Years ago, when my respected Bible Study leader asked me if I would give my testimony in MOPS, I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to say yes, but I was terrified!
Days before the event, my nerves threatened to take over. I prayed and asked the Lord to speak through me.
But I felt sick, and fought against the tornado of anxiety spinning inside my stomach.
When I walked up to the podium and began speaking, I suddenly felt unexplainable peace. My hands still shook a little, but my nerves didn’t take over, the Holy Spirit did.
Afterward, women came up to me and thanked me. One woman couldn’t contain her tears and expressed how much my message spoke to her heart.
I knew her tears didn’t come from my own ability to speak. It was Jesus. It was His power. His message. His glory.
There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing the Almighty God is able to work through such a weak vessel as myself.
I wish I could end that story by telling you I’m a traveling speaker whose not afraid of public speaking anymore. But I know if God calls me to speak again He’ll help me knock down that wall of fear.
When God calls us to serve him, we find assurance in knowing we don’t rely on our own strength and ability. We rely on the Holy Spirit to make us ready and enable us to fulfill what he’s stirring in our hearts to do.
If you missed the first two posts in this series, you may want to read Do You Know Who the Holy Spirit Is? and Why God gives Christians the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
According to Wayne Grudem, author of Systematic Theology, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is:
“to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the church.” (p.634)
Basically, that means God gave us the Holy Spirit so others could see Jesus in us—his power in our weakness, his grace that covers our sin. His joy. His peace. This gives God glory. The Holy Spirit enables us to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Did you know the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus?
When Jesus preached at Nazareth, he said;
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) NIV
The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to spread the gospel even through persecution. He empowered them when they were insecure, weak, afraid, and even after they messed up.
When Paul was afraid, he says in Corinthians that his weakness was proof that the power of God was working through Him.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven after the resurrection, he told his disciples:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) NIV
You are a witness. Whether you are ministering to your kids by cleaning up spills and picking up toys, coaching your child’s sports team, leading Bible studies, or working 9 to 5.
When you feel like you don’t have the strength or you’re too afraid to step out in obedience, God promises to equip you in these ways:
The Holy Spirit empowers each believer with spiritual gifts to use for ministry.
These spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our lives (1 Cor. 12:11).
The Holy Spirit empowers our prayer life.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26) NIV
The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome spiritual opposition.
The spiritual gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10), and the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) helps us fight the spiritual battle. God empowers you to overcome spiritual opposition when you minister his truth to others.
“The indwelling Holy Spirit wants to manifest the excellent power of His life through you.” Daniel Henderson, Transforming Presence
Paul wanted to encourage the believers in Ephesus of the power they had. If you are a Christian, YOU have the power of the Holy Spirit working through you.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 18-20
Isn’t that amazing! God will give you the strength to accomplish his work! Amen!
I asked some of my blogging friends to share a paragraph about how the Holy Spirit has worked in their lives. I asked these questions:
How did God work through your weakness to show his glory? How did your obedience strengthen your faith?
I love these powerful testimonies!
“When I first moved to our small town, I called all of the churches and none of them had a women’s Bible study. After deciding which church we wanted to attend, and attending for about a year, I contacted the women’s ministry director and asked about starting one. She thought it was a great idea, and she wanted me to lead it. The problem with that is, I am an introvert with horrible stage fright. The first year of the study, she agreed to do the talking, as long as I prepared the lessons. The next year, however, she wanted me to take over. I remember praying in my car all the way to the church. My prayer mimicked that of the early believers in Acts 4:29 (even though I wasn’t being persecuted). I wanted God to help me speak His Word with great boldness. Which, of course, He did.”
Heather Hart CandidlyChristian.com
“There was a 20-year-old girl whose husband passed away suddenly. She asked me to help her process her grief and I remember telling God that I didn’t feel ready to help someone with such a huge loss. He simply said I’ll be with you. Then as I spoke with her, words I’d never planned were literally just flowing out of me. It was the first time I had ever experienced such Holy Spirit led communication. I’ve never forgotten it and from then on I knew I could count on Him to guide me through anything! God is still leading me in this very same way today as I work as a crisis chat line coach. So many times I will wonder how can I help this poor wounded soul….that still small voice says to me every time, “Let me guide you, I’m here and I’ll give you the words to say!”
April Nelson healinginheart.com
“Almost two years ago, my best friend was dying of breast cancer. I had been with her through her three-year battle. I had gone to every appointment, every treatment and now I was holding her hand at the end. Her family was there and I didn’t know what to say. As the end came, I nervously started praying aloud (something I never do). I knew God was using me to help my dearest friend and her family that day.”
Jen Cannon redemptionstouch.com
“A long time ago, I was called to confess something terrible I had done. The other person would never have known it if I held my tongue. In my fear and pride, knowing I should say something, I refused for years until one Saturday morning, the Lord whispered four words into my heart, “The time is now.”
As I tearfully confessed, in terror but obedience to the Lord, the other person cried and apologized for not supporting the relationship at the time. Afterward, our relationship was stronger than before the confession. Wow—talk about Amazing Grace. This was the first time I realized God’s utter faithfulness and kindness to me even in my sin and shame.”
Leigh Mackenzie “The Church Girl Writes” Jesusineverything.com
I was asked to speak at a ladies conference several years ago. This is way outside of my comfort zone! I really had to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me and give me the words to say. Standing up in front of 400+ ladies and telling my story was terrifying to me. That conference led to two more and notes enough to compile a book, The Heart That Heals, which will be available on Amazon in September 2019.
Patsy Burnette InstaEncouragements
In 2017 I lost the Web Site I’d worked so hard in creating because the host was no longer fulfilling their promises. That meant I needed to go with a site that I owned myself: WordPress.org. I told the Lord repeatedly with tears, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” It was so hard and complicated to get started, BUT GOD has been so faithful. When I’d get discouraged, Isaiah 41:10 or 13 would pop into my devotionals: “I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Sure enough, just the right book, email, webinar, or Facebook group would come along my path to guide me. I always see Him holding my right hand as it holds the mouse!
Ann Miesner godwhoareyou.org
What about you? I would love for you to share in the comments how the Holy Spirit has empowered you to serve him when you felt weak?