HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY USE THE POWER OF GOD
The call of God is the most important event and experience that can ever happen to anyone; all other priorities, concerns, and endeavors are insignificant and unimportant when they are compared to the opportunity to be an immortal member of the Family of God. Moreover, it is vitally important for each child of God to understand the need to use and increase the power of the spirit in order to succeed in their calling to salvation.
If the power of the holy spirit remains at the same level as when it was first given, the chances of success will be greatly diminished. However, if a person faithfully increases the power of the holy spirit in their life, they are assured spiritual success.
Both Jesus and Paul warned of the consequences of failing to grow spiritually. Jesus spoke of spiritual growth in a number of parables about servants who were deemed unprofitable and unworthy of reward because they did not seek to increase what their master had given them. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to do the things that would promote spiritual growth and he warned them not to restrain or suppress the power of the holy spirit. See Matt.25:14-30; Lk.19:12-26; Lk.17:7-10:
"Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1.Thes.5:17-22 KJV).
A child of God cannot remain static in their spiritual growth for very long; a person either goes forward toward spiritual maturity or regresses toward their old behavior. See Jesus' admonition to the Ephesians and Laodiceans in Revelation 2:5 and 3:15-19.
If a person becomes lazy and refuses to put forth the effort to pray, study, meditate, and yield their life to the Father, the power of the spirit becomes weak and useless. When this happens a person will become incapable of recognizing and serving truth and is in danger of losing the power of the spirit in their life, which results in eternal death. However, when a person exercises the spirit in a positive manner, they will be- come more powerful and obtain immortal life in the Family of God.
God the Father has made a special effort to call some in this age to salvation, and Jesus Christ came and gave his life so that those called can be saved. The Father and Jesus have committed themselves and their tremendous resources to helping us succeed and obtain the goal of salvation. And in order to succeed, all one has to do is put forth an honest effort. See Matt.6:25-34; Heb.13:5-6; Jn.14:12-14.
Baptism by water and the holy spirit are only the first steps toward becoming an immortal being in the Family of God. From these first steps, a child of God must begin to grow in the attributes, qualities, functions, and powers of the holy spirit in order to succeed in their great calling and obtain immortality in the Family of God.
The writers of the New Testament encourage the elect of God to use the power of the holy spirit for spiritual growth and the performance of the work of the church:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13 KJV).
"But grow in favor, and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen" (2.Pet.3:18 Para.).
"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every family in heaven and earth is named, that he may give you according to the riches of his glory by his power to become mighty in the inward man through his spirit, that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts, having been rooted and founded in love . . .. Now to him being able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the power working within us" (Eph.3:14-18;20 Para.).
The following three facts are very important to keep in mind during this study:
1. All those who have been chosen for salvation, have truly repented, and have been properly baptized, have been given the Father's holy spirit. See Acts 2:38; 5:32.
2. Each person who has the holy spirit has been given enough spiritual attributes, qualities, and power to allow them to obtain spiritual maturity and perfection.
3. The Father expects his children to use and increase in all of the attributes, authorizations, qualities, and power of the spirit that he has given them. See Matt.25:14-30; Lk.19:12-26.
Questions to be Answered
There are many questions that could be asked about how to use and increase the power of the holy spirit in a person's life. However, for the purpose of this study, only four foundational questions will be investigated and answered. The answers to these four questions will form a foundation upon which a person can gain further knowledge of how to use and increase the power of the holy spirit in their life.
The four questions:
1. Why does the Father give the holy spirit?
2. How does a person access the power of the holy spirit?
3. How does a person use the holy spirit?
4. How does a person increase spiritual power in their life?
WHY IS THE SPIRIT GIVEN?
There are many reasons that the Father gives his power to those he calls to salvation. The following are the more important of these reasons:
When God the Father places the power of his spirit within a person, he does so with the intent that this power will be used for spiritual growth and to perform the task a person has been called to accomplish. In order for a person to accomplish these two things, they must learn to yield to the Father's will and learn how to use and increase the power of the holy spirit within one's life.
The Key to Spiritual Success
Each child of God has been given the holy spirit, which is the limitless energy and power of God. Therefore, the key to spiritual success is knowing how to use and increase the power of the Father's spirit within one's life.
