Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had risen from the grave and was now being seen by his disciples and hundreds of others. He was making ready for His ascension into Heaven to be with his father.

However, many had a problem understanding His teachings and his desire to leave the earth. I suggest there were three main reasons why there was so much confusion among those who had seen Jesus.

First, many had not released it from their thoughts that Jesus had come to rule over Israel on the earth. They did not want Him to leave the earth. The wanted an earthly kingdom and for him to be the ruler.

Second, some doubted Jesus had been resurrected and where others did not doubt Jesus’ resurrection, they saw him as a spiritual being.

Third, they did not know, nor could they fully understand and appreciate the resurrection until Jesus ascended into heaven. Then, he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within them just a few days after His departure. That says to me that Jesus would come back and dwell in them as the Holy Spirit.

St. Luke makes this clear in a quote from Jesus. “For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 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 1:5-9).

I sincerely believe that one of the greatest detriments of the church is that too many Christian try to live in this world without the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. I do not say that people are not saved — for remember that Jesus took care of that for us on the cross. My concern is that we are saved but lack the power to be witnesses for Christ and to make a difference in the world.

Now the question arises: How do I get the Holy Spirit?

Simply stated, we must surrender our lives to God completely. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

I hope you can agree with me that now is the time for us to be taught and led by the Holy Spirit.

Our nation is divided and people are hurting. They are suffering, experiencing mental challenges and feeling hopeless. Let us live our lives filled with the Holy Spirit.

The evidence of that is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. When we have the fruit of the spirit within us, we will bear good fruit. Let us allow God to have his way in our lives and let us be the change we want to see in our community.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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