In AWE of God’s Power Experienced

AWE: An overwhelming feeling of reverential respect or admiration mixed with fear or wonder.

Apologetics: a defense of our true faith; our giving answers for why we have true hope in Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:8 ESV - “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 2:1-7 ESV - When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

When I began following God, I read the verses about Him empowering His followers by baptizing them with His Holy Spirit, I was fascinated yet skeptical. I believed that people I met who claimed an “Acts 2” experience were sincere, but I wondered if they were faking it - if even unintentionally - just out of passion and religious zeal. I believed in Jesus Christ, I had gotten baptized, and I had even encountered God’s tangible Presence in a life-changing manner, but I couldn’t help but wonder about this Pentecostal experience in modern times. The true miracles of God cannot be manipulated, but they can sometimes be faked. So my prayer went something like this: “If this is real, then I want this same gift (like in Acts 2, 10, and 19). But I’m not going to fake it. I only want this if it’s real, God. You don’t need my help doing anything. I don’t want to be a well-meaning but misguided Christian who just blabs gibberish.” I asked God about it for over three months. During this time there were elements of my faith, my pride, and my spiritual dedication that God was working on - especially the pride. Yet it was after about an hour of prayer in my apartment by myself when the “rushing mighty wind” of God’s Spirit filled me just like I had read about in the Book of Acts. It is no exaggeration to say that this was the most awe-inducing experience I had ever had in my life.

Acts 8:9-19 ESV - But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

The power of God continues to work these ways in people’s lives, producing an immense sense of holy awe. In the ministry of Jesus, in the Book of Acts, and in modern times, genuine healings, miracles, and other demonstrations of the life-changing power of God have proven to be evangelistic for those apart from Christ and life-strengthening for the church. So as we pray, consider that God’s power flows to God’s purpose. Consider the fact that numerous converts in Muslim countries (with no churches, no missionaries, and no real knowledge of Christianity) testify of miraculous dreams, visions, and interventions directly from Jesus Christ. Experiencing the awe of God’s power will usually be tied to how involved you are with God’s disciple-making, church-building mission - specifically when you pursue that which genuinely glorifies Jesus, or builds up His church, or converts sinners from spiritual darkness to God’s light. Seek God and His purposes in faith, then see how His power flows in your life.

1 Thessalonians 1:5a NLT - For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true.