“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
When you read the New Testament there is a remarkable shift between the gospels and the following book. The gospels are all about the words and deeds of Jesus. The next book is all about the words and deeds of Jesus’ followers. Indeed it is known as ‘The Acts of The Apostles’, which gets shortened to ‘Acts’. This book was written in order to demonstrate what disciples of Jesus are capable of and, in fact, are meant to do when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. I underlined that last bit for emphasis because it is clear from the first two chapters of Acts that being filled with the Spirit of God is a prerequisite for what follows. (see 1:8 and 2:4 etc.)
Being ‘filled with the Spirit’ and living ‘in the Spirit’ is really not such a strange thing. It is in fact the normal, healthy Christian life. It’s a life that is dependent on the Holy Spirit within. There is still today, as there was in the early church, much confusion about this. This is why St. Paul makes it clear that the Spirit does not bring fear. On the contrary, he gives power. This is not political or competitive power. This is deep confidence, clarity of mind and courage to speak and act in Christ’s name. This power is tempered by love – a heart God gives us for the well-being of others – and self-discipline. In other words, we aren’t being controlled but are free and able to act reasonably and rationally.
In these strange days of exile from one another’s physical company it’s of the utmost importance to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) The Spirit of God calms us, encourages us and keeps directing us to Jesus our Saviour.
As we celebrate the ‘pouring out’ of the Spirit at Pentecost on Sunday, May 31st, let us share once again in the Lord’s Supper in our own homes. I will lead a brief service on the live stream, but would encourage those unable to join to read Luke 22:14-20 and take the elements prayerfully. We are joined in the Spirit of Jesus our Lord. Peace to all.
In Christ’s love,