What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life

March 20, 2020

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability… When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers… “We all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” Acts 2:1-4,6,10-12 NLT

Peter and the disciples had spent days huddled up, doing anything to keep away from public view, afraid of the consequences of having been a follower of Jesus. Yet, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came, and nothing was the same. Now Peter jumps to the forefront of the crowd. Now with the power of the Holy Spirit he leaps up to rebuke the scoffers and explain the situation. More than that, he grabs the opportunity to proclaim a sermon of legendary boldness and clarity, calling his listeners to repent and believe.

The presence of the Holy Spirit will always work in our lives to stand up courageously and declare Jesus. For Peter this was nothing short of remarkable. Like all of us, he had plenty of failures in his past. Just pages earlier in the story of Peter in the gospels, he betrayed Christ and ran. Yet Peter didn’t let his past failures control him or stop him from jumping to proclaim the gospel with history-changing results. Peter seemed to forget his past failures and looked at the present as a new opportunity to be Christ’s witness. That’s the effect of the Holy Spirit on a leader. As we have the Holy Spirit, we will not let our past control us. Our failures no longer define us, and our flaws don’t disqualify us.

It is possible to be skilled in ministry but bearlittle fruit. The disciples had little personal success in the early days even though they mostly were raised in the synagogue and hung around with Jesus. We can have knowledge and best practices and even sincere desire, but still act only in our own strength. That solitary effort doesn’t lead to anything. Branches that are separate from the vine never produce grapes (John 15).

But that’s not what happened to Peter: He preached a sermon and “three thousand souls” turned to Christ in faith (Acts 2:41). That’s the difference the Holy Spirit makes. People notice. Some people scoff and reject, but many are saved. Real fruit is a difference the Spirit makes.

  • Lord, I want to lead in Your power, not my charisma. Help me look to You and not my gifts and abilities. I want to be strong in the Spirit. Amen.