Because the Father expects his children to use spiritual power to accomplish the goals he has set for them, he has also given instructions on how to use and increase this power. These instructions are not mysterious or nebulous philosophical ideas; they are very clear and easy to understand.
King David knew that having the power of the holy spirit was the key to his eternal success and he pleaded with God not to take it from him:
"Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew a right spirit in me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free spirit" (Psa.51:9-12 KJV).
Regardless of the particular temptation, trial, test, frustration, discouragement, or challenge associated with daily life, all sons of God have access to the Father's spirit-power. Through the use of this power, all of God's children can succeed in obtaining personal salvation and performing their particular calling.
Stir up the Gift of God
"For which cause I remind you to fan the flame of the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give a spirit of fearfulness to us, but of power, and love, and of self control" (2.Tim.1:6-7 Para.).
Paul reminds Timothy of the power he had been given through the holy spirit and encourages him to increase this power in his life.
RENEWAL OF THE MIND
In speaking to the elect in Rome, Paul uses the sacrifices of the first covenant with national Israel to illustrate the kind of life a child of God should live:
"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 be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom.12:1-2 KJV).
Under the first covenant with national Israel, all sacrifices had to be as physically perfect as possible; only those that conformed to God's standards of perfection were acceptable to God. See Lev.22:20-24; Deut.15:19-21.
In order to live the kind of sacrificial life about which Paul speaks and accomplish a transformation and renewal of the mind, a person cannot continue to be conformed to this world's standards. They must continually seek to conform to God's standards of righteousness by overcoming the temptations of the flesh and the daily challenges that can defile one's spiritual character.
Be Transformed and Renewed
The English word 'transformed' used above in Romans 12:2 is translated from the Greek word 'metamorphoo', which means 'to undergo change' (i.e., a metamorphosis). The word 'renewing' is translated from the Greek word 'anakainosis', which refers to a 'renewal of thought and will.'
If a person is to accomplish a true transformation from the old self, it must be brought into subjection. The only way to accomplish this is to be renewed in one's mind through the power of the holy spirit:
"If truly you heard him, and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus; for you to put off the old man, as regards the former behavior, having been corrupted according to the deceitful lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and to have put on the new man which according to God was created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph.4:21-24 Para.). See also verses 25-32.
Humans were created in such a way that they could be transformed from a lower life-form (Heb.2:5-8) to a higher life-form through a process of metamorphosis (i.e., change). There are four major stages to this process of change.
1. A human egg is fertilized and a human child is born. This first human life-form is physical and contains only the spirit of man, which is man and lives within a body of flesh and blood. See Gen.2:7-8; Deut.32:18; Job 33:4-6; Ecc.12:5-7; Zech.12:1.
2. The human lives a physical life until God the Father presents the opportunity for salvation. See Rom.2:4, Acts 2:39; Jn.6:44,65.
3. If a person accepts the Father's call to salvation, that person becomes a son of God and a new creation at the moment that the holy spirit merges with the human spirit,. See Acts 2:38; 3:19. This second human life-form is physical and contains the spirit of man combined with the Sovereign Father's spirit.
4. The son of God grows toward spiritual maturity by becoming more like the Father and Jesus Christ through the power of the holy spirit until changed into an immortal spirit-being. See 1.Cor.15:51-54.
"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanks- giving of many abound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man parish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2.Cor.4:14-16 KJV). See also Isa.40:31.
A truly converted person should be in a stage of positive change throughout their entire life. This change is accomplished on a daily basis as a person yields to the influence of the holy spirit and uses its power in their life. In order for a child of God to be successful, the process of positive change must continue until their change to immortality. See Eph.4:11-13; Heb.6:1-8; 12:23; Rev.3:5.
The scriptures show that the power of the holy spirit can be renewed on a continuous basis. This continual flow of this spirit energy and power gives a person enough mental and physical strength to continue their progress toward spiritual maturity. But, how does a person renew and increase this power in order to grow spiritually and to perform the work the Father has called them to do?
Although each child of God receives the holy spirit when they become a new creation, none are automatically given the ability to fully use the great power that is available through the spirit of God, because none are automatically perfect in faith, knowledge, and understanding at conversion.
