The Holy Spirit is so good. He is a spirit of truth and he convicts us of error. He is a spirit of life and he convicts of death. He is a spirit of power and he convicts of weakness. He is a spirit of joy and he convicts of sorrow. Most of all, he is a spirit of love! I am convinced that if the Church of Jesus Christ, every true believer, in America had the baptism of love, the Church would be “back in business.”
Love works many miracles that theory, philosophy, and theology do not—or will not—work. The Word of God says that the first thing the Holy Spirit does in your life when he comes is hang his shingle out. You know what it says on this shingle? “The fruit of the Spirit is power . . .” No, no. What is it? Oh, you know what it is. The first thing . . . LOVE.
We have the idea that you have to possess a special anointing of the Holy Spirit to be a missionary or a preacher. Well, that certainly helps, but let me tell you about three things. Paul said we are “more than conquerors.” You know, when those three Hebrew children went into a burning, fiery furnace, they were conquerors. However, when the fourth, like unto the Son of God came and they walked out, they were MORE THAN CONQUERORS.
When Daniel went into the lion’s den, he was a conqueror. However, when they pulled him out and made them change the laws of the Medes and the Persians, he was MORE THAN A CONQUEROR.
When Jesus went to the cross, he could have just gone “Pffft!” like that, and destroyed every man that was living. He could have cursed those people as he cursed the fig tree, but instead, he kept his mouth shut. When he went to the grave with the sin of the world, he was a conqueror. When he rose from the dead, he was MORE THAN A CONQUEROR. That is why the eighth chapter is so majestic: Because of the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead! Has he raised you from the dead? Has he freed you from trespasses and sin? Has he raised you from the death of formality and self-righteousness? If he has, God the Father is living inside of you! God the Son is living inside of you! The Holy Spirit is living inside of you!
People say to me sometimes, “You know, I often ask the Lord to make me humble.” I will tell you how to make yourself humble. Go home, sit down with your kids, and ask them, “Do you think that I am like Jesus?”
When my wife and I moved to Ann Arbor I had left a role of leadership within our church. I went from Pastoring, to working in a warehouse. The attitudes there were selfish, argumentative, depressing . . . I was back in an atmosphere I had long left behind. Before moving to Ann Arbor, I was surrounded with believers who were excited about Jesus and always sought me out to teach or pray.
Here I was a fish out of water, a believer in the midst of the world . . . Out of a means of self-defense, instead of following the example of Jesus in the midst of the world—I became very self-righteous. Quite frankly, I was unbearable. Finally, my loving Father-in-law came up to me and reminded me of a story Jesus told about two men who went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee prayed: “Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.”
The tax collector, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, “God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.”
Then my Father-in-law looked at me and said, “If the Lord asked me which one you were, I’m afraid to say which one I would choose . . .”
Oh, that struck me like a 2×4 across my forehead and all I could do was spend the next several hours alone, on my knees, asking my Father to forgive me . . .
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome