Today's Foundations Devotional: Serving God in the power of the Spirit

There is significance in the two different phrases which Luke uses in this account of Satan’s temptation of Christ, which we looked at yesterday, and its consequences. In Luke 4:1 he says:

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit ... was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

But at the end of the temptations, in Luke 4:14, we read:

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee.

Before His encounter with Satan, Jesus was already “filled with the Holy Spirit.” But it was only after Jesus had encountered and defeated Satan with the sword of God’s Word that He was able to commence His God-appointed ministry “in the power of the Spirit.” There is a distinction therefore between being filled with the Spirit and being able to minister in the power of the Spirit. Jesus only entered into the power of the Spirit after He had first used the sword of God’s Word to defeat Satan’s attempt to turn Him aside from the exercise of His Spirit-empowered ministry.

This is a lesson which needs to be learned by Christians today. Many Christians who have experienced a perfectly scriptural infilling of the Holy Spirit never go on to serve God in the power of the Spirit. The reason is that they have failed to follow the example of Christ. They have never learned to wield the sword of God’s Word in such a way as to defeat Satan and repulse his opposition to the exercise of the ministry for which God actually filled them with the Holy Spirit.

It may safely be said that no person has a greater and more urgent need to study the Word of God than the Christian who has newly been filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, sad to say, such Christians often seem to imagine that being filled with the Spirit is somehow a substitute for the diligent study and application of God’s Word. In reality, the very opposite is true.

No other item of a soldier’s armour is any substitute for his sword, and no matter how thoroughly he may be armed at all other points, a soldier without his sword is in grave danger. So it is with the Christian. No other spiritual equipment or experience is any substitute for a thorough knowledge of God’s Word, and no matter how thoroughly he may be equipped in all other respects, a Christian without the sword of God’s Word is always in grave danger.

Father God, I want to fully function in all the power that You have made available to me through Your Holy Spirit. I long to be fully available for You so that Your supernatural power may function, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit in and through my life, in our time. Amen.

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