In order for one to begin to use and increase the awesome power of the holy spirit, one must exercise the following positive attitudes and behaviors:
All of the above require a certain amount of personal time and effort in order to show the Father that increased spirit-power or additional authorizations of spirit-power in one's life will be correctly used.
COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
A person must fully realize that the old self died under the baptismal waters and at the laying on of hands, the former life is gone forever. Therefore, the new creation should live a totally new kind of life. Moreover, the first step toward gaining access to spiritual power is making a serious commitment to positive changes in one's life with the help of the holy spirit:
"If you were raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God; mind the things above, not the things on the earth, for you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed in glory with him. Then put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness, which is idolatry; on account of which things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience; among whom you also walked at one time, when you were living in these. But now, also put off these things: wrath, anger, malice, evil speaking, shameful words out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, having put off the old man with his practices, and having put on the new, having been renewed in full knowledge according to the image of the one creating him" (Col.3:1-10 Para.). See also Rom.8:12-13.
In order to obtain the spiritual power and glory that the Father and Jesus Christ want to give us, we must make a serious commitment and effort to put away former evil behavior and replace it with righteous behavior. The only way to accomplish this type of behavioral change is to use and increase the power of the holy spirit that already resides within a child of God.
The second step toward gaining access to spiritual power is to exercise faith that is belief. This must be done in order to show God the Father that we are serious in our desire to accomplish the goals he has set for us.
"But without faith it is impossible to please God. For it is right that the one drawing near to God should believe that he is, and that he becomes a rewarder to the ones seeking him out" (Heb.11:6 Para.).
Because we need faith that is belief in order to please the Father and faith that is power to accomplish the goals he has for us, he gives some of each type of faith when we receive the holy spirit. However, everyone is not given the same amount of faith as noted by Paul in his letter to the church at Rome. See Rom.12:3-6; 1.Cor.12:9; 2.Cor.4:13; 2.Pet.1:1-5.
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Rom.12:3 KJV). See also 1.Cor.12:9; 13:1-3.
Faith and Works
In order to successfully exercise faith that is belief, there are two actions that must be taken:
1. A person must truly believe in the promises of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
2. A person must exercise this belief by doing what they know to be the will of God in their life.
Although the Father and Jesus are extremely concerned about our well-being and have great pleasure in fulfilling their promise to help us in our efforts toward spiritual maturity and perfection, they expect us to exercise faith and works as a part of our daily life.
Notice what the apostle James was inspired to record about the subject of faith and works:
James 2:14-24 LBP
"Dear brothers, what's the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren't proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty," and then don't give him clothes or food, what good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn't show itself by good works is no faith at allit is dead and useless" (vs.14-17). Please read the entire second chapter of James.
Notice that a person is judged by what they do as well as what they believe. It is very important to understand what James is saying about works. James says it takes physical effort as well as the correct attitude to fulfill God's laws, precepts, and principals in our lives.
It is not enough just to have faith that is belief, because belief without works is no belief at all; it is dead and useless. However, a person should not try to prove their faith by doing works; true faith produces good works itself, because it is the fruit of God's spirit being manifested in one's life.
True faith that is belief and righteous works come from an internal desire to do what is right and good, not from a desire to prove something to another person. True faith and good works are the natural result of yielding to the influence of the holy spirit:
"But someone may well argue, You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can't prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act. Are there still some among you who hold that only believing is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the devils believe this too so strongly that they tremble in terror! Dear foolish man! When will you ever learn that believing is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith" (vs.18-20).
The King James Version renders the last half of verse 20: "Faith without works is dead."
Abraham's Faith and Works
"Don't you remember that even our father Abraham was declared righteous because of what he did, when he was willing to obey God, even if it meant offering his son Isaac to die on the altar?" (v21).
James says that Abraham was declared righteous because of what he did. He was willing to obey God even if it meant offering his only son as a sacrifice.
Trust in God
"You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to; his faith was made complete by what he did, by his actions, his good deeds" (v22).
This statement shows that, without the manifestation of works, faith is not complete.
