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Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit
The Promise of God the Father
Chapter one of Charles Stanley's book begins with a definition of exactly what is the Holy Spirit. Stanley states that it is the "Promise of our heavenly Father to each one of us." (Stanley, 11) The Holy Spirit, as God's promise, is for each and every human being, not just hose who are priests, and holders of other religious positions. Luke 24 is used as an example of this concept that the Holy Spirit is for all people. (Mays, 1988) Stanley next examines the question of what is the power of the Holy Spirit? He asserts that it is the "divine authority and energy that God releases into the life of every one of his children in order that we may live a Godly and fruitful life." (Stanley, 13) It is like a spiritual cloak.
The author is careful to then point out that the Holy Spirit is not something that can be manipulated by human beings. It is not like the "force" in the movie Star Wars. The Holy Spirit is there for those who accept Christ and does God's work through humans. Remember: IT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT DOES THE WORK. And the work that the Holy Spirit does is to energize the body, enlighten the mind, inflame our hearts, and generate the desire to preach Christian ideology.
Finally the Holy Spirit is THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER. God will always and forever be our source of divine power and the Holy Spirit is God dwelling in us. In summation, the Holy Spirit is God's Promise to humanity, one will receive the Holy Spirit when people accept Christ and then the Holy Spirit will cover and protect you like a cloak.
Chapter 2: Who is the Holy Spirit
Chapter 2 begins with the question of who exactly is the Holy Spirit. According to Stanley, "He is a person of the Trinity. He is God the Holy Spirit." ( Stanley, 21) The author then gives an example of Jesus in Gethsemane telling his disciples that the Holy Spirit will come to them and give them strength. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit "he" signifying that the Holy Spirit is part of both God and himself. Stanley then makes the distinction that the Holy Spirit, while sometimes referred to as the Holy Ghost, is not a ghost in the way that people think of ghosts as apparitions. "He is not a force, he is somebody. The Holy Spirit is the living personhood of God" (Stanley, 23)
Next the author discusses how one receives the Holy Spirit. Stanley asserts that God freely gives the Holy Spirit to those who accept Christ. Because the Holy Spirit sometimes manifests in signs, many think of the Holy Spirit as an "it," instead of "him." This also causes people to limit the Holy Spirit to the sign that he manifested himself in, but he is not limited to any sign "he is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, all-loving God." (Stanley, 25) To those who possess the Holy Spirit, it is more appropriate to ask the question "when did you receive him?" rather than "when did you receive it?" The Holy Spirit baptizes us in Christ, he also covers us with the redemptive blood and living presence of Christ.
When a person accepts Christ, they also accept God, in all his forms. This includes the Holy Spirit. "In receiving god the son, you are receiving the fullness of God into your life, that person who dwells in you and fills you with god's goodness is God the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 3: Why does God Send the Holy Spirit to Us
In Chapter 3, Charles Stanley discusses why God sends the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Christ. He states that there are 2 main reasons for God to do this. First, "the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us to 'be' witnesses of Christ Jesus to a lost and dying world." And secondly "the Holy Spirit enables and empowers is to 'do' the ministry of Christ Jesus in our service to other believers." (Stanley, 28) Stanley describes the many Christians he encounters who believe that only certain people are called by God to perform certain tasks. This is not true, all believers of Christ are called according to God's purpose.
The Holy Spirit dwells within all Christians and gives them the ability to live a godly life and express the good news of Jesus Christ. The things that the Holy Spirit gives us is, firstly; Wisdom, in order to do good and live our lives in accordance with God's goodness. Next the Holy Spirit gives us enduring strength, not only to perform the occasional miraculous event, but also the strength of perseverance to withstand persecution in the name of faith. The Holy Spirit also gives us Courage to face evil and withstand it. Finally, the Holy Spirit gives us the an ability to withstand temptation, God is necessary for will power.
Finally the Holy Spirit is given to human so that they may "do" the ministry of Christ. Both Jesus himself, and St. Paul, are used as examples of how the Holy Spirit can enable a person to act. "One of the reasons the holy Spirit indwells your life is so you can boldly and effectively do the ministry that God has called and prepared you to perform." (Stanley, 38) In order to actually act out what God needs you to do you must: recognize your need of the Lord, rely upon him, and finally take a leap of faith to act upon what God has called upon you to do.
Chapter 4: The Release of Your Full Potential
God endows humankind with both natural and supernatural gifts. Natural gifts are physical endowments like height, quick wits, ability to run fast, etc., while supernatural gifts are spiritual abilities. The utilization of both are necessary for a full Christian life.
We all have potential, but we must ask are we "living in the fullness of my potential?" (Stanley, 46) The answer is always no, because God dwells in each of us and God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; and therefore we all have the potential to be so as well. God's ability to be all things at all times means he is always available, never wasteful, always on time, and always gives full attention to all things. God gives the Holy Spirit to humans in order that we may expand to our full potential of goodness.
Next Stanley discusses the three areas of human potential, which are the full potential: of your love, your obedience, and your devotion. Reaching the potential of your love means to go beyond a self-centered life and focus on loving others more than yourself. The Holy Spirit gives us the desire to be more obedient to God's will, to lead us on the right path, and obey God. And finally the Holy Spirit gives us "the desire to spend more time with God," which Stanley terms "devotion." (Stanley, 51) All three are necessary and given to us through acceptance of the God the Spirit in our lives.
In order to reach your full potential, the author asserts that one must ask God four questions each and every day. These are: 1. what do you want me to do? 2. How do you want me to act? 3. When do you want me to act? And 4. How can I best represent you today? The answers will come from studying the Bible, listening to sermons, or even in your personal discussion with God during prayer. But when you receive God's answer, and only when you receive it, then you must act. Finally Stanley ends the chapter by asserting that people should not do good hoping for reward, but must trust that God will reward you in his way, with what you need, not want. The Holy Spirit can fill you with the spirit of goodness to understand God's will and to act through him.
Chapter 5: A Life Of Holiness
The author begins the chapter by not defining what holiness is, but rather by defining what it is not. First, those who practice a holy life do not shut themselves away from humanity, the embrace others and build bridges to them. Next, a holy life does not try to do the work of the Holy Spirit, it allows the Holy Spirit to work through them. And thirdly, a holy life is not a life without sin. All people sin, as it is written in I John 1:10, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (Campbell, 2010) The Holy Spirit gives all of us the desire to want to live a holy life, rather than the feeling that we ought to live a holy life.
But what is a holy life? There are two kinds of lifestyles, one…[continue]
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