TWO ASPECTS OF THE WORK
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We must realize that there are two aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit. One aspect is that of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of life indwelling us. The second aspect is that of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of power coming upon us. Here in one verse both aspects are mentioned: "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body..and were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13, A.S.V.). Both of these matters—the baptism and the drinking—are related to us, but we cannot say that they are one and the same. To be baptized in water is one thing, and to drink water is another. Likewise, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is one thing, and to drink of the Holy Spirit is another. We must drink of the Holy Spirit in order to be filled with Him, and be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to be clothed by Him.
In the Gospel of John, the Lord uses two figures for the Holy Spirit. In chapter 7, He likens the Holy Spirit to water for drinking; in chapter 20, He likens Him to breath. Water and breath are something for life. But in the writings of Luke two other figures are used. In Luke 24:49, the Holy Spirit is likened to clothing; in Acts 2:2, He is likened to a mighty wind. Breath is for life, but the mighty wind is for power. As a Christian, we must on one hand drink of the Spirit of life to be filled with life, and on the other hand we must be clothed with the Holy Spirit of power to be equipped with power for service and ministry.
Let me illustrate. When I am home in my room, I can sit in my chair drinking cup after cup of tea till I am full of water. That would suffice for my living at home, but it would not suffice for my going to the meeting to minister. To go to the meeting I must dress properly. I cannot say it does not matter how I dress, as long as I am full of water! I cannot go to the meeting to minister in pajamas. We must be fittingly dressed for everything we do.
The disciples received the Spirit of life on the day of resurrection, but when the Lord was about to ascend into the heavens, He said to the disciples, "Tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49, A.S.V.). This means that on the day of resurrection the Lord brought living water for the people to drink, but on the day of Pentecost He clothed them with the proper uniform for power. Then they were qualified and equipped for ministry.
Suppose, however, that I am dressed and properly clothed, but still hungry and thirsty. I must go to minister, but there is no way for me to get some water to drink. I go to the meeting, but I am thirsty. Outwardly I am suitably clothed, but inwardly I lack something. As a Christian we need both the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of life inwardly, and the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of power outwardly. Then we will be strengthened in life and equipped with power.
Brothers and sisters, what is our condition? Are we filled inwardly with the Holy Spirit of life? And are we clothed outwardly with the Holy Spirit of power? If we would be a living, functioning member of the Body of Christ, we must be filled inwardly with the Holy Spirit as life, and we must be clothed outwardly with the Holy Spirit as power. Then we will be strong in life and equipped with power for our function in the Body. If, when we come together as believers meeting before the Lord, there is a lack of function in our midst, it is due to these two matters. On one hand, not many believers are really filled with the Holy Spirit of life inwardly. And more, very few are really clothed with the Holy Spirit of power outwardly.
When I was called by the Lord to serve Him, I soon realized that I lacked something both inwardly and outwardly. Oh, how I knew it! I went to the Lord and prayed and prayed, and thus I discovered that inwardly I needed the life of the Holy Spirit, and outwardly the power of the Holy Spirit. I went to the Lord and consecrated myself to Him over and over again. I waited on the Lord, willing to be dealt with. I learned how to exercise my spirit to cooperate with Him, and I learned how to deny myself. Moreover, I learned more about my need to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord, after a time I knew that I had been both filled with the Holy Spirit inwardly and clothed with the Holy Spirit outwardly. Oh, from that time everything was different. My ministry was changed and there was a real release.
(The Four Major Steps of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)