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Riding the waves of the Holy Spirit

holy spirit, sunlight, awaken, alive
Unsplash/Hassan Ouajbir

Kelly Slater is widely regarded as the greatest professional surfer of all time, having been crowned World Surf League champion a record 11 times. Slater said

“Your surfing can get better on every turn, on every wave you catch. Learn to read the ocean better. A big part of my success has been wave knowledge.”

Something similar occurs in the spiritual realm as well, where “wave knowledge” is crucial. While most Christians will never ride a surfboard in the ocean, millions of believers engage in “spiritual surfing” every day as we ride the waves of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). 

The Day of Pentecost produced a spiritual tsunami 2000 years ago and Acts 2:4 tells us that all of those in attendance were filled with the Holy Spirit. This caused Christianity to surge onto the scene.

Here are 3 important reasons to ride the spiritual waves God sends your way:

1. Ride the waves to be saved, redeemed, justified, born again, and forgiven.

“No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:7). 

“God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).

No one enters God’s family without riding the waves of the Holy Spirit. Repentance and faith in Jesus are produced by the Holy Spirit working through the Word. 

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

2. Ride the waves to be sanctified in your Christian life.

New Christians quickly discover that sin and temptation remain an ever-present danger. While a believer's justification is complete at conversion, sanctification is a lifelong process of growing more consistent in holy living.

“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ’No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11,12).

“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14,15)

The third Person of the Trinity is not called “The Above-Average Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is absolutely perfect in every way! When believers are riding the waves of the Holy Spirit, we are being sanctified and becoming more Christlike in our attitudes, words, and behavior. Any true holiness within a believer is God’s work in us as we ride the waves he provides (Philippians 2:13).

One of the many blessings of sanctification is the fruit God produces in our life. 

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).

Our hearts and minds need the Word of God every day. In the midst of our daily spiritual battles, the Bible is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The Holy Spirit works through his Word to keep us “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).

Persistence in prayer is another essential aspect of a Spirit-filled life. Believers are instructed to: 

“pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).

The Holy Spirit directs and empowers our prayer life. 

“We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

God’s Word declares: 

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32)

Whenever we grieve the Holy Spirit through our thoughts, words, or actions, the peace and power of God are greatly diminished in our hearts and minds. 

3. Ride the waves to be empowered to witness for Jesus.

Pentecost empowered the disciples to spread the Gospel. 

Jesus said, 

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Peter denied the Lord three times. (Luke 22:54-62) Those denials of course took place prior to Pentecost. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, it was a completely different story as Peter began riding the waves of the Holy Spirit.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). 

Peter and John said, 

“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). 

Riding the waves of the Holy Spirit makes you courageous and loving in your witness for Jesus. We are unable to produce these waves, but we can sure ride them to the glory of God! 

A wonderful promise in Luke 11 inspires believers to continually ask God for more waves. 
Jesus said, 

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

This simple prayer may help: 

“Father in Heaven. Please empty me of anything that is grieving the Holy Spirit. Wash me with the precious blood of Jesus, and fill me with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen."

(You might also be interested in this CP op-ed I wrote 10 years ago: “How to Be a Spirit-Filled Christian.”)

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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