Paul says that Abraham was willing to trust (have faith) in God no matter what God asked him to do. Therefore, because of his works (it took physical effort to perform God's request), his faith was complete:
"And so it happened just as the Scriptures say, that Abraham trusted God, and the Lord declared him righteous in God's sight, and he was even called `the friend of God'. So you see, a man is declared righteous by what he does, as well as by what he believes" (vs.23-24).
True worship of God requires faith and physical effort. If we have faith and works, we are truly obeying God's way of life. Through faith combined with good works, we show God the Father and Jesus Christ that we truly love them and their way of life:
Doing and Believing
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom.2:13).
James says that a person is justified (made righteous) by what one does as well as what one believes. It is evident that Abraham proved he had true faith in God and his promises by his physical effort to please him.
Add to Faith
Faith that is belief is the foundation upon which all other gifts of the spirit must be built in order to be used or increased in strength.
2.Peter 1:2-10 KJV
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and goodness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue" (vs.2-3).
It is through the Father's divine power (i.e., the holy spirit) that we have been given everything that pertains to eternal life and goodness, and these things come through the knowledge of God:
"Whereby are given to exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (v4).
The Father promises to share his divine nature with all those who accept his call to salvation. He does this through placing his spirit-power and many of his and Christ's personal attributes and qualities within them. If the elect properly use the spiritual attributes and qualities that the Father gives them, they will be successful in their calling:
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience goodness; and to goodness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity" (vs.5-7).
The attributes and qualities that need to be added to faith can only be added if we exercise faith that is belief, and then do the things that we have been instructed to do in order to increase the power of the spirit. When we have exercised faith that is belief and faith that is works, we are able to be confident that the Father will seriously consider our petition to increase our spiritual power and add other gifts of the spirit:
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacks these things is blind [nearsighted], and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he has been purged from his sins. Wherefore rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fail" (vs.8-10).
Although faith that is belief is given to everyone who has the holy spirit, the scriptures show that this kind of faith alone is not enough. In order to become more like the Father and Christ and more perfectly perform the Father's will in our life, we must exercise the faith we already have and add other spiritual attributes and qualities to our spiritual character and personalities.
Faith Comes by Hearing
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.10:17 KJV).
The English word 'hearing' is translated from the Greek word 'akoe', which means 'the sense or organ of hearing', 'rumor', or 'report', 'proclamation', and 'preaching'. In this context, Paul means something more than just hearing with the ear; he speaks of the concept of learning. Paul tells us that to obtain faith, a person must learn something, which is taught through the word of God.
Although not every child of God is given the same amount of faith initially, each person is expected to grow in faith that is belief and faith that is power (2.Cor.10:15; 2.Thes.1:3), because both kinds of faith are required to serve the Father and grow into spiritual maturity.
If a person is to grow in faith or any other spiritual attribute or quality, they must know why it is needed, what it is, what it does, how it works, and how to use it. Growing in faith and other attributes, qualities, and gifts of the spirit requires sincere desire, knowledge, and effort. In order to grow toward spiritual maturity, a person must exercise faith that is belief by following the instructions given in the Bible concerning spiritual growth.
KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE WILL OF GOD
After a person has made a serious commitment to grow spiritually and to perform the responsibilities to which they have been called, and if that person is making an effort to exercise faith in their life, the third step is to gain the knowledge and understanding of what the will of God is.
If a person does not know what is expected of them, they cannot perform it. Therefore, in order to serve and please the Father, we must know what he expects of us and how to accomplish what is expected. In order to become what the Father expects us to be in this life and the life to come, we must seek to know and understand his will in all things:
"Teach me to do your will; for you are my God: Your spirit is good; lead me into the land of righteousness" (Psa.143:10 KJV).
"Not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.7:21 KJV). See also Rom.12:2.
"See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5:15-17 KJV). See Col.1:7-10.
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb.13:20-21 KJV).
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (Jn.5:14 KJV). See also Jn.9:31.
Although the Father wants to give us more of his divine nature, he will not give us anything that will not benefit us, his other children, or his work on earth. Therefore, it is important to know and understand what his will is for humanity and for each of us personally.
