Q. What’s the power of the Holy Spirit?
Most people, especially Pentecostals, believe the power of the Spirit is expressed by the exercise of the Gifts of the Spirit … miracles, tongues, healings, prophecy, faith, helps. But this is not a genuine measurement because Satan can counterfeit them all. He did it
when Pharaoh challenged Moses, and he will do it when the anti-Christ rises to power. Satan is just as comfortable being an angel of light as being an angel of darkness. Neither is the power of the Spirit the fruits of the spirit. The world can counterfeit love, joy and peace even better than most Christians so that is not a genuine measurement either.
Q. So what’s the measurement that displays the genuine power of the Holy Spirit?
Well, firstly, you need to understand that there was no Holy Spirit given to men until after the cross. You say, but the disciples operated in the power of the Spirit before the cross. True, even Judas did. But the power of the Spirit I’m talking about isn’t the works of might.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit can use or work in any vessel it chooses, even Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus and Hitler and king Saul and Balaam. He’s not restricted by the vessel being good or bad. So displaying the gifts of the Spirit does not confirm that you are saved into his kingdom.
The power that I’m talking about is the “indwelling” power of the Holy Spirit. That is, the power in you because the Spirit dwells in you, and is not just using you.
In John 15, Jesus teaches that you have to abide in Him and He must abide in you and unless that is the case you can’t do anything that’s righteous no matter what you do, even with powerful signs.
The true power of the Holy Spirit is in the motive, not the act
The true power of the Holy Spirit was displayed at the cross when Jesus, creator God, humbled Himself and suffered the humiliating disgrace at the hands of His own creation without lifting a finger of retaliation because He loved the Father (John 4:39, 5:30, 6:38, 8:29). A few may be able to die in their own human power, 1 Corinthians 13:3; more may be able to do it under demonic power; but only the power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to do it for the love of the Father.
The true power of the Holy Spirit is the love of the Father expressed by the power to not be envious when everyone else gets the deal and you miss out. The true power of the Spirit is to not blame others and to cop the false blame, because you love the Father. The true power of the Spirit is to not fall to pride; to not mock or gloat when somebody falls, and to love your enemy as yourself, because you love the Father. The true power is to not be afraid because you trust the Father.
The motive for a genuine Christian is not to get to heaven or to do something great for God; the driving force behind a saved Christian is the love one has for the Father. Because you love the Father you serve Him without question and without complaint, and because you love the Father you trust Him. You trust Him because you love Him.
The cross, not the mighty works, was the proof that Jesus loved the Father.
You can’t love the Father if you love yourself; yet you love yourself by dying to yourself and loving Him. So God takes us on a journey that is designed to give us the choice to die to ourselves and to fall in love with Him and fully trust Him.
Before the cross the disciples loved being with Jesus and loved Him as a friend, but showed their love by deserting Him in His hour of need. In reality they loved themselves more. But, after the cross their hearts changed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and they loved Jesus because they had fallen in love with the Father and they died for Jesus.
The love of the Father is displayed in your inner attitude to your neighbour
If you constantly fall to envy and blame, or gloat over someone’s demise, or do good deeds to be recognised, or live in the fear of what others think (1 John 4:18), then know that the Holy Spirit does not indwell you; you indwell you, James 4:5.
Does blame, gloating, moodiness manipulation, envy, intimidation, mocking and trying to look the best, equal “loving your neighbour as yourself”? Then it’s sin and not love.
No human can do this by themselves no matter how hard they try and no matter how much they lie to themselves that they have, and no matter what false religion convinces them to jihad. No demon can operate in this love power, because demons always counterfeit. You can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that’s why the agape love of the Father, not phileal human love, is the only true measurement.
People may be willing to suffer to show-off, to feel valued, to gain accolades, to look good, to be thought well of, to get seventy virgins, to get money for their families, to face their inner fears; but no one will be able to do it for the love of the Father without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
That’s why Jesus died such a cruel death on the cross. The enemy could have counterfeited His miracles but he could not counterfeit his love-sacrifice through the shedding of His blood by the will of the Father. Demons destroy, they don’t die for Satan. God won through the cross not through the mighty works, and He proved it was Godly power by rising from the dead; which is why the anti-Christ will pretend to counterfeit it.
Everyone wants the power of the Spirit so they can show-off
Lying Christians say that Jesus suffered the cross so we don’t have to, that we should embrace the benefits and not the pain, and express our faith by acting as if it has already happened and by speaking it into being. You’ll find the same strategy in all the humanistic positive thinking books.
It’s a lie, because Jesus Himself said … if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me, Matthew 16:24.
And again Jesus said … The disciple is not above His master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub how much more shall they call them of His household, Matthew 10:24,25, and if they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you, John 15:20.
You can manipulate the words of the Bible to suit your thinking and defend your self-wants, but you can’t manipulate the love of the Father by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit when confronted by injustice and unfairness for the Name of Christ.
In your human capacity you can act bold in the face of persecution, but you can’t counterfeit the love of the Father.
The fact is, if you operate in the gifts of the Spirit without the love of the Father then you are counterfeit.
Once you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit your perspective changes
You will see things different to everyone else and, just like what happened to Jesus, this will put you at odds with them. Being out of favour with the religious system will be a side-effect of the love for the Father.
You will realise you don’t have to always forgive (Mark 11:25,26, John 20:23). You’ll see you don’t have to be nice to prove you’re a Christian (Matthew 15:26) or to get people’s favour (Matthew 23:27). You don’t have to evangelise by strategy (Mark 8:26). You don’t have to convince people to your thinking (Matthew 13:11).
Rather, you have to learn to wait on God for His call in His time, in His way.
You’ll see that the Old Testament is Jesus just as is the New, because it’s the whole Word of God. You’ll see that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever; He didn’t change his attitude of judgment and justice between the Old Testament and the New Testament. You’ll sense what people are saying in their hearts (Matthew 12:25), and you’ll be given His strength to stand against the attacks (Matthew 10:19,20).
Q. How do you get this power?
If you value what people think of you, you’ll never find the love of the Father.
If you truly want this loving power of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the Father then you’ll have to go through the cross like Jesus. You’ll have to surrender to being blamed, mocked and hated; you’ll have to surrender to being devalued and rejected by your family and friends and the false church (Matthew 10:34-39). At the cross, ‘self-value’ doesn’t mean anything anymore.
You’ll find out very quickly that you can’t do it, and that’s the point … you’ll have to surrender, and start trusting the Father, and you won’t know whether you’ve done it until you face being blamed or misjudged and watch how you respond.
A mood = no trust
In simple terms … you either have a mood, or cop the blame and trust the Lord.
You can’t blame and say you love the Father, because blame clearly isn’t loving your neighbour as yourself. Blame is just a mood. So when you choose blame you prove you don’t trust the Father but rather love yourself.
Every key player in the Word of God, such as Moses, Daniel, Elijah, Samuel, David and Jesus, learnt to trust the Father in the face of blame. You either stand with these men of God and learn to be put-down or you fake it for the sake of looking good to others and defend yourself to prove any correction wrong.
My wife and I have lived together for almost 40 years. She and I are opposites in many areas of our personalities. I don’t stick with her by talking myself into liking her positive qualities so I can tolerate her negative qualities. I don’t stick with her so I’m not faced with the embarrassment of divorce. I don’t stick with her because I need a friend. I stick with her because I love her and because she knows I love her she overlooks my negative qualities and sticks with me. And that’s why I stick with Jesus. It’s not for what I can get, it’s because I love Him and He loves me.
May God stir the hearts of His remnant into the love of the Father.
Pastor Greg White