Let us celebrate: From ‘God with us’ to ‘God in us’

Another Christmas has come and gone, and 2018 brings with it new opportunities. For some, this time of year is depressing. The celebrations of Christmas are filled with family, faith and friends, and we will miss Christmas and the things associated with the season.

As the calendar changes to a new year, we have a tremendous opportunity. This is the season of new beginnings. For Christians, this is a great time to remind ourselves of what Jesus taught his disciples as he prepared to leave this earth for heaven.

In John 16, he said, “… I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Notice that when the Spirit arrived, he would not just walk with them, but would reside in them. From God with us to God in us. May this be a year when the Holy Spirit has his way in the lives of Christians all across this community. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace.

It seems that we are living in an age when many do not understand the work of the Holy Spirit. Even men and women of faith, who are active in the church, often are perplexed by “life in the Spirit.” One popular author, Francis Chan, has written a book about “the tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit.” The title of his writing: “Forgotten God.”

It seems that the church is somewhat powerless in the world today. This should not be. For Jesus said that when the Spirit comes upon us we will receive power from on high. Oh, Lord, send your power that we might be effective servants in this world that desperately needs you.

How we exercise this power matters. This is not a power for one’s own purposes and glory. Rather, this is a power to be used for God’s purposes and for his glory. Acts 1:8 says, “… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses …”

May those of us who comprise the church of the living God learn to walk in the Spirit so that we might become powerful representatives of the Almighty God in the communities where we live and serve. May we represent Him well.

Notice in Acts 2, following the Holy Spirit coming to empower the disciples, everything changed. Prior to this empowering moment, the disciples were timid, fearful and powerless. But after the Holy Spirit came, they were radical, brave and powerful witnesses for Christ.

When Peter preached his first sermon, his message cut to the very heart of man’s need. Three thousand people were drawn into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. May that kind of empowerment find way to God’s church in 2018.

Mark Adcock is pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.