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May 25, 2015

The Difference the Holy Spirit Makes

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31 (NIV)

If you want to see the difference the Holy Spirit makes, check out the lives of those early Christ followers. Like Peter, every one of them fled when Jesus was arrested in the garden. Peter even denied knowing Him when asked on three occasions. Only the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling their lives could have transformed them and given them the courage to speak boldly about Christ. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter sounded like a different man! He was! Just as you and I are different when the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in our lives. Rather than shrinking back in fear, Peter steps up and shouts out the message of the Gospel.

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to a cross and killed Him. But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip…. So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah! Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, Brothers, what should we do? Peter replied, Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God. Acts 2:22-24; 36-39 (NLT)

Does that sound like the same man who denied knowing Jesus? The Holy Spirit gave Peter the boldness he lacked before. And look at the result:

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. Acts 2:41 (NLT)

Only God could have done that! Only God can change a life! Only God can transform your fears into faith! Without the Holy Spirit, they were merely men who believed, but had no power to achieve what God had called them to do. It wasn’t education, or even association with Jesus for three years, that changed them. You can believe in God, go to church, and even get a degree in the Bible and, yet, still be powerless without the Holy Spirit. The moment you put your trust in Jesus as your Savior from sin, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your heart. His purpose is to glorify Christ by reproducing the likeness of Jesus in your life and character. He produces the fruit of the Spirit within us. The Bible says,

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

His desire is to teach our minds, control our emotions, and direct our wills so that others may see Jesus in all that we do and say. Are you living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Begin each day, asking God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, and discover the difference He makes in your life!