The roar of the Holy Spirit

By Jessica Brodie

When I was a kid, we’d play Freeze Tag for hours. Unlike the regular version where you become the villainous “it” when tagged, here you freeze in place if you get tagged, then stay frozen until one of your teammates races by and tags you to “unfreeze” you.

I loved it because of the euphoria I’d always get when I’d “unfreeze.” I’d be stuck in place watching everyone else run around, then boom! My friend would tap my shoulder or smack me on the head, and I’d be free. Then I’d dash around trying to unfreeze all my other friends, too.

It hit me today that the Holy Spirit is somewhat like that.

I used to think of the Holy Spirit as a docile whisperer, nudging me toward something God wanted me to do, see, or think. Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as “the companion,” whom God would soon send to teach and remind the disciples about all they’d been taught (John 14:26 CEB). I imagined a gentle comfort for Jesus’s earthly friends, grief-stricken and devastated with their Savior no longer in the flesh and walking beside them.

But in the Book of Acts, this companion isn’t exactly polite or gentle. It comes like a lion, fierce and bold and calling for immediate action! Forget whisper—this Spirit hit the disciples like a roar!

“Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak,” is how it is described in Acts, when the Spirit descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4).

Later, after the number of believers had grown to five thousand, Peter and John called upon God to stretch out His hand and enable His servants. And again, the Spirit is bold! The book recounts, “After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence” (Acts 4:31).

This is no please-sir-if-you-wouldn’t-mind spirit. This is the Almighty Holy Spirit, part of the Triune God, sent to be His power at work in the world.

Before becoming a Christian, it seems as if we’re playing Freeze Tag. We’re tagged—frozen in place. Life goes on, but our existence is fruitless, stagnant, stuck in the moment.

But when we accept Jesus as our savior and we’re filled with the Spirit, it’s like our teammate has raced by and touched our shoulder, yelling, “Unfreeze!” Suddenly, we’re empowered with the ability to move and race and run and do all things for the Lord!

My prayer today is that God continues to use me—and all of us reading this—to spread the Gospel in whatever way we can through fierce, unshakable, unstoppable power of His Holy Spirit.

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