By Dr. Barry Thornton
“God is more interested in our availability than our ability.” The wisdom in this statement is illustrated over and over again in Scripture as God often chose average individuals to fulfill his extraordinary purposes.
“Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?’” (Acts 2:7). Incredulous, the crowd even tried to explain away the miracle as drunkenness. But, as Peter duly noted, it was too early to presuppose drunkenness. What’s more, this miraculous manifestation was a fulfillment of what the prophet Joel had predicted. God used a handful of obedient, available, simple men to set into motion, in tandem with the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church.
The Holy Spirit Enables
Paul refers to the gospel in Romans 1:16 as the “power of God for salvation” (NIV 1984). Embedded in the Greek is the idea that the gospel is “dynamite” waiting to be lit by a willing heart, and when it is shared with the Holy Spirit’s leading through the Word of God, it is dynamically illustrated. For us it is simple: If we are willing, the Holy Spirit enables us to speak the revealed, biblical “dynamite” to bring about miraculous change in others. It comes down to a faith that is willing to take God at his Word, believing in his promise to empower us to speak the life-changing words of truth. God enables us through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must believe and be available to him, just as the apostles were.
The Holy Spirit Emboldens
Knowing that the Holy Spirit is there to serve as a guide through the Word of God, this assurance communicates not only a transforming message but a transformed messenger. As we lose ourselves in holy purposes, God ignites our potential for sharing the gospel and takes us from reserved intellectual faith to emboldened dynamic faith. Simple belief gives way to unreserved expression. Ask God to fill you with his Spirit so that you, too, might be emboldened to speak—to ignite the gospel.
Dr. Barry Thornton and his wife, Janet, live in Moberly, Missouri, where he serves as director of development, instructor, and church consultant with Central Christian College of the Bible.