We must commit to doing only what the Spirit leads us to do if we are going to truly be Spirit led. Without Him, anything we do is what the Bible calls a work of the flesh. Instead of creating a problem by doing things in our own effort and then asking the Spirit to get us out of the mess we’ve made, we must wait upon Him and follow His leading.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, put it this way: “The Holy Spirit is the living God, not some inert concept. The church community has to trust the Holy Spirit in every decision and believe strongly that the Spirit continues to be present in the community and at work in it. The Spirit will not permit our community to grope about in darkness, if only we are willing to take the Holy Spirit seriously.”
The Holy Spirit is very sensitive. He can be grieved, quenched and resisted. He will not force His way into our lives, and many people never invite Him in. But if history tells us anything, it is that He is more than willing to touch those who seek more of His power.
To understand more deeply what all this means, I look to a man whom I considered an expert in the things of the Spirit, both theologically and experientially: Derek Prince. In his important book Foundational Truths, he explains that God intends the baptism in the Holy Spirit to produce many great results in the believer’s life. He points to Hebrews 6:4–5, which speaks of believers who “have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.”
Prince says of these verses, “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit gives the believer a foretaste of an altogether new kind of power—a supernatural power that belongs, in its fullness, to the next age.”
Prince teaches that an alternate translation of the word guarantee is “down payment,” and the Lord gives us—through His Holy Spirit—a “down payment” of heavenly power and glory, a foretaste of the next age. He explains, “This down payment sets us aside as His purchased property, not to be offered to any other purchaser. It is His guarantee, too, that at the appointed time He will return with the balance of payment and take us to His home, to be with Him forever. That is why Paul calls it ‘the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,’” in Ephesians 1:14 (MEV).
Prince writes that when we are Spirit baptized, we gain new understanding of what Jesus meant when He said God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. We are no longer satisfied with man-made worship, writes Prince, because we’ve been in the heavenly land and glimpsed its glories and God’s holiness. No matter where circumstances may take us, we now worship on holy ground. We worship in Spirit—the Holy Spirit—and in truth.
What is true in our worship as Spirit-filled Christians is equally true in every other aspect of our experience. The baptism in the Spirit serves as a gateway to a new kind of supernatural life. The supernatural has become natural.
Deep worship, singing in tongues and moaning under the anointing of the Holy Spirit are all part of the worship style we associate with Pentecostals. I have thought it is interesting that the Pentecostal style of uplifted hands and the more worshipful music that came out of the charismatic movement have been adopted by many churches that probably don’t consider themselves charismatic. This shows me they are open to the Holy Spirit and long for more of God. The good news is that those who seek more of Him will find Him if they search with all their hearts.
This desire for more of God is part of how the Holy Spirit draws us to God and leads us to a place where we can overcome condemnation, guilt and shame. The Holy Spirit delivers us from the snares of the enemy and helps us overcome the immoral culture we live in.
Stephen Strang has seen major changes in the church, the culture and technology since he founded Charisma magazine in 1975. In addition to being CEO of Charisma Media, he hosts a Strang Report podcast live on YouTube and Rumble at 4 p.m. EST every Tuesday and Thursday. His important new book Spirit-Led Living in an Upside-World is available wherever fine Christian books are sold. You can get a copy signed by the author online at mycharismashop.com.