If you are going to “make disciples,” you must be a disciple – learning, loving, obeying, and following after the Lord Jesus. It doesn’t take long until you realize that following after Christ is an impossible task if you try to do it in your own strength and power.
Consider the demands:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 ESV)
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 ESV)
“Be holy for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:16 ESV)
“Be anxious for nothing.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
J. Oswald Saunders helps us:
“Is God so unreasonable as to make impossible demands on us and then hold us responsible for our failures? Our conscious spiritual inadequacy underlines our need for a partner who has adequate spiritual resources from which we can draw.”
God has provided this unseen partner in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Godhead indwells the disciple and empowers him in his walk and witness!
- His walk
The disciple’s walk is his whole manner of life – his thoughts, motives, attitudes, and actions! The disciple learns he must surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit. Consider what Paul says in Ephesians:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 ESV)
To be “filled with the Spirit” is to be controlled and empowered by the Spirit. When we surrender to the Spirit’s control over our lives, He empowers us to follow Christ and bring glory to God! He provides the adequate resources necessary to do what we cannot do on our own – live the Christ life!
- His witness
Jesus told believers in Acts:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8 ESV)
Only in the power of the Spirit can we really be empowered to be dynamic witnesses for Christ. The word “power” in the language of the New Testament is the same word from which we get the word “dynamite.”
Consider the disciple Peter — In his own strength, he was a miserable failure who denied Christ, but when empowered by the Spirit, he fearlessly stood before the Jewish leaders and would not deny his Lord!
Following Christ is impossible in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to control and empower us, we can follow Jesus wherever He leads!