“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry … Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…” (Luke 4:1-2; 14)

Flip the switch, and the light turns on. Is this how God’s power works for us?

Luke makes it clear: Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit, and had the power of the Spirit. There seems to be a progression in this passage:

  1. We are filled.
  2. We are led.
  3. We have the power.

There is no doubt that our life in the Holy Spirit is ongoing and dynamic.

Does obedience to God, explicitly seeking him through fasting and resisting temptation, grant us God’s power?

Personal experience would seem to support this. I feel closer to God when I seek him and live a holy life. My life is more fulfilling when I resist temptation. Additionally, I am more effective when I’m obedient to God.

Of course, Scripture is more authoritative than personal experience! James tells us that if we come near to God, he will come near to us (James 4:8). 

Does this make our obedience the light switch to God’s power?

Most assuredly not!

God is not a cosmic vending machine, as if we could deposit coins of prayer and devotion and then select our snack.

Jesus didn’t return in the power of the Spirit after ten days of fasting. Not ten, but forty! Jesus didn’t return to Galilee after one temptation. Not one, but three!

God is good. We can trust that he will bless us with the power of the Spirit at the right time. We must seek him more than food and resist temptation more than temporary rewards.