I remember a time when it was more common (than now) to see the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and His power, at least in our Western culture. Why is that? The Apostle Paul answers this question in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2: "And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."
Paul was intent one one thing: Jesus, and His work on the cross. Paul had set his heart and mind on proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. When you and I become single-minded about proclaiming the good news of Jesus, we will see the demonstration of the Spirit, which always includes the power of God.
When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, she asked, "How can this be since I am a virgin?" Gabriel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) Some time later the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the power of the Supreme God overshadowed her. This was the demonstration of the Spirit and of power! Gabriel proclaimed the prophetic Word, and Jesus was supernaturally conceived!
Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, "I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God." Paul came to the Corinthians in weakness, fear, and great trembling. He was completely dependent on God to move...through him. He had totally yielded himself as a vessel for God's power. He didn't fear the Corinthians. He feared that the Corinthians would not receive Jesus. The city of Corinth was a very wicked place made up of Greeks, Romans, Jews and a mixture of sailors and merchants who had come to the city for business purposes. The very fact that Paul came to the Corinthians was proof that he didn't fear them.
Unfortunately many believers today have been taught that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer in operation. How can that be? To believe that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer in existence is to believe that He (Holy Spirit) no longer exists! I wonder if those who are entrenched in this belief have even considered that thought! Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever;" (John 14:16) Of course, Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO BRING GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19) It wasn't until after Jesus was endued with the power of the Holy Spirit that He began His ministry and performed mighty works under the Spirit's anointing. If Jesus needed the demonstration of the Spirit, how much more do we!
The Holy Spirit moved mightily through a yielded Apostle Paul. He boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus for one purpose: That all who heard and received the message would rest their faith NOT on the wisdom of man, but on the power of God. Oh how the church in the West needs to return to that!
Holy Spirit, I invite you to awaken our hearts and minds to the urgency of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus to a lost and hurting world. I know that only when we fear You more that we fear being rejected, will you show Yourself strong and powerful in our midst. Come Holy Spirit and manifest Yourself and Your power in behalf of those who yield themselves totally to you, and to your will! We are hungry to see you glorify Jesus in our midst.
Steve Hutto is co-founder of Harvest Missions, a missions organization reaching into the nations of Honduras and India. Visit our website at www.harvestmissions.org.