Alex and Hannah Absalom
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and… he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
Jesus’ earthly ministry – which rapidly expanded God’s Kingdom wherever He went – was empowered by the Holy Spirit. And if we want to follow Him into the mission field where we form disciple-making disciples who adore their heavenly Father, then we need the same thing: greater dependency upon God’s Holy Spirit!
Of course, it’s right to bring our training, skills and experiences to the table, but ultimately the Gospel can only be lastingly advanced when we operate under the Holy Spirit’s direction. We need to be leaders who are intentional in our pursuit of greater submission to the Spirit, lowering our internal sinful resistance to His work, and thus revealing God’s goodness and glory to more people.
Whether in your church, your group, or your personal life, here are 7 ways to move further into a lifestyle that is more deeply dependent on, and desirous of, the leading of the Holy Spirit in all things.
Of course, it’s right to bring our training, skills and experiences to the table, but ultimately the Gospel can only be lastingly advanced when we operate under the Holy Spirit’s direction.
1. ANCHOR IT IN PRAYER AND FASTING
By coming to God in humble prayer, we position ourselves to receive whatever good gifts He chooses to bestow. In Luke 11:13, Jesus reminds us that if we manage to give good things to our kids, even though we’re an evil bunch, how much more will our Father generously give us the Spirit when we ask. And He won’t trick us by giving us a snake or rock or disease or punishment instead! At times when we truly need the Spirit’s presence, power and authority, our first step is to come to God in prayer, supported by fasting.
2. BE INTERRUPTIBLE
It is fascinating that so many of the miraculous stories around Jesus occur as He is “on the way”. Interruptions occur repeatedly – see for example blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, or the woman who had suffered 12 years of hemorrhaging in Matthew 9:20-22 – but instead of becoming annoyed by them, Jesus recognizes them as Spirit-inspired opportunities to extend God’s Kingdom reign and fame. If we want to live led by the Spirit, we must spot the opportunity in the interruption!
3. BE OBEDIENT
God’s love language is obedience. The more we do what Jesus tells us to do, the more the Spirit can take hold of our lives. This principle applies both to the universal instructions found in Scripture, which are for all people at all times and in all places, as well as the specific prophetic direction that the Spirit speaks to the heart of an individual or community, a word which is for a specific person(s) at a specific time and in a specific place. Either way, we are to be the wise ones who obey Jesus, and thus see more of the Spirit’s presence in our lives (John 14:15-17)
4. BE GENEROUS
One of the outcomes of the Spirit’s impact on the daily life of the early Christians was a huge outburst of generosity. Lands were sold, money was given, resources were shared – all in a most un-American way! (Acts 4:32-37) If you don’t want your resources to be God’s in practice, rather than simply in name, then do not pursue more of the Spirit’s filling in your life. He has quite the track record of presumptive behavior on things that we’ve been given to steward!
5. TRAIN YOUR KIDS FROM THE EARLIEST AGE
Why do so many churches not teach their children about the active presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives today? The work of the Holy Spirit is not an age-restrict movie! When children follow Jesus, they don’t receive a junior version of the Holy Spirit! Yes, we definitely want to teach them the Bible, yet also let’s train our children to be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings and ministry (which, honestly, is often easier than training adults, since there is very little to debug!) If John the Baptist could do this in the womb (Luke 1:39-44), how much more can children today!
6. FUEL UP YOUR FAITH
“Just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do” (Philippians 3:17) Stop and consider: who are the people who provoke you to pursue the Lord with greater zeal, and whose walk with God inspires you to imitate their example? You will probably have a few different people, who each do well in certain areas. Some will be personal friends, others will be members of your church, and some will be more widely known speakers or leaders, both living and dead. Learn from their example of walking in step with the Spirit.
7. MODEL IT YOURSELF
Finally, if you want to influence those around you to greater dependency upon the Holy Spirit, then you must commit to living this as a lifestyle. This means making the choice when you are doing the dishes, feeling stressed at work, or find yourself stuck with annoying people – and not simply when you’re all polished up and on your best behavior! Your lifestyle is what will be most impactful upon others – so live an imitable life, where you actively pursue the promoting and anointing of the Spirit in all things. One practical tip: be known as the person who always stops to pray with others, even (especially) when in public and in those passing moments. That is one great marker of a Spirit-dependent life!
Want more resources for greater Holy Spirit Dependency? Check out the Exponential’s Prayer, Fasting and the Holy Spirit Resource Kit. This kit includes audio and video from Mark Batterson, Sam Stephens, Alex & Hannah Absalom and more from past Exponential Conferences.
Alex and Hannah Absalom lead Dandelion Resourcing (http://www.dandelionresourcing.com) – where churches, networks and leaders are equipped to enter into naturally supernatural lives as they go in mission to form disciple-making disciples of Jesus. Check out their free TED talk-length coaching videos, which give you great content to train those you lead, or their Naturally Supernatural Coaching Cohort for an immersive equipping process into the supernatural lifestyle.