Cheney wrote Getting the Words Right, an instructional manual for writing well. If I could implement half of what this book delivers, my writing skills would soar into a higher dimension, worthy of reading.
I foresee my writing coming alive with bold action words and death to the weak ‘to be’ verbs. I now know, the verb empowers the sentence.
What empowers the Christian? Getting the verbs right.
Weak verbs weaken the nouns of the sentence making them ineffective to the life of the story. Weak verbs suffocate power and life from Christians. When a believer is asked to explain the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the answer is often vague. “I was filled with the Spirit at conversion.” This hints more of a doctrinal statement than a true-life experience.
The Word of God uses the verb ‘baptized’ when describing the power given to believers. John the Baptist stated Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:19-34, Acts 11:16) John’s preparatory baptism was with water. Jesus baptizes with the Spirit and fire. Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire? Anyone who experiences such power must answer with a resounding, “Yes!”
John prophesied Jesus would baptize but while on Earth not one baptism was attributed to Him. (John 4:1-2) Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on His disciples (John 20:22) yet still instructed them to wait for the coming baptism. (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, 8)
The coming baptism would empower them to go boldly into the world with the message of who Jesus is, what He taught, and the good news of the Gospel (death, burial, and resurrection). The disciples had experienced three years gathering first hand testimony of this message. Yet Jesus still determined them unfit for service without the baptism of the Spirit.
Jesus modeled for us the need for baptism. Being God incarnate yet He did not begin His ministry until the Holy Spirit filled Him at His baptism. (John 1:32-34) Jesus experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2:1-4 the disciples experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. A fresh outpouring of His Christ-revealing, heart-awakening, sin-defeating, boldness-producing power transformed them. (John Piper) I shouted, “Amen!” I hope you did, too.
Amazing as that one encounter was to the ministry of the Gospel, it didn’t end there. Every time they prayed for more of the Spirit, they received more. (Acts 4:31, 8:14-17, Luke 11:13)
- Feeling dead, dull, and ineffective; in need of new life? Pray for a fresh baptism. (John 3:3,6; 6:63)
- Need a burst of power to your ministry? Pray for a fresh baptism. (John 7:38-39)
- Need to see Jesus? Pray for a fresh baptism. (John 15:26, 1 Corinthians 12:3)
- Want to glorify Jesus? Pray for a fresh baptism (John 16:14)
When the Holy Spirit baptizes me:
- He immerses every fiber of my being into Jesus
- He circumcises the old wicked sinful self
- He empowers me to witness with His supernatural boldness and authority
- He glorifies Jesus.
I choose to use these verbs. They bring life into me. They picture what the Word declares happens in answer to my prayer. They describe the experience.
Father, I know You filled me with Your Spirit when You brought me into Your Kingdom. I know I am sealed unto the day of redemption. But oh, precious Father, in my weaknesses, because of my sin, and under the persecution of this wicked world, I need a fresh baptism of your Spirit. I hunger for more of Jesus. I desire to magnify Jesus with every fiber of my being. For Your name’s sake and to your glory, Grant me a fresh baptism of Your Holy Spirit. Amen