According to Paul, there are only two ways people can live: in the flesh or in the Spirit. That is—(1) operating separate from God, or (2) with a soul/body that is operating with God’s full involvement.
The trouble is: we’re always—as long as we’re alive—still in the flesh because we need these bodies to carry around our soul and spirit. But changes begin to occur first at salvation (when the connection of our spirit to God’s Spirit is reestablished), and even more so after being baptized in the Holy Spirit (when we are not trying to work out things on our own).
As a result, we have the same brain, but a mind that is being renewed; the same eyes, but insight that is being expanded; the same ears, but learning new ways to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Remember that Jesus promised that the baptism in the Holy Spirit would empower us TO BE His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Not just to do things differently, but to have our spirit so enlivened by the Holy Spirit that we are living, breathing, walking, talking witnesses of a life transformed.
Have you noticed that there wasn’t a steep “learning curve” for the disciples of Jesus following Pentecost? Part of that is due to four key habits that the Holy Spirit helped form in their lives.
- Correct biblical application—We immediately see people going from “They didn’t understand from the Scriptures” to quickly applying biblical texts to their current situations. This is exactly what Jesus promised would happen (John 20:6-9; Acts 2:16, 25, 34; John 14:26).
- Intercessory prayer—To intercede is to take someone else’s needs to God on their behalf. The Holy Spirit can help us apply Scripture to our prayers, and can even help us without words at all (Acts 4:24-26; Romans 8:26-27).
- Creative thinking—Christians should be the most creative thinkers in the world (Psalm 119:99; Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Corinthians 2:10).
- Healthy conflict resolution—We’re all different, so not seeing eye-to-eye is bound to happen, but Spirit-empowered Christians will be able to resolve conflicts faster and with better results (Acts 6:1-8; Acts 15:1-31).
“Your life as a Christian should make unbelievers question their disbelief in God.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Amen! Your life as a Christian that is living out daily habits that have been empowered by the Spirit should make everyone around you want to go deeper and deeper into all that the Holy Spirit has in store for them too.
Join me next Sunday as we take another look at what it means when we say We Are: Pentecostal.