For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:19
Recommended Reading: Acts 16:6-7 “6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.”
COMMENTS: The work of the Holy Spirit has been significant but little understood. So what has been that work in Old Testament times and what changed at Pentecost? I have to confess my understanding is limited, but I also believe even biblical scholars differ and are limited in their understanding as well, so I think we need to trod lightly here. The Holy Spirit did speak to and guide many identified in the Old Testament like Daniel and Noah and David and Joseph and even Jonah. The Holy Spirit guided Moses and gave him the words and inspiration to confront Pharaoh and to lead the multitude of Israelites out of Egypt.
Before the fall, Adam and Eve had constant daily fellowship with God. His Holy Spirit abided in and with them until they ate the forbidden fruit and sinned. They died that day because the Holy Spirit no longer abided in them. From that day, God chose who and when He would guide and direct by His Spirit but His Holy Spirit was only available for a few for a defined purpose and goal.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was once again available to every believer who received Christ’s redemption. When the separating curtain was torn in the Temple that Good Friday, God was revealing Himself as being once again accessible and abiding in and with His people.
The transformation of the disciples on Pentecost was dramatic, and the influence of the Holy Spirit indwelling in them was dramatic that day and each day going forward. They lacked the vision – the confidence – the courage to obey the Great Commission. We see the powerful influence the Holy Spirit made with Daniel and Joseph and Noah and Moses and so many others in the Old Testament. We see the difference the Holy Spirit made with Paul and John and Thomas and especially with Peter. But the biggest and most significant change at Pentecost is that the Holy Spirit is not only given to a few individuals called to a specific mission but to all Christians willing to receive and welcome Him into their soul.
Ok, if the Holy Spirit dwells in every Christian, why aren’t all Christians acting and living more Christ-like doing the work like the disciples and early believers did after Pentecost?
That is a good question and a mystery. But truth is God does not come into a believer uninvited or unwelcome. He will guide and warn and encourage, but will not force or even compel obedience. We still have free will to choose good or evil, obedience or rebellion. The influences of satan are still close and powerful and only as effective as we let them be. Even Christ faced and endured temptation even up to and while on the cross. He chose to obey His Father’s Will and follow His Father’s Plan to the cross, but satan did all he could to deter and stop Him from doing so.
We should not think we will be spared the same even though we have the benefit of the abiding Holy Spirit to warn and guide and strengthen us too. Stop and reflect on times the Holy Spirit warned you of temptation and you ignored Him to later regret not listening. How many times have you heard His soft voice and allowed a distraction or louder voice of temptation to prevail?
God still requires faith, so He will still only show evidence after we choose to follow His lead. Take some time to reflect and rediscover how powerful and vital the Holy Spirit’s influence is in your life and give Him praise and worship.
For Christians, the Holy Spirit is given as a permanent, indwelling reality. He is there to guide, comfort, and counsel us in our daily lives—especially in times of adversity. The Spirit does for us what He did for Paul in Asia Minor—comes alongside to clear up confusion and provides direction when needed (Acts 16:6-10). He will come alongside us as well when we need counsel and comfort.
Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and depend on Him to come alongside you. There is no limit to His loving presence.
Great Comforter, descend, and bring some tokens of Thy grace.
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