Then, the Holy Spirit can remind us of what we already know and translate our knowledge of God’s word into practical wisdom for our daily lives. This is how God helps us live for him when we face overwhelming circumstances and come into conflict with hostile people. By reminding us of who God is and who we are according to the teachings of the Bible, the Holy Spirit helps us love people who do not look like us or live in the same way that we do.
By reminding us of God’s purpose for us revealed in the Bible, the Holy Spirit helps us honor God whether we spend our whole lives in the same town we were born in, or if God leads us to live half way around the world. The Holy Spirit reminds us that according to God’s word we were created for God’s good pleasure. God’s word teaches us that we belong to God and not to ourselves. God’s word teaches us that he uses us to express his love to others. Even people who hate us. We need to learn what God’s word, the Scriptures, the Bible, reveals about who God is, who God created us to be, and what that means for our daily lives.
The encouragement of the Holy Spirit is that God does not send us out into the world to do our best. Rather, the Holy Spirit who lives is us, calls us to follow God in the world, and speaks to us through the words of Jesus preserved for us throughout the Bible. We are not alone. God is with us. We do not need to be afraid.
1. Why can we feel just as isolated in a crowd of strangers?
2. How do we go from being strangers to being trusted friends with someone?
3. How do we learn to trust God?