The Bible takes us so far in our daily lives, but Holy Spirit works to fulfil God’s destiny in you – and through you – in ways you may not expect.
Many people think the only way to understand God’s will for today is to refer to the bible for every decision they make. But that’s not how Jesus did it and it’s not how you should either.
If you ever wanted to know why and how we need to be spirit-led in the modern world, then you’ve come to the right place!
Holy Spirit Works Through Destiny Activation
I’m excited at the moment because I’m about to join a Destiny Activation Coaching course.
If you’ve been following me over the past few months, you may have gathered that I’ve gone through some tricky times (Ed: haven’t we all?!).
Bizarrely, this hasn’t been due to Covid (from which my family have emerged remarkably well) but through personal doubt.
Holy Spirit Works Through Periods Of Doubt
Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s healthy to go through periods of doubt from time to time. It’s often in those times that we question God about ourselves and our motivations. And we draw closer to him as a result.
However, one thing I have begun to question more frequently is the nature of my calling. How should the Lord’s calling be expressed in my life? And how does that work out in all the practical details? Indeed, I’ve started to wonder whether God really has called me to the prophetic ministry, or not.
This is one area where I hope the coaching will help me unravel the sometimes conflicting thoughts in my head. It’s a 12-week course, so I guess it will take a while to unpack. So please pray for me and watch this space!
Holy Spirit Works God’s General And Specific Will In Your Life
One side-effect of the pre-course “homework” I’ve been using to prepare has also helped me to reflect on the last two blog posts I published.
If you cast your mind back, we talked about God’s general will for your life in one post and his specific will in the next. We also discussed what role the Bible plays in it all.
In summary, the Bible contains God’s general will for your life. But despite giving us some broad pointers for daily living, the bible doesn’t actually tell you what to do “next” or right now.
However, we’re not left high and dry. The Lord gives us another tool for day to day life and a very relational one, at that: Holy Spirit himself.
Holy Spirit Works As Our Power Source
Through Holy Spirit, God prompts us and speaks to us about what to do next. Not only that, he also becomes the source of power we need to be obedient to him.
If you’re concerned that I’m leading people away from the bible, please be assured that my intention is far from it. On the contrary, I want you to understand what the bible is used for (as well as what it’s not used for).
To do that, I’m going to set before you 3 ways Jesus didn’t use the bible. I’ll then balance that by describing 3 ways that Holy Spirit worked through him – and hence also, through us.
How Jesus Didn’t Always Use The Bible And Was Spirit Led
There is an unspoken idea in some Christian circles that if we’re not reading directly from the bible, then nothing exciting will ever happen. At least, that’s the impression you get if you hang around in such circles for long enough.
The thinking is that:
- The power of God’s word is enough in itself to illuminate daily life and help us know what to do next.
- Miracles can only happen if we quote from the bible when we pray for people.
- Prophecies are only “real” prophecies if they quote at least 1 verse of scripture.
But as far as we know from those same bibles, Jesus himself didn’t refer to the bible to know what to do specifically each day.
NOTE: I deliberately chose the word “and” in the above heading:
Jesus certainly knew his bible. He didn’t have to refer to it all the time in order to know what to do AND he was spirit led. His life shows us that it’s not “either/or”, it’s actually “both/and”!
Here are 3 examples:
- When Jesus chose his disciples, he (probably) didn’t open his bible.
- Jesus prayed before he selected the 12 apostles from among his disciples.
- It’s possible he may have read his bible too but there is no evidence of that in the New Testament.
- There is evidence of a heartfelt and intimate conversation with his Father about it in Luke 6:12-16 when he spent the entire night in prayer about it.
- Jesus didn’t open his bible before he spoke to the woman at the well.
- He listened to Holy Spirit’s promptings and was obedient.
- We don’t see him opening his bible in order to teach the lady, he just knew what to do.
- But we do hear Jesus quote from the bible because he knows it is his Father’s will: “…you Samaritans worship what you don’t know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).
- Jesus didn’t read the bible before each of his miracles.
- The best example I can think of is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11).
- Knowing what Holy Spirit wants him to do, Jesus asks the bystanders to take away the stone (v38).
- He makes a point of speaking to his Father publicly, so they know he has a relationship with God and that’s the origin of his power (v14-42).
- He then calls Lazarus out of the tomb in a loud voice …and the miracle happens! (v43-44).
Holy Spirit Works Where Jesus Cannot Open His Bible
If you’re still not sure about it, think about 2 further examples:
- Jesus didn’t have a bible available to quote from when he was on trial.
- He couldn’t have picked up his bible when he spoke to the thief while nailed to the cross.
