We all love a promise…and we hate it, too, right? When someone promises us something, it creates a longing, a hopeful expectation for the fulfillment of something special. Promises give us something to look forward to –– and something to wait for. What’s beautiful is, while we often break our promises to each other, God promises us better things than we could ever imagine, and he never breaks his promises.
1. Be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
- When we put our faith and trust in Jesus, God gives us his Holy Spirit to indwell us eternally. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is slightly different. There is not one way the Spirit baptizes people, and it’s not about specific timing. For instance, some people receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion, while for others it happens at another time. But when the Spirit baptizes us, it’s undeniable.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit is often accompanied by the charismatic gifts –– tongues, prophecy, healing, words of knowledge, etc. Ultimately, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire means, when we are in the Spirit, the Lord burns off the nasty parts of our lives. We are not naturally open to God’s work in our lives, however. We can usually tell where he’s working by what frustrates us, and at that point, we can either surrender or resist.
What is one situation you’re facing that frustrates you? What is the refining work God is doing in your life through those circumstances? And are you resisting His work or surrendering to it?
2. The Spirit gives power for mission.
- The Holy Spirit always comes with power in our lives, which is important because that’s how God empowers us to fulfill the calling he’s given us in our lives.
God’s calling to each of us is to be on mission to make disciples. (Read Matthew 28:18-20).
- Within God’s universal call to discipleship, he gives each of us specific callings on our lives. We need to die to our self-styled lives to be made alive in Christ. We have to die to our own dreams to live into God’s dreams for us.
How is God calling you specifically to be on mission? And how is God empowering you for that mission? How are you making disciples right now? If you have not been baptized in the Spirit, take some time and pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for yourself or in your group.
3. The Spirit brings gifts.
- For a description of spiritual gifts, check out 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4, as well as Galatians 5 for more on the fruit of the Spirit.
- The Spirit always brings gifts and bears fruit in our lives. Because there is “one Spirit and a diversity of gifts,” speaking in tongues is not the only way to be baptized in the Spirit.
- The ultimate gift of the Holy Spirit is a transformed life.
What are your spiritual gifts? Reflect on your life over the last year or two: how has the Spirit of God transformed your life in that time? What gifts and fruit has the Spirit borne in your life?
4. The work of the Spirit creates confusion.
- In Acts 1-2, the disciples speaking in tongues brought confusion to the crowd gathered. The works of God can be difficult to comprehend, but the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of confusion.
- Read 2 Timothy 1:7.
In the midst of circumstances where the work of God is confusing, how is the Lord’s Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind leading you to trust Him? How can you lean into the work of the Spirit in your life in a greater way?
Optional Follow-up Questions
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?