Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5
People say I’m bold. It wasn’t always like that. When I had to deliver a speech at school I was terrified. I would mumble, forget my words, and sweat profusely. But it all changed when, just before my nineteenth birthday, I became a Christian. God removed the spirit of timidity and gave me a spirit of boldness.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, that’s exactly what happened with the early believers. When the day of Pentecost came, timid disciples were transformed by the filling of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:4). The change was profound. Peter, who had already proved that a girl by a campfire was all that was needed to get him to deny he’d ever heard of Jesus, became a spokesman who pleaded with the Jews to save themselves from their corrupt generation. As a result of his message about three thousand people were baptized and added to the church that day (cf. Acts 2:40-41).
That’s what happens when a person is “filled with the Holy Spirit.” God gives a competence beyond natural abilities. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 when he says that “our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant.”
Which means that the filling of the Spirit isn’t something reserved for prophets and apostles. It’s something for every believer. In fact, if you take the time to read through Acts, you’ll discover that the phrase “filled with the Spirit” is often linked to a consequence: They spoke with boldness (cf. Acts 4:8-13; 5:29; 7:51; 9:27).
Yet tragic as it may sound, I’ve discovered that the filling of the Spirit, and the boldness that goes with it, is not a normative experience for many Christians today. Even a number of mature believers lack confidence and are afraid, hesitant, or unsure about sharing their faith with others.
In contrast, what strikes me about the early church is that the believers continually sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke boldly in His name (cf. Acts 4:23- 31). It was quite straightforward. They prayed together, waited on God, and asked Him for His power (cf. Acts 2:42-47).
It hasn’t changed. You can have the same boldness and effectiveness as the believers of the early church. The filling of the Spirit isn’t something that’s unique or restricted to a special group of people. It’s for ordinary believers who want to do extraordinary things for God.
Make it a priority to have a fresh in-filling of God’s power. Pray daily that you might “be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18. For when you’re “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19), impossible assignments are made possible. Yes, when you’re filled with the Spirit you’ll have the boldness to speak up and spread the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.