As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 NKJV
Obedience to the Lord
Did you happen to notice the first part of this verse? It was “as they ministered” which means they did stuff for the Lord. The point is action. There must be a “doing” to our obedience to the Lord. James 1:22 says we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.” Even Jesus was obedient to the Father. John 6:38 says “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” So laying aside our will and choosing to follow God’s will demonstrate our obedience to Him. But did you know this is not something we can do on our own?
Receiving the Holy Spirit
Jesus taught us everything of our sinful nature is worthless in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Where does the Holy Spirit come from? He is sent to us from Christ Himself (John 16:7). John 15:26 says “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13-14 says “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” In other words, once you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guarantee that you are saved.
Understanding God’s gift
First Corinthians 2:13-14 says “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The Holy Spirit is our teacher, guiding us in all truth. Without Him we wouldn’t understand spiritual things. He opens our eyes and makes us realize the sin in our life, so we can fully embrace the grace given to us. Romans 8:16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 5:5 says “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 8:2 says “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” First Corinthians 2:12 says “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” All this a great news, for now we know we are able to understand the glorious riches stored up for us in Christ Jesus.
Empowering our Witness
Knowing all the depth of God’s love isn’t just for our benefit. No, it’s more about sealing our understanding and compelling us to share His glorious plan with others. One of the things I love about God is how He equips those He calls. Let’s review some verses about that. Acts 1:8 says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” See He’s giving us the power to be His witness. Romans 8:26-27 says “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Even when we don’t know how to pray, He helps us through His Spirit interceding for us. How does this empowering happen? Romans 12:1-2 give us a clue. It says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” By offering our lives as living sacrifices, allowing God’s Word to change the way we think, we prove God’s will is perfect, acceptable and good. Romans 8:5 says “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” As we learn to walk by the Spirit rather than by our natural self, we become God’s witness to the world.
What do you think? Are you ready to do what God has already shown you? Do you understand His precious gift better? Is the Holy Spirit compelling you to share His message with others?
If you answer no to any of these questions, ask God to help you see things from His perspective. Continue reading God’s Word and the truth will be revealed as His Spirit teaches you.
Lord thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit. Lead us on the pathways of life and enable us to witness to the world through an obedient life in Christ. In Jesus’ precious name Amen. © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.