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Two Common Myths about the Spirit-Filled Life

 

Spirit-Filled “Success” and “Failure”

The Spirit’s empowerment may at times lead to great successes, but it doesn’t guarantee them. Barnabas, for example, “was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” and through his ministry “a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:22–24).

By contrast, Stephen, who was also “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5 and 7:55), was stoned to death when he preached the gospel (7:58). Similarly, Peter and Paul both had their lives threatened and were imprisoned on account of Christ, but they continued to preach the gospel because they had power and boldness from the Holy Spirit. Today the Spirit continues to inspire people to stay committed to Christ in the face of adversity, even to the point of martyrdom.

 

Spirit of Hope

Aside from the fact that those we minister to can “resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51) and, therefore, our Spirit-empowered ministry is not always well-received, we live in a fallen creation that is yet to “be liberated from its bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21). As a consequence, even though we “have the firstfruits of the Spirit,” we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23).

However, as we long with hope, God does not abandon us, for the “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (v. 26). As James Dunn observes, the Spirit is not only present “in the heights of spiritual rapture,” but also “in the depths of human inability to cope.”[1] This means that if we find ourselves outside of some experiences of victory, this is not necessarily a sign of a lack of spirituality—in fact, at those times the Spirit might be particularly active in our lives. And that is no myth.

 

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Click here to read Chapter 1 and order Simply Spirit-Filled.

 

Click here to read John Lathrop’s review of Simply Spirit-Filled.

 

*This is an edited excerpt from, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit, by Dr. Andrew K. Gabriel, © 2019 by Emanate Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

 

Notes

[1] James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1–8, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 38 (Dallas, TX: Word, 1988), 479.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2019

About the Author: Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D. (McMaster), is an ordained minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and associate professor of theology at Horizon College and Seminary, an affiliated college of the University of Saskatchewan. He has focused his research on the doctrines of God, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Pentecostalism, and Karl Barth. He is the author of Barth's Doctrine of Creation: Creation, Nature, Jesus, and the Trinity (2013), The Lord is the Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Divine Attributes (2011), co-author of Johannine Writings and Apocalyptic: An Annotated Bibliography (2013), and a forthcoming book for pastors and laity, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit (2019). You can download his free e-book Spirit Baptism in the Old and New Testaments (Not Just Acts) at his web page, www.AndrewKGabriel.com.

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