We have been invited by Jesus to help build his church.
And to this end the Holy Spirit works through us.
He works through our natural skills and abilities and even gives us supernatural gifts. These abilities and gifts are given by God for us to glorify him and serve others.
There are four primary ways the Holy Spirit works through us today.
1. The Holy Spirit Calls Us
The Holy Spirit not only calls people to faith in Jesus Christ, but he calls us to a specific vocation or task.
This means that the God of the universe will guide you into the vocational decisions you make. Sometimes our life will appear to be a random hodgepodge of loosely connected events tied together, but this is not the case at all. God is directing your steps and guiding your life—even when it comes to work.
Here are just a few examples:
- The Holy Spirit asked for Barnabas and Saul to be set apart “for the work to which [he] called them” (Acts 13:2)
- The Holy Spirit led Philip to help an Ethiopian eunuch understand the Old Testament (Acts 8:26-40)
- The Holy Spirit even forbid Paul from entering specific regions to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:6-7)
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will supernaturally guide us in the decisions we make. But here me loud and clear on this one: This is the exception, not the rule. (Sorry to disappoint you.)
Normally the Holy Spirit guides us through the ordinary ebbs and flows of life. As you trust God (Prov. 3:5-6), read the Bible (Rom. 12:1-2), and seek godly counsel (Prov. 11:14), the Holy Spirit will guide you into the work he has called you to.
2. The Holy Spirit Empowers Us
The Holy Spirit also empowers us for service.
This means he enables us to do what we’ve been called to do.
From the pages of the Old Testament we observe the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence in the lives of Joshua (Num. 27:18), Saul (1 Sam. 11:6), David (1 Sam. 16:13), and many others, to accomplish what they were called to do.
In the New Testament, we see that he empowered Jesus’ earthly ministry (Luke 4:14), the early disciples (Acts 1:8), and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5).
The Holy Spirit is capable of empowering our natural abilities and improving upon them for a special task or purpose. This explains how God is capable of accomplishing his work through your average, ordinary, and even rejected members of society.
Shoot, Peter and John, two of the most important men in church history, were considered “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13), yet God powerfully worked through their lives.
So take heart and be humble if you’re reading this today.
For “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).
3. The Holy Spirit Empowers Evangelistic Efforts
Jesus is alive and he is building his church.
His church isn’t built through political engagement or military might. His church is built through the proclamation of the gospel.
Thankfully God hasn’t left us alone in his work. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower our evangelistic efforts.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to be a witness (Acts 1:8), directs our evangelistic efforts (Acts 8:26, 29), and empowers our evangelistic efforts (Acts 4:38, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:12).
The Holy Spirit’s aim in glorifying Jesus Christ is fulfilled by him enabling, guiding, and empowering our proclamation of the gospel.
4. The Holy Spirit Gives Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit also works through us by giving us spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:11).
He doesn’t give us these gifts for our personal benefit, either.
He gives us gifts for the common good of the church (1 Cor. 12:7). This means that we receive spiritual gifts for building up the church, not our personal platform.
He also gives us gifts for us to serve others with (1 Pet. 4:10), not ourselves.
God also gives some spiritual gifts, such as tongues and prophecy, as a sign for unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22). At times God will reveal his glory to unbelievers through a supernatural display of spiritual gifts.
There are multiple spiritual gifts listed in the Bible (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). We don’t get to choose what gift we receive. They’re given to us by God for his glory and our good.