When God Does Something Big
I once heard my husband make a statement I have never forgotten: “Whenever God does anything big, He does it by His Spirit.” Then Stuart went on to say that creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and regeneration are all the Spirit’s work—as is gifting for evangelization.
Is the church powerless today? Maybe that is because we are trying to shake the world without the World Shaker—the Holy Spirit. Could it be that we have been inadequately instructed in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit?
It took power to turn a shivering, cowardly Simon into a powerful, preaching Peter—more power than the big fisherman could ever manufacture himself. When you come across a verse such as “And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, Who lives in you” (Rom. 8:11), then the impossible task of preaching to lost sheep and convincing them they are lost, then feeding “found ones” and persuading them to follow along becomes a gloriously possible privilege!
The trouble is that all too often we keep trying to do the Spirit’s work for Him. The Bible says it is the Spirit’s work—not ours—to approach someone’s soul and to convict and convince that person of sin!
Have you ever tried to tell someone who is without belief or one who already is a pretty “religious” person that he or she is a sinner? If you have done it in your own strength, you most probably got your head knocked off. Before Pentecost, Peter didn’t even try convincing the temple guards or Pharisees of their need. But many of these same men came to Peter’s first church service and were soundly converted!
John 16:8 tells us it is the Spirit’s work to convert people. It is true that He often chooses to make our earthly bodies vehicles of His divine action and uses us to do His work—but He can work apart from us as well. And we all need to come to grips with the fact that we can’t convert, convict, or convince anybody of anything spiritual; without first being convicted, converted, and convinced ourselves! Then it becomes a matter of letting Him loose through our personalities. As Peter says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11).
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine and ministry.