Used Tool


Acts 1:8 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.”

There is worldly power and there is heavenly power. Worldly power is wielded by men. Heavenly power is wielded on them.

My wife loves power tools. If I’m looking for a gift, Home Depot or Lowe’s are the first places that come to mind. She builds stuff; tables, counter-tops, chairs. She even built me a multi-dimensional chess board. Should have seen her when I bought her a new table saw. (Just imagine a kid in a candy shop with the ferocity of a warrior.)

For my wife, tools are special because they increase her power to build desire into reality.

The disciples desired to see something built, too.  They longed for the kingdom to be re-built or re-established in Jerusalem.

It’s why they asked Jesus “Will you now restore the kingdom to Israel?” after He told them they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (v.5-6).

Did they view this promised power from on high like my wife views a gift-box labeled “Husqvarna”?

“With the power of the Spirit, we’ll eradicate Roman rule, fortify our nation and build the kingdom prophesied to come!”

Jesus seems to respond sharply “This is not for you to know.” Instead, He redirects, “When you receive the power of the Spirit, you’ll be my witnesses.”

They would soon learn that the Spirit wasn’t a power tool for them to possess for re-building their kingdom. Rather, they would be possessed by the Spirit to build His.

That’s a big difference.

There is worldly power and there is heavenly power. Worldly power is wielded by men. Heavenly power is wielded on them.

It’s no less dangerous than it is easy for Christians to believe that the Spirit is a gift of power for them to use in building a ministry, a business, or a social network to do good.

But the Spirit is not a tool in our hands. Rather by the Spirit, we’re the tools in His.

I know. No one wants to be called a tool. Fewer want to be one. Tools are used. They grind. They beat. They crank. They get dirty. Sometimes they break.

What does all that have to do with being His witness?

The word witness is μάρτυς mártus. It doesn’t just refer to one who announces the tidings of the Gospel but one who suffers death as a consequence of sharing that Good News. It is where we derive our word, martyr.

Being that kind of tool requires more than having power, but being possessed by it. That’s the intent of the Spirit. That’s the kind of tool that will have greatest impact. When things are difficult and dirty, not only is His tool still a witness, but the difficulty and the dirt make it a better one.

Consider this. The impact of sharing Good News when your worldly circumstance is good is like that of a rich man promising a poor man that he too can someday be rich. But sharing the Good News when your worldly circumstance is poor gives hope to those who share in that poverty and humbles those who don’t.

The disciples thought that the Spirit was coming to give them position and poise rather than to persevere for His purpose.

They would soon learn what you and I must. Witnessing is less about you doing something than it is about allowing something to be done with you.


One thought on “Used Tool

  1. James, this is the first time I have ever heard the “possessed” used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit! And I love the thought. It makes me realize that demonic possession is nowhere near as powerful as Holy Spirit possession! Somewhere in my walk I was taught that the Holy Spirit is a “gentleman” who whispers conviction in our ears. I now wonder about that teaching. Holy Spirit possession is what I’m after!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s