John 6:63 – It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Romans 8:5-8 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
What does it mean to be Spirit-empowered in the truest sense of the word? It means to be like Jesus! (John 6:63; Romans 8:5-8; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 5:11-12).
Sadly, most of the ancient Christian creeds, which are vital to orthodox theology, repeatedly miss out on Jesus’ life. They say He was born, He died, then rose. But what else did He do? We must focus on what is missing from the creeds – the Spirit-empowered life of Jesus. I wrote an entire book on this called Spirit-Filled Jesus, but a summary will suffice to establish Jesus Christ as our perfect example for using spiritual gifts for Spirit-filled ministry.
How did Jesus live His sinless life and die on the cross for our sin? Most Christians would answer simply, “He was God.” And yes, there is a sense in which this is true. Jesus is eternally God – past, present, and future. However, in the greatest act of humility the world has ever known, Jesus joined His divinity to humanity, taking the form of a servant, and temporarily set aside the continual use of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:1-7). Simply put, this means that Jesus did not cheat while on the earth and lean into His deity to make His hard times easy. Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, in every respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
If Jesus chose to lay down the use of His divine rights, how was He able to live the perfect life He lived? How did Jesus resist temptation? How did Jesus forgive His enemies? How did Jesus remain obedient even to the point of death on the cross? How did Jesus perform miracles? How did Jesus preach? How did Jesus endure suffering? How did Jesus obey? How did Jesus heal? How did Jesus cast out demons? It was all by the power of the Holy Spirit! He was Spirit-filled, Spirit-anointed, and Spirit-led. As Peter said in Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
Jesus’ life was lived, fully human, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Too often, when we think about the role of the Holy Spirit, we turn just to the book of Acts to see how the Holy Spirit empowers believers. But Acts is a sequel to the book of Luke. For Luke, the words “power” and “Holy Spirit” are almost always interchangeable, both in his Gospel and in Acts. (We can see this by looking at the words of Jesus in Luke 24 and then in Acts 1:8. In light of that, Luke 5:17; 6:19; and 8:46 also speak loudly.)
The book of Luke is the account of the Spirit-empowered ministry of Christ, and Acts is the account of the Spirit-empowered ministry of Christians. Christian ministry is an extension of Christ’s ministry through His people by the Spirit’s power. Jesus’ life by the Spirit’s empowerment is repeatedly stressed in Luke’s Gospel. We find, for example, that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and given the title “Christ”, which means “anointed [by the Holy Spirit]”. Jesus baptized people with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at His own baptism. Furthermore, Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” and “led by the Spirit”; He came “in the power of the Spirit” and declared that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me”. He also “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit”. Regarding the Holy Spirit’s ministry to and through Christians, Jesus also promised that God the Father would “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” and that the Holy Spirit would teach us once He was sent. (See Luke 1–2; 3:16, 21-22; 4:1-2, 14, 18; 10:21; 11:13; 12:12; cf. Isaiah 61:1.)
Find a passage in one of the Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke, or John) about how Jesus lived by the power of the Spirit. Pray for Him to help you live like Him as you live by the same Holy Spirit.
To find the 100+ page study guide and sermon series that accompanies this devotional series, or to find a free mountain of Bible teaching, visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.