Wednesday, October 08, 2014

CONNECTED IN SERVICE: Unleashing God's Power for Service

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

God never asks us to do something without equipping us for the task.  The work He has assigned to His church cannot be accomplished with human ingenuity and ability; it takes the power of Almighty God.  Yet, the corollary is that God does not do His work apart from us.  In His omniscience, He has chosen to make us channels of His omnipotence.  The very Spirit of God indwells His Body, the church, and we become Christ's hands and feet to the world.  When we share the Gospel, the Spirit calls sinners to Christ in transforming power.

The Spirit resides in every believer.  But, to be filled with the Spirit means more--it means He presides over us!  The command to refuse being filled with wine and instead receive the fullness of the Spirit are linked together for a reason.  This is not the first time that connection has been made.  When the Holy Spirit first invaded the church on the Day of  Pentecost, the believers were accused of being drunk.  A careful reading of Peter's response shows that he was not so much denying they were drunk, but that they were not drunk with wine--they were intoxicated with God!

When a person is drunk with wine, they have chosen to be under the control of alcohol.  It affects negatively everything about them--the way they think, how they see, how they talk, how they walk, and alters their very personality.  In a positive way, when we are filled with the Spirit, we have submitted to His control, and we think in a different way, see from another perspective, talk with a new vocabulary, walk in obedience to Christ, and lose our inhibitions in taking a bold stand for the Lord!

This is not meant to be a rare experience of an elite few Christians.  Being Spirit-filled is the normative standard for all God's people.  I  once heard that this is not so much a promise to claim as a command to keep!  If i disobey God and get drunk, it is sin.  If I am not filled with the Spirit, it is likewise sin--and will lead to more sin!  On the other hand, if the Spirit of Holiness fills me, sin has no room to operate.  We cannot be full of self and full of the Spirit.  Our passion should be that of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him, we can do all things (Phil.4:13)!  Let us confess our sin and be cleansed, asking God to empty us of self and fill us with Himself.  Moment by moment, as we submit to the Lord, we can walk in the fullness of the Spirit and serve Christ with freedom and fruitfulness.  That is the connection that unleashes the power of God in my service.  What an impact we can have on our world, when a local church has Spirit-filled members connected with each other!  We can be like those in the first-century who, upside down" (Acts 17:6).  Really, it is putting it right-side up!  Isn't it about time?

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