“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about”…But you will receive power when the Holy spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:4,8

One of the hallmarks of Christmas is giving!

We give gifts to our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers and neighbours.

So in this blog post I’d like to reflect on this well-known passage in Acts about THE gift of the Holy Spirit.

So, let me begin by being honest with you (and myself).

I tend to be a “task-orientated” type personality.

Waiting for me is HARD!

Somehow, I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Interesting to note that following Jesus’ instructions to “wait”, the disciples blurt out, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6)

They wanted to get on with the job.

Sometimes we surge ahead of God instead of waiting.

Waiting involves patience (a fruit of the Spirit) and when we patiently wait for the LORD in our circumstances, an eager anticipation of what God is going to do replace’s our frustrated impatience.

To use a familiar holiday experience to help us recognize the benefit of waiting, think of Christmas.

Don’t we all wait with expectation to open our gifts?

Concerning the word “power” in verse 8, the Life Application Study Notes say, “We need to understand that power from the Holy Spirit is not limited to strength beyond the ordinary – that power also involves courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability and authority.”

How many times have I sought power with regards to the above from sources other than the Holy Spirit?

Too many times to count!

I’ve often relied on my education, my position, my skills, my personality….However, in order for us to joyfully fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, we need to start by asking the LORD to fill us with His Holy Spirit.

I’m reminded of something one of my husband’s seminary professors said, “Be careful that the work of the LORD doesn’t replace the LORD of the work”. Too often in ministry we see the need so we rush off to do the work, expecting God to somehow catch up and empower the work.

It’s WE who need to be empowered, not the work!!

Over and over again in Acts we read of how the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit as they witnessed of the risen Christ (Acts 4:8, Acts 7:55, Acts 9:17, Acts 13:52)

We should not use the Holy Spirit to do ministry, rather, the Holy Spirit should be using us to do His ministry.

Let me be clear.

ZOE Projects involves meeting needs.

However, we don’t just want to recruit you to a needy cause.

We want to invite you into Kingdom work.

ZOE is a life-giving movement.

A movement that believes that the transforming power of God can do the impossible.

So this Christmas season as you give your gifts, remind yourself of His gift to you and determine to be a person who develops the spiritual discipline of waiting on God so that He can empower you to be His witness in a world that so desperately needs to see Christ!

Get involved, speak up, pray, write a song, host a party, write a poem, raise funds, give, share their story …

Marvelyn Schell