by Laurie Nichols, guest blogger
[Recently, I have been meditating on walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, moving forward both reverently and cautiously, yet excitedly and confidently as we live out our daily lives as followers of the Triune God. Below is the third of three steps we must take in this process. To see the other first two steps, click here.]
Charles Spurgeon once exclaimed, “Ah! Dear friend, you little know the possibilities which are in you.” Inside each of us, whether actively being pursued or laying dormant, dwells a budding evangelist who has the burning passion of the Holy Spirit to see people come to know the Lord.
Think you aren’t an evangelist? Well, perhaps you don’t need to be; perhaps your gifting is not what really matters. Listen to the words of D.L. Moody: “There is no better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.” Think you don’t know how to evangelize? Well, perhaps perfected strategy matters little. Listen to the words of Leonard Ravenhill: “Any method of evangelism will work if God is in it.”
Step 3 is the leap of faith step; it is the moment when we fish or cut bait, when we throw all caution to the wind and let the Spirit of God take over as we open up our mouths and utter in our hearts like the Apostle Paul, “We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life! Just like the psalmist who wrote, ‘I believed it, so I said it,’ we say what we believe” (2 Cor. 4:13, The Message).
Reverently and cautiously, yet excitedly and confidently walking out our faith involves moments of extreme reliance upon God, when we plead with God to help us witness to our hopeless or hardcore neighbors and friends. The growth of the Church depends upon our willingness to let the Holy Spirit speak through us and tell of God’s wondrous deeds:
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. (Psalm 145:4-7)
Open thy mouth wide and see with what words the Lord will fill it! Be filled with the confidence of 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
Go, Holy Spirit, Go! Oh…and please use me in that process!
Few, if any, of us haven’t had moments in which we had wished we would have done or said things differently. We bumble our witness, we quench the Spirit, and we walk away feeling as though we have failed God. And yet the very essence of our Christian faith is hope. Hope in what we do not see; hope in what is to be. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
Walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit is just that…being filled with the hope of God’s love in us and God’s Spirit working through us. It is forward momentum, despite past failings. It includes reflection on where we have been, prayerfully seeing what God has laid before us, and saying a big, fat “Yes!” to God’s desire to make us vessels he can use.
One word at a time, God will fill our mouths with messages of hope and love and eternal life as we interact with a dying and desperate world.
Whether sharing the entire gospel message or just one word spoken “in due season,” we will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, live lives that shout loudly, “We’re not keeping this quiet! Not on your life!”
Open thy mouth, friend. God’s Spirit will do the rest.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)
Laurie Nichols is director of communications at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and editor of the www.evangel-vision.com blog. She is also managing editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.