Becoming A Spirit-Empowered Family
By Kim Butts
Nancy McGuirk wrote, "Have you ever experienced an empowering or filling of God’s Spirit in your own life? This empowering sometimes enables us to endure painful circumstances, opposition and hardship. At other times it may be a special anointing for service, or an empowering for a particular task. In every one of these circumstances, we know that we are standing firm not because of our own ability, but because of God’s power. He faithfully grants us the ability to accomplish His eternal purpose – to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be certain that when we are at our very weakest, God provides His strength through the wondrous power of the precious Holy Spirit."
Can you imagine the impact on the Church of Jesus Christ when believing families begin to live Spirit-filled lives, displaying the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and completely empowered for God’s work? The Bible assures us that this is completely within the grasp of our families because of the power of the Holy Spirit. When we make the decision to follow Christ, and to become baptized believers, the Lord promises the gift of the Holy Spirit so we can know without a doubt that we have everything we need to live lives completely empowered by His presence and His power. "We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit" (1 John 4:13).
Our wonderful Father is concerned for the hearts, minds and spirits of all people, and it is clear that God pours out His Spirit on believers regardless of age or gender. "And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days" (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-18). This means that your entire family is to be completely involved in His powerful work! Please do not limit your young children by thinking their ability to understand the things of God is less than that of the older members of your family. God wants to pour out His Spirit on even the youngest child.
In the Old Testament, the Lord poured out His Holy Spirit to create, to redeem His people, to equip His servants for particular tasks, and to inspire and direct the ministries of His prophets. Whenever God had a special responsibility for one of His servants, He would uniquely empower him. Examples: Read Judges 3:10 to see how God used Othniel, Judges 6:34 for the story of Gideon, Judges 11:29 for the empowering of Jephthah, and Judges 14:6,19 to see how God poured out His Spirit on Samson. First Samuel 16:13 tells about the beginning of David’s service to the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When the tabernacle was to be built, Bezalel was filled "…with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship" (Exodus 31:3-5). Oholiab was similarly empowered, and the Lord gave these two men the ability to teach others through the power of His Spirit. Perhaps the key to being used by God as He gives His Spirit is in Exodus 36:2: "Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work." The Lord can empower us, but we must respond willingly to do the work He has called us to do. God can prepare and empower our families for His plans and purposes, but He can only use us when we clothe ourselves in humility and holiness…and as we are willing to come and do the work. Is your family eager to do the Lord’s work?
Characteristics of Spirit-Empowered Families
In the Old Testament, God had specific reasons for using His servants. The empowerment of the Holy Spirit was given for these purposes only. Through Jesus Christ, we, as God’s servants, are given the gift of the Holy Spirit when He becomes Lord and Savior of our lives: "And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us" (1 John 3:23-24). This is a gift that becomes part of the DNA of who we are as Christians, because the Father wants to use us continually to do His kingdom work. The power of the Spirit is not just poured out for a certain time or circumstance, but is available to us always. If our families are available to God, and we are "willing to do the work," He can use us in amazing ways. Study through these Scriptures together and actively apply them to the life of your family.
A Spirit-Empowered Family:
• Is always aware that the Holy Spirit lives in and works through them. Ezekiel 36:27 prophesied, "And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws." God, through Jesus, has fulfilled this prophecy by giving His Spirit to allow the human spirit to do His will: "Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call’" (Acts 2:38-39). The promise of the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all Christians. "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink" (1 Cor. 12:13). There are many Christians who are saved, but who are not willing to do the work of the Spirit. A Spirit- empowered family will always be aware that God’s Spirit is working, and will be "willing" to allow Him to use their actions and words to do His work. They will look to His Word, and obey His commands: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
• Knows that the Spirit of God has made them and that the breath of the Almighty gives them life (Job 33:4). A Spirit-empowered family is always aware that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for them to do (Ephesians 2:10).
• Believes that it is by the power of the Spirit, and not the ability or strength of the flesh that accomplishes His purposes in and through them (Zechariah 4:6). Let go and let God!
• Does not grieve the Holy Spirit by rebelling against Him (Isaiah 63:10, Ephesians 4:30-32). The Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin.
• Recognizes that God gives His Spirit without limit – to those who ask (Luke 11:11-12, John 3:34). The work of the Spirit is the greatest of God’s gifts. A Spirit-empowered family will never put limits on God.
• Knows that the Spirit is truth! "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you" (John 16:13-15). The Spirit of Truth teaches us the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-15).
• Responds to the truth by spreading the Gospel. The Spirit-empowered family knows the truth through the Spirit, and spreads the truth by the power of the Spirit working in and through them. It is the Holy Spirit who brings people to the truth of God (John 14:16-17), which is why a Spirit-empowered family should always be compelled to "…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything (Jesus) has commanded (them)…" (Matthew 28:19-20). Through the power of God’s Spirit, they can speak the Word of God boldly (Acts 4:31).
• Knows that the Holy Spirit teaches how to live holy lives: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). The Spirit-empowered family realizes that they are called to live a holy life, and that the Spirit is the ultimate instructor: "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).
• Receives God’s love that has been poured into their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). A Spirit-empowered family will live out the love of God in and through their lives.
• Is not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9-11). The power of the Spirit is life-giving.
• Serves the Lord with joy (Romans 14:17) and overflows with hope (Romans 15:13). Unbelievers are looking for joyful, hope-filled families.
• Knows that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Present your bodies as living sacrifices… holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1).
• Knows that God’s gifts of grace are produced in them by the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
• Knows that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). The power of the Spirit sets families free to love and serve.
• Knows that they are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). Will others see Jesus in you?
• Produces fruit (Galatians 5:22–25). The indwelling Holy Spirit produces Christian virtues in every believer’s life.
• Sows to please the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-10). This is a true act of humility.
• Desires to be strengthened in their inner beings so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17). Unbelievers will be watching to see if your lives demonstrate the power of your faith.
• Knows how to wield the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). Always remember that the battle is spiritual and must be fought with spiritual weapons.
• Knows how to pray in the Spirit – according to the Spirit’s promptings and with the power of the Spirit (Jude 1:20); "…on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18).
Become a Spirit-Empowered Family
When you have studied these passages, ask the Lord to use you in the power of His Holy Spirit. Seek the face of Jesus day by day. Get to know Him intimately, so that you can give yourselves wholeheartedly to Him. Seek His heart to know how He wants to use you. He may choose to use certain members of your family in different ways, or He may choose to use you as a complete family unit. Do not hinder the youngest ones. Instead, assume that the Father is going to use them powerfully. Be ready to encourage one another as the Lord leads you. Pray together continually. Yield your lives to His power and His purposes. Above all – be willing to come and do the work!