For the past few weeks we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the Holy Spirit. The Sunday morning auditorium class has been solely focused on the Spirit. Beginning April 1, we altered our yearly theme from Psalm 119:107, “Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word”, to “Revive our SPIRIT, O Lord, according to Your word.” We will continue to focus on the Spirit through the month of June. At that point we will once again tweak our theme to “Revive our STUDY, O Lord, according to Your word”.
There are at least three views we can see in the Bible about “spirit”. First, of course, is the Holy Spirit. He is a real person, 1/3 of the Godhead. He was present at creation (Genesis 1:2); He was present in the lives of many in the Old Testament (Exodus 31:1-3); He was present at the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:10) and He filled the disciples in the New Testament (Acts 13:52). In fact, the Bible says that all who are baptized into Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This is the ‘indwelling’ of the Spirit. Our bodies are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). Our connection to God’s Spirit is obvious in Scripture and it is also vital. The Spirit is the guarantee – the down payment or earnest payment – for our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13,14). We are blessed beyond words that God has given us His great gift!
The Bible also speaks of evil spirits in both the Old and New Testament. The most interesting thing about these, at least to me, is that these recognized who Jesus was and these minions of Satan bowed before Him and even begged Him (Mark 5:6,10).
However, we can also see another ‘spirit’ in the Bible, and that is the inner spirit of man. The inner spirit of man is referred to many times in the Bible. For example, in 2 Chronicles 36:22, God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus of Persia. Paul’s spirit was provoked within him when he saw all of the idols in Athens (Acts 17:16).
One of the more interesting passages in the New Testament is found in 2 Timothy 1:6,7, where we see God’s Holy Spirit and man’s inner spirit working side by side. The Apostle Paul addressed the young evangelist Timothy, Paul’s true son in the faith, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” What is fascinating to me here is the idea that we can stir up the Holy Spirit’s power within us. In fact, it seems that if we don’t do that, if we don’t tap into the power of God’s Spirit, then our inner spirit will fail to be energized and we will not be the influences in the world that God intended for us to be. Although the text doesn’t come right out and say it, it would certainly appear possible that Timothy had an issue with timidity; that he could have been more bold and courageous in his work as an evangelist. Paul seems to be reminded Timothy that with power of the Spirit within him, he could do all things through Christ who gives him strength (Philippians 4:13).
This Sunday we will look at fanning into flame the Spirit within us. That Spirit will lead our spirit to power, agape love and self-control. However, the implication is that if we aren’t willing to stir up the Spirit within us by continually growing and working for the Lord, our ability to be effective in the Lord’s kingdom will diminish. We need to literally “use it or lose it”. Such a thought should compel us to keep our focus on doing what God has called us to do and not allow ourselves to be deceived by the world.
God’s Spirit empowers us so that we can be more than conquerors. If you don’t feel like you are all that God wants you to be, perhaps it is because you have allowed the fire of the Spirit to burn down within you by a lack of use. Pray that the Lord revive your spirit! Be diligent in prayer and study. Seek with confident boldness the power of God’s Spirit. Such actions will cause the Spirit to burn with excessive heat and will allow us to be effective disciples we have been called to be.