The following are three basic steps one must take in order to begin to know and understand the will of God:
1. Ask the Father for this knowledge and understanding.
2. Study and meditate on what God has inspired to be written in the Bible.
3. Be attentive to what is taught by God's true servants.
One of the primary ways to know the will of God and understand his ways is to study what he has caused to be written for our learning, encouragement, and edification:
"Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be perfect, fully finished for every good work" (2.Tim.3:16-17 Para.). See also Eph.6:10-17; Heb.4:12.
The Bible was primarily written for those whom God has called to salvation during this age:
"Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1.Cor.10:11 KJV). See also Psa.19:7; Pro.1:1-7; Dan.12:9-12.
Through diligent Bible study, we can learn from the experience and teaching of others, and thereby gain valuable knowledge, understanding, and inspiration to help us in our daily walk with God.
Study God's Word
No person is given perfect knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God the instant they receive the holy spirit. A review of the apostle's letters to the churches shows that acquiring spiritual knowledge and understanding requires much time, effort, study, and prayer:
"All those who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on a solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built upon a rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house upon the sand. For when the rains and the floods come, and the storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt.7:24-27 LPB). See also 1.Tim.6:17-19.
Because one of the ways God speaks to us is through his written word, we should study and meditate upon it in order to build a strong foundation of knowledge to help us grow toward spiritual maturity and perform whatever task or function to which we have been called:
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (Psa.15:28 KJV).
"Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. But shun profane babbling: for they will increase unto more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 KJV). See also 1.Thes.4:10-12; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
All those who have accepted the call of God are admonished to "Prove all things; and hold fast that which is good" (1.Thes.5:21; Rom.12:2).
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night" (Psa.1:1-2 KJV). See also Psa.119:15-148; 1.Tim.4:12-16.
"But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the word of God perfected: hereby we know that we are in him. he that says that he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" (1.Jn.2:5-6 KJV).
The scriptures tell us that the holy spirit will guide us into all truth and teach and remind us of truth. The Father has promised that, if we put forth the time and effort to study his word, he will reveal his will to us.
It is through the exercising of belief in the Father's promises that we can activate the teaching function of the holy spirit. If we base our spiritual studies on these promises and expect to learn when we study, we have the assurance that we have engaged the power of the holy spirit to perform its teaching function within us.
SPIRITUAL POWER AND GROWTH
When a person has made a firm commitment to change their life by yielding to the transforming power of the holy spirit, and begins to exercise faith that is belief by spending time and effort to understand the Father's will through Bible study and prayer, they will be able to increase in spiritual power.
All four ingredients; commitment, faith, study, and prayer are necessary in order to increase in spiritual power. Without prayer, little or no progress can be made toward spiritual growth; however, with the addition of prayer, the process is complete and a person can be assured of success in spiritual growth:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matt.7:7-8 KJV).
The following are three things that one should know about prayer to have effective communication with the Father:
OUR HIGH PRIEST
Under the Old Covenant, the priesthood was inadequate because the priests themselves were sinful by nature and had to be cleansed of sin each time they appeared before God. However, Jesus who was sinless qualified to come before the Father, without physical cleansing, because of his perfect obedience and submission to the Father and his law. His eternal qualification enables him to qualify those he represents in order that they can also come before the Father:
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedec" (Heb.5:8-10 KJV).
Here, the English word 'perfect' is translated from the Greek word 'teleioo', which has the sense of the 'perfection' that enables one to stand before God.
Jesus' experiences of temptations, test, trials, and suffering, perfectly qualified him to become our Savior and high priest. In his redemptive ministry, Jesus Christ overcame the temptations, trials, and tests that are common to man in order to remove the curse of death, which is the result of yielding to sin.
The mental and physical temptations, trials, tests, and suffering that Jesus experienced are not unique to him alone; they are things that many will encounter on their road to spiritual maturity and immortality. See 1.Pet.3;4.
Jesus our Intercessor
Through the office of Jesus Christ, who is our high priest and the administrator of the holy spirit, we are able to communicate with the Father:
"For through him, we both have access by one spirit to the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph.2:18-19 KJV). See also Heb.4:14-16.
