“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT).
Friend to Friend
After three hours on a school bus, I arrived at the waterpark for a youth retreat weekend in desperate need of an attitude adjustment. Listening to the students in my group complain about not having their phones for two days was grating on my nerves. I wanted to remind these students how grateful they should be for a weekend away with food, friends, teaching, and a waterpark! I knew my ranting wouldn’t set a good tone so I quietly hustled the girls down to the first session.
As the worship began, I complained to the Lord about the ungrateful students but also asked Him to awaken in me a love for these girls. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but something inside me shifted. While I still had to deal with some difficult personalities, general immaturity, and more complaints about phones, I also was able to share my faith with these girls. On the last night, one of them asked if she could speak with me in private. With tears in her eyes, she asked if she could receive Christ personally in her life. I had the privilege of praying with her and sharing an eternal moment.
It was on that weekend retreat that the Lord reminded me again that I can’t serve Him in my human strength. His Spirit is necessary for spiritual life—mine and yours. In the opening pages of the book of Acts, the first followers of Jesus understood the need for awakening to God’s power. They were not to jump into activity without first waiting for God’s promised Holy Spirit.
I can imagine that after Jesus died, rose again, and then appeared to them over a forty- day period, they would have been antsy to start telling others about all that had happened. Yet Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait. During that time, they asked questions, prepared, and prayed. They knew something good was coming because Jesus had said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This power was not given for worldly conquest or payback for previous oppression. It would be provided so that they could tell others about Jesus – everywhere. Witnesses in court share with others what they saw and heard. Witnessing doesn’t have to be a daunting practice where we shove Jesus down people’s throats, it just means telling others about Him.
Whether we are talking about Him with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or people we’ve just met – God says He empowers us through His Spirit. When I grow apathetic about the spiritual condition of those around me, it can be like an indicator light on my spiritual dashboard that I need a fresh awakening. It’s not that I don’t care about people, but my own problems, enjoyment, and responsibilities can begin to deaden my passion for those who are lost and hurting.
A season of questioning, preparing, and praying preceded the action in the book of Acts. As we awaken to the Lord in our everyday lives, we can experience power – not in our own strength – but by receiving God’s power through the Holy Spirit.
I often have thoughts and ideas that cause me to question whether they are my own or Spirit-led. When this happens, I pray, journal, sit quietly, or talk with godly friends before moving forward. I don’t want to move without the Spirit’s guidance, but I also don’t want to lag behind because I’m distracted or apathetic. I know He wants to work in my life and yours. We can awaken to God’s power in waiting seasons because God keeps His promises.
While I often look for God’s power in big displays, the Holy Spirit often shows up more discreetly in my life. He softens my heart, changes my attitude, and guides my steps. He helped me love teen girls on a retreat weekend, and He has the power to work in your heart today.
Lord, help me to learn from the early Christians to seek Your power instead of my own. Show me where I can ask questions, prepare, and be more devoted in prayer as I awaken spiritually to open my eyes and ears to You.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What questions do you have right now?
How can you prepare for the work God is calling you to do through His Spirit?
What do you need to pray about right now?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s new Bible study titled Acts: Awakening to God in Everyday Life for an in-depth study of the early church.
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