- Yet, in both situations, he conducted himself humbly and indeed, biblically, while under extreme pressure or trauma.
Holy Spirit Works Through Prior Knowledge Of The Bible
To summarise, Jesus knew his bible so well he was able to refer to and quote from it, without necessarily opening it.
When we review each case, we see that:
- Jesus was confident of what he had already read, learned and memorised from the bible.
- He was confident in his identity as God’s son and his relationship to his Father.
- Jesus already knew God’s general will is to love, disciple and heal people.
- When he did quote scripture, he was led by the Spirit specifically to do it.*
*And this is the key point:
– Jesus was spirit-led so he didn’t need the bible to tell him what to do in every single moment.
– He did need to know his bible well enough already, so he could test effectively what he thought Holy Spirit told him.
3 Ways Holy Spirit Works God’s Destiny In Your Life
Jesus was able to do all this because Holy Spirit worked in his life in 3 distinct ways. If we want to become more like him, we need to understand those 3 ways for ourselves.
So without further ado, here they are:
Holy Spirit Works Through Initial Filling
Holy Spirit is a deposit and a guarantee of our salvation. He gives us confidence in who we are in Christ (Ephesians 1:14).
As discussed in the previous post, Jesus was filled with the Spirit from his birth.
At the point we give our lives to Jesus, we are born again: Our spirit comes to life and we too are filled with Holy Spirit for the first time.
The purpose of this is justification. We know we are saved and are reassured by God’s presence.
Holy Spirit Works Through Refilling
Holy Spirit continually fills and refreshes us, as we ask for more of him.
It’s important to seek this refilling every day because our “battery” runs dry very quickly.
As we are refilled with his presence, we continue to receive the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s also the only way we can discover and grow in the gifts of the spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
The purpose of refilling is sanctification. We are transformed by the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) and changed “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18) to be more like Jesus.
Holy Spirit Works Through Anointing
Holy Spirit anoints us for ministry and for power encounters.
There may be an initial anointing, such as Jesus’ anointing at his baptism. But anointing can come at different times and places, as the Lord wills. We just have to fall into line with him, when he does so!
The purpose is for ministry and discipleship: it’s to enable and empower us to heal the world. The anointing helps us fulfil the Great Commission by making and growing disciples. This is what takes a gift of the Spirit and turns it into a breakthrough in specific situations.
Anointing Poorly Understood
It’s that last part I believe is most important for today’s church but is often completely missed!
Many Christian churches and individual Christians are very happy with the first two:
- They’re happy that Holy Spirit fills us when we first come to believe in Jesus, so we can be confident that we are saved.
- They’re happy that Holy Spirit sanctifies us, so we gradually become better versions of ourselves.
- But they are not happy (or simply miss the idea) that there is another level of God’s power that comes through his anointing on us, as well as in us.
I think this is poorly understood in the modern church and it’s an important key to unlocking not only individual destinies but the future direction of the church, as a whole.
Holy Spirit isn’t just there to give us confidence in ourselves and our salvation. He’s not just there to make us feel better about ourselves. He’s also there for everyone else!
This isn’t only about us “becoming more aware of” Holy Spirit in our lives (although it is that too). It’s about learning a different dimension to how he operates on us than perhaps we are used to.
“He’s in me for me, he’s on me for you!”
– Bill Johnson
At this point in my life, I’d far rather be a slightly “worse” person and less confident in myself, if it means I can be anointed with his power so I can minister to others effectively.
I don’t think that’s an “either/or” but I absolutely need Holy Spirit anointing (not just filling) because there’s no way the miracles the world needs will happen otherwise.
Remember that we’re saved, delivered and healed. Don’t we want all of that for those around us too?
Conclusion: Holy Spirit Works Through Streams Of Living Water
‘On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”’ (John 7:37)
This is Jesus’ great analogy on how Holy Spirit works. As we are filled and filled again with Holy Spirit, we overflow to others.
This doesn’t refer directly to anointing on, as distinct from filling in Holy Spirit. However, it draws on countless scriptural references to the river of God such as found in Ezekiel and Revelation.
And I believe that inherent in that vision is the idea of being up to our necks in, and diving in over our heads, into that river of blessing.
How do we do take hold of that river of blessing in daily life?
Practically, we can:
- Read and learn our bible: It’s well worth memorising portions of it.
- Pray and listen to God: Ask continually to be filled, re-filled and anointed by Holy Spirit each day.
- Practice listening to God throughout the day: Be expectant for God to speak and tell you what to do, at a moment’s notice!
What do you think about the 3 ways Holy Spirit works in our lives? Agree? Disagree?
Regardless, let us know your thoughts, in the comments area, below.