Our Lord and Savior understands our human weaknesses, because he was a human being as well. He experienced life as a human; therefore, he fully understands the nature of man and why we need the power of the holy spirit in our lives. He can intercede on our behalf, because he has first-hand knowledge of what it is like to be human. Moreover, he knows how weak the flesh is and can tell the Father who has never been human how difficult it is to dwell in this flesh. This enables the Father to understand us and have mercy on us by increasing his spirit-power within us to help us accomplish the goals he has for us:
"Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? will God? No! he is the one who has forgiven us and given us right-standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven" (Rom.8:33-34 LBP).
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them" (Heb.7:25 KJV). See also 1.Tim.2:5; Eph.2:18.
"My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is a propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1.Jn.2:1-2 KJV). See also 1.Jn.1:7-9.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (1.Tim.2:5 KJV). See Eph.2:18.
Go Boldly Before the Father
"Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched by our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:14-16 KJV). See also Heb.2:14-18; 9:7-25.
Because Christ understands us and intercedes on our behalf, it is not wrong to ask him to explain our feelings, needs, and desires to the Father. Occasionally we may also want to ask the Father to ask Christ why we behave the way we do and why he should have mercy on us and grant us our petition.
Ask for Spiritual Power
The Father and Jesus Christ want very much for those who have been called to salvation to obtain immortality in the Family of God. Although the Father and Christ want this, they will not force anyone to live a righteous life or fulfill their calling. All who have been called must take the initiative and put forth the effort to succeed in their calling:
Luke 11:9-13 KJV
"And I say to you, ask and It shall be given you: seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks is shall be opened" (vs.9-10).
Here, Jesus reveals major keys that will help unlock the power of the spirit within our lives. Not only must a person want spiritual power in their life but also they must take positive action in order to acquire it. First, a person must diligently seek to have spiritual power, which requires time, effort, and study. Second, a person must go to the Father and ask for spiritual power:
"If a son shall ask bread of you that is a father, will you give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?" (vs.11-12).
When asked for food, will any father who truly loves his child give them harmful things instead of the food they need to sustain their life? Of course not! A loving father will give them what they need and more, if it is within their power to do so:
"If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to them that ask him" (v13). See also Matt.7:7-8; Jn.14:4; 15:7; Lk.12:6-7; 23-31.
The Father is more than willing to give his children spiritual attributes, qualities, and power to help them succeed. He wants to give us the spiritual nourishment and the tools we need to grow toward spiritual maturity and perform his will in our life. The Father knows that we need spiritual knowledge, understanding, discernment, wisdom, faith, and many other attributes, qualities and powers of the spirit; however, he requires that we be sincere in our asking and that we make the effort to seek and ask for these things.
The Father Does Hear Prayer
Jesus Christ who was the Creator God inspired the following to be written about God's devotion to his children and the access we have to him and his Father through prayer:
"Call upon me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer.33:3 KJV).
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are opened unto their prayers . . ." (1.Pet.3:12 KJV). See also Psa.34:15, Isa.66:2; Dan.10:12; Mk.11:24; Jn.16:24; Acts 10:1-4; Rom.12:12; Col.4:2; Rev.5:8; 8:3-4
A Powerful Tool
Prayer is an extremely powerful and readily available tool for use in our daily life; it is our communication link with God the Father. Through this vital tool we can go directly to the throne of the sovereign of all that is and, as his children, we can bring before him our praise, needs, desires, frustrations, and thoughts for him to consider and take action on. In order for prayer to be effective, a person must be sincere and consistent in using this valuable tool that the Father has given us to help ensure our success.
Prayer and the Holy Spirit
One of the ways the spirit of God helps a child of God toward spiritual success is through its help in communicating our thoughts, emotions, desires, frustrations and needs to the Father and Christ:
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereto with all perseverance and supplication for the saints" (Eph.6:17-18 KJV).
Paul says that we must pray in the spirit. But, what does it mean to pray in the spirit? Because the Father is spirit and lives in the spirit dimension of time and space, we must communicate with him through spirit-power. In order for us to do this, the Father has provided a function of the holy spirit that communicates our thoughts, emotions, desires, frustrations, or needs to him and Christ.
"And likewise the spirit also joins in to help our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit pleads our case for our groaning that cannot be uttered. But the One searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit because it intercedes for the saints according to God" (Rom.8:26-27 Para.).
