100-Day Identity Makeover: Day 9
The original believers had been with Jesus; they walked with Him; they saw the miracles He performed. These men and women were witnesses of their Lord’s death upon a cross, and, subsequently, they witnessed the reality of His resurrection. “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
Prior to Jesus’ return to the Father in heaven, he prepared His followers for how they were going to testify to others about all they had seen and experienced. “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. 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 1:7-8).
You are empowered to witness.
I love a commission, and Jesus gives the ultimate one: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus gives the why, the what, and the how! He said because He received all authority, He can now commission us to go forth with the gospel (Matthew 28:18). He said our focus is to go into the entire world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Lastly, Jesus told how we would accomplish the mission. We would receive power to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Imagine a commission of an American soldier that is incomplete. He has the authority of the U.S. Government, and he has received the task of defending the Constitution, but he is without any means to enforce his commission. Let’s say this soldier is on the front lines of battle and when confronting the enemy, he says, “By the authority of the United States, I command you to stop and retreat to an area within your own nation’s borders!” The enemy, however, continues his advancement, ignoring the words of the U.S. soldier because there is no power to enforce them. Without a weapon in his hands, the American defender is powerless to enforce the commission.
Thank the Father in heaven that His assignment for believers comes with authority, with direction, and with power! Child of God, you are Spirit-anointed: you are under the authority of Jesus, entrusted with a great commission, and given the power of the Holy Spirit to execute it. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Think about it: in making disciples (people who commit their lives to Jesus and walk in obedience to Him), we are raiding the camps of darkness and setting captives free! This is the work not of a good person who wants to do good things; setting captives free is the work of a Holy Spirit-empowered servant of God! “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me… to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” (Isaiah 61:1).
Do you see evidence of darkness having free rein in your country? In your community? In your family? The fact that you see it means you are positioned to oppose it; in other words, recognize the Holy Spirit’s anointing to bring order to the chaos created by darkness.
I remember fondly the story of a missionary to China in the 1900’s. Gladys Aylward moved in the might of the Spirit. While residing in England, she worked as a housekeeper and saved money to be able to follow the Lord’s call to Asia. She finally secured the funds and traveled for months until she reached China. She immediately joined in the work of another missionary, Jeanne Lawson. After years of being held in distrust by the villagers, Gladys achieved the respect of her community and was assigned the job of foot-inspecting, a task that involved going from village to village to enforce the law prohibiting the ancient tradition of binding young girls’ feet. This gave her opportunity to meet with people in their homes and share the love of Jesus.
On one occasion, a prison had an outbreak of violence, so the local authorities sent Gladys to the site to restore order. Can you imagine? The woman once considered a “foreign devil” is now the prison governor’s only hope to restore order! She herself questioned why she would be sent to do such a task. “I’m only a foot-inspector,” Gladys said! The missionary prayed then entered into the chaos and loudly yelled, “Stop!” The men ceased from fighting and looked at her for further instructions, and she was ready! The Spirit-anointed servant, Gladys Aylward, restored order to a prison out of control!1
Child of God, you are Spirit-anointed to restore order! Perhaps you see the kingdom reality afresh and realize today that you are not to live overwhelmed by the conditions of society. In everything, the Holy Spirit’s anointing upon you seeks to restore. The corruption and immorality present in our culture serve as evidence of every individual’s need of a Savior. Jesus is the Restorer. He made the way for each wayward heart to return to the Creator and Lover of their soul.
Walk It Out Hear God’s Word and put it into practice (Luke 8:21).
Pray for your loved ones and friends who are not in a relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit will give you opportunity to witness to them.
1 Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.