God’s Holy Spirit is ready to answer that for us in an awesome way, as Henry Blackaby and his son Mel Blackaby make clear in Experiencing the Spirit. You’ll see how the proof of the Spirit’s presence is our awareness of God’s personal assignments for us, plus our supernatural enablement to carry out those assignments.You’ll find essential clarification on the difference between natural talents and spiritual gifts. You’ll explore the dynamics of being filled with the Spirit through intimate relationship with Him, committed obedience, and radical departure from sin.
Instead of considering what you can do for God with your abilities and talents, you’ll be encouraged here to seek what God wants to do through you supernaturally by His Spirit, empowering you beyond your personal competence and capacities. Release the Holy Spirit’s work at the very core of your experience of the Christian life – as He releases you to serve God as never before.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Dr. Melvin Blackaby coauthored with his father, Henry, the Gold Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a conference speaker and serves as a senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. He and his wife and their three children live in Canada.
Read an Excerpt
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who loveHim.” But God has revealed them to us throughHis Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. —1 Corinthians 2:9–10
The person who does not know the Holy Spirit of God does not know God. It’s that simple. It’s true that God so loved the world that He gaveHis only begotten Son to provide eternal salvation and that, through His death and resurrection, we have victory over sin and new life in Christ. But apart from theHoly Spirit, God’ s great salvation is of no relevance to us. Apart from the active work of the Spirit in our lives, we would neither know God nor have the ability to respond to Him. Divine truth is not something we “discover”; it is revealed by the Holy Spirit of God. As such, no other reality in the Christian life is as important as being filled with the Spirit.
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is distinctive to the Christian faith. No other religion has anything like it.What believers in Jesus Christ have come to know and experience through His gift of the Spirit brings them into a relationship with God that’s inaccessible in all other religions of the world. For just as God did not create the world and then step back and watch it spin, but chose to enter time and space and interact with His people, so also God did not just deliver a set of laws for us to follow in the hope of earning our way to heaven. Instead He chose to enter a relationship with His people on earth through His indwelling Spirit.
Trapped in Attic Darkness
When I (Mel) was sixteen years old, I had a summer job as a laborer on a construction crew. My boss was a small contractor who built homes, but he also renovated older homes. One day he sent me to an old house to install pink Fiberglass insulation in the attic. The outdoor temperature that day reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can imagine how hot it was in that dusty old attic. I felt like I was working in a convection oven.
It was a nasty job. As I shone my flashlight around the attic, I saw a cloud of Fiberglass particles floating through the air. All day long I worked in that dark and dusty deathtrap. It was one of those labor jobs that encouraged me to later go back to school and get an education.
That night I was exhausted whenmy head hit the pillow. I guess the day’s work had had an impact on me, because I had a nightmare about being trapped in the attic. I got up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat—yet I wasn’t fully awake. I started to panic, thinking I was still in the attic and couldn’t find my way out. I scrambled frantically around the room looking for the attic’s crawl-out door and nearly destroyed my room in the process. I threw my dresser across the room and pulled down bookshelves. I was lost in the closet when suddenly a light shone through the crack under my door.
“Mel?” It was my mother’s voice. “Is everything okay?”
Seeing the light, I got my bearings and knew exactly where I was and the reality of my situation. It was just a dream!
My mom opened the door and saw my demolition work. “What’s going on?” she questioned.
“Oh, it’s nothing…Just got a little disoriented.”
I’d been in a nightmare I couldn’t escape—trapped in darkness and unable to perceive reality—until the light was turned on. Only when a little light shone under the door did my situation become clear to me.
In the same way, unless the Holy Spirit turns the light on, your life will be kept in complete darkness, disoriented to the things of God. There’ s absolutely nothing you can do to find the light; you’re at the complete mercy of God to reveal it. All you can perceive is what you see and experience in the physical world, but there’s a spiritual reality to which you’re blind.
Look at Paul’s description in Romans 3 of sin’s damage:
There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Paul went on to say, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (verse 23). Everyone has fallen short; everyone has sinned. And sin has fatal consequences. Not only has it separated you from God, but it also keeps you from restoring that relationship.
Paul emphasized these points in Romans 3:
• Sin makes you unrighteous and separates you from God.
• Sin keeps you from understanding God.
• Sin keeps you from seeking God.
• Sin causes you to turn to other things, leaving you worthless and setting you on the road to depravity.
• Sin ultimately causes you to lose the fear of God. And when you lose the fear of God, there’s no deterrent to sin; you can’t stop your downward plunge into eternal destruction.
The reality of our spiritual state can look pretty depressing. Is there any hope? Many would answer no. Some have committed suicide. Many more have attempted suicide, and even more have contemplated it.
One of the most influential opponents of Christianity was FriedrichNietzsche, who called Christianity “the one great curse” and “the one immortal blemish of mankind.” He proclaimed “the death of God” as a cultural fact and claimed atheism as the last evolutionary phase in the search for truth. Nietzsche later was debilitated by mental illness; having no hope, he’d gone mad.
If not for the grace of God, we all would be in the same condition—without hope. For we have all sinned, and sin prevents a relationship with God—and life apart from God leaves no hope.
Proof of God at Work
But if you find yourself experiencing a desire to seek God, we have great news for you: God is already at work in you.The fact that you’re searching for Him is an indication that God is pursuing you and drawing you into a relationship with Him that’s real and personal. Apart from His active work in your life, you would never have the desire to seek Him. For as we’ve seen, because of sin, “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:11).
Theologians use the term prevenient grace to describe God’s work of drawing us toHimself. Before we in our fallen state can seek God, He must first create the desire within us for spiritual realities. There must be a work of enlightenment done within us before we’re aware of our need for salvation.That’s why we believe no one can go to church or open God’sWord “by accident.” God is drawing them, whether or not they realize it. If you find yourself wanting to consider spiritual truth, it’ s not because of some funny feeling, but because God Himself draws you.
King David showed us something about this when he cried out to God, “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8, NASB). When we reach out to cling to Him, it’s God who is drawing us, and it’s God who holds us there. There’s no contradiction in this divine upholding and human following. For our part, there must be a response to God’s drawing power if we’re to experience a relationship with Him.
It’s like a man trying to draw a woman’s affection; the relationship will not blossom unless the woman responds. And when you do respond to God’s leading, He will give you the ability to answer the call. As James told us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (4:8).
Listen carefully: Recognizing God is not the same as coming to Him. Hearing God in your heart is not the same as answering.Working for the kingdom of God does not mean living in the kingdom of God. Christianity is not believing the truths of the Bible; it’s acting upon them and allowing God control of your life. You must respond to God and make the choice to interact personally with Him.
Have you gone beyond accepting the fact that there’s a God? Have you moved beyond accepting Christ as God’s Son and made Him Lord of your life? If you believe there’s a God, that He sent His Son to die for you, that God raised Jesus from the dead after three days, and that Christ is coming back for His disciples—that’s great. But Satan also believes all that! What makes your life any different from Satan’s? To be different, you must come to Christ, pursue Him, give your life to Him, and keep growing in your relationship with Him—for He’s a Person to be loved, not an idea to be accepted.