One does not always know exactly what or how to express these needs, which is why one of the functions of the holy spirit is to act as an information gathering and communication system between a child of God and the God family. This function allows the Father and Christ to be aware of the innermost emotions, thoughts, desires, or needs of those called to salvation. Because the spirit communicates one's true physical and spiritual condition to the Father and Christ, the child of God always has the assurance that, even before they ask anything of the Father, he already knows what they need:
"A man's conscience [spirit] is the Lord's search light exposing his hidden motives" (Pro.20:27 LBP).
The King James translation renders this scripture: "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly."
Just because the Father already knows our desires and needs, it does not mean that we do not have to ask for them to be fulfilled:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God, who gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith doubting nothing" (Jms.1:5-6 Para.).
Although the spirit of God imparts knowledge, understanding, discernment, and wisdom a person must still ask the Father for these things and follow through with study and meditation on his word. The Father wants to help us with the power of his spirit, but he cannot help if we are unwilling to make an effort to ask for help:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgivings, let your requests be known to God" (Phil.4:6 Para.). Also see Rom.12:11-12.
"But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you. Don't recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are heard by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him" (Matt.6:6-8 LBP). See also Psa.91:14-15; Isa.41:17; 58:9; 65:24, Matt.6:25-33; 7:28-31; 18:10; Heb.1:14.
Most communication with the Father is by its very nature an extremely personal and private thing, because it is at a time when we are alone that we can express our innermost concerns, desires, and needs.
In both the Old and New Testaments, there are examples of prayer combined with fasting surrounding situations of extreme importance or need. Prayer combined with fasting shows the Father that a person is very serious about what is being asked for and that they have resolved to put forth an intense effort to acquire God's intervention in the matter. See Psa.35:11-14; Joe.1:13-15; 2:11-14; Lk.2:36-38; Acts 14:21-25.
God the Father and Jesus Christ want very much for all who are called to salvation to obtain immortality in the Family of God; therefore, they have committed themselves and their tremendous resources to this effort. They have also placed the enormous power of the holy spirit within those who are called in order to help them succeed. We should always remember that the power of the holy spirit resides within a child of God and is a part of their nature. Moreover, this power must be used for spiritual growth and the fulfillment of our calling in this age.
The Number One Priority
For anyone who is called to salvation, the pursuit of righteousness must be their number one priority. The conquering of the old self, temptations, trials, tests, and overcoming frustration and discouragement is a life-long process that takes effort, which is based upon the knowledge and understanding of the will of God. Moreover, one must also take positive action toward living a righteous life to the best of one's ability.
In order to be spiritually successful, a child of God must accept and use the help that the Father and Jesus have made available through the power of the holy spirit. See Matt.6:25-34; Heb.13:5-6; Jn.14:12-14.
The holy spirit is an extremely valuable and powerful tool, which has many attributes, functions, and qualities. The more a person understands this tool and what it can do, and the more one uses it, the more skilled one will become in its use. It is the Father's spirit-power that will enable the children of God to do a great work at the end of the age (before Christ's return) and overcome obstacles to spiritual growth.
Fruit of the Spirit
"But the fruit of the spirit is, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Gal.5:22-25 KJV). See also Eph.5:9.
Continual spiritual growth through using and increasing the power of the holy spirit results in the righteous development of character and personality. Righteous qualities and attributes of God are defined in the scriptures as the fruits of the spirit. These fruits will be manifested in a person's life to the degree that a person yields to the Father's will, is subject to the influence of the holy spirit, and exercises the holy spirit in their life.
It is through the exercising of the holy spirit that a person comes to know God and be known by him in a personal way. A person who is truly serious about obtaining salvation and serving the Father will begin to bear the fruit of the spirit after repentance and baptism.
How to Never Fail
If the power of the holy spirit is growing within a persons life, success is assured, because there is no frustration, discouragement, temptation, trial, or test that cannot be conquered:
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the holy spirit" (Rom.15:13 KJV).
Any child of God who does their part and allows the Father and Jesus to help them through the power of the holy spirit will grow into spiritual maturity and perfection and be among those who will hear the Father say, "well done, my good and faithful son".
By B.L Cocherell, file b6w7