From the perspective of people, who are not deep in religion, there are a great number of questions regarding the Third person of the Trinity. In general, adherers cannot understand whether it is a ghost, cosmic force, a part of faith, or a heavenly mystery.
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Charles Stanley provides a deep insight into this topic, explaining that it is an integral part of the spiritual walk in his book Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit. It consists of eight chapters, which are aimed to uncover this sacred topic and clarify it for each person via simple language and clear explanations. Such an approach makes the work easy to read for everybody, who is willing to receive a profound comprehension of religion in general. This way, the purpose of this paper is to provide a review of each chapter of Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit by Charles Stanley and present a personal understanding of the book.
Information on the Author
Charles Frazier Stanley has spent approximately years writing books on religious themes. He is the author of numerous publications, which range from clarifying the content of the Bible to upbringing children. Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit is one of his works, which was released in 2005. As for this personality and activity, it is essential to mention that in Atlanta, Georgia, the writer is Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church. In addition, Charles Stanley has been occupying the post of a senior pastor for 51 years (Stanley, 2005). As for his beliefs, he adheres to Christianity, namely, he is evangelical.
Charles Stanley covers multiple topics in his publications, such as personal crises, money usage, emotional state, harmonious relationships, parenting, adherence to a religion, and others. He also established In Touch Ministries, which was broadcasted through television (Stanley, 2005). Furthermore, the theologian has been awarded six times for his achievements in religious propaganda (Stanley, 2005). This way, his speeches, and narration appear to provide a deep insight into religion, and how its principles may be applied to a daily routine.
The Promise of God the Father
First of all, before reviewing the entire book, it is vital to clarify the definition, that the author gives of the Holy Spirit. To present a description, Charles Stanley references Luke 24 at the moment when Jesus gives important instructions before leaving for heaven:
“Jesus said to them, “There are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me… Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued [or clothed] with power from on high” (as cited in Stanley, 2005, p. 3).
Therefore, the author concludes that the “Holy Spirit in the Promise of our heavenly Father to each one of us” (Stanley, 2005, p. 2). In addition, Charles Stanley insists that it is an important lesson, that each Christian should learn. The whole first chapter is devoted to the analysis of this issue. This way, the author claims that people receive their Holy Spirit in case they admit their sins, change their behavior, and consider Jesus Christ to be their savior.
Thus, Charles Stanley reviews the Bible and clarifies a crucial for all Christians term – Holy Spirit. In general, this chapter is extremely helpful for understanding the author’s worldview and the perception of the belief, which is essential for reading the entire book. The Holy Spirit is commonly perceived to be abstract and imprecise. Consequently, this chapter contains an important insight on making this question significantly more explicit for all the adheres. It should be noted that such a definition is highly likely to be credible, as it is based on a thorough analysis of the Bible.
Who Is the Holy Spirit
The second chapter addresses the problem that people tend to perceive the Holy Spirit as a specific sign. The author highlights that such an association may be incorrect and considerably restrict this term. He argues that it is much broader than only one expression (Stanley, 2005). Answering the question of the personality of the Holy Spirit, Charles Stanley mentions the Bible: “He is a person of Trinity. He is God the Holy Spirit” (Stanley, 2005, p. 12).
Another central issue of this section implies the way people receive the Holy Spirit. According to the writer, people obtain it at the moment when they start to perceive Jesus as their Savior. The most important thesis of this chapter involves the position in case individuals admit God the Son, they receive “the fullness of God into their lives” (Stanley, 2005, p. 18). Therefore, the person of God, who lives in an individual, presents the Holy Spirit, and it is a valuable gift.
This way, Charles Stanley continues uncovering different aspects of the Holy Spirit, which usually appear to be mysterious. He advances an interesting position– it is a common sight that people believe that it is connected with something heavenly and sacred, though the author demonstrates that it is close to a person. It implies something spiritual, which can be found in a person’s soul. His approach clarifies the Holy Spirit for an adherer, which makes the confession more conscious.
Why Does God Send the Holy Spirit to Us
After receiving the answer to the most evident issues on the Holy Spirit, a logical question follows concerning the reason why people are sent it. Charles Stanley reveals that it “enables and empowers us to “be” witnesses of Christ Jesus to a lost and dying world” (2005, p. 20). Therefore, The Holy Spirit appears to be a gift for people, as it provides believers with wisdom, enduring strength, bravery, and the ability to resist temptation (Stanley, 2005).
It improves people’s lives by allowing them to act courageously and rationally. In addition, it “enables and empowers us to “do” the ministry of Christ Jesus in our service to their believers” (Stanley, 2005, p. 20). The writer highlights that these abilities reside in ordinary people, and in case they are developed, they improve another ability, which is responsible for helping others. This fact implies that people realize their purpose on the earth, which is rewarded by heaven.
In this part, the author provides the readers with a deep insight into the Holy Spirit, explaining its essence. This chapter appears to be an important transition to the most complicated and crucial question of the spiritual path, which regards the purpose of on the earth. Consequently, it may be considered a preparation or a link to the next section, which reveals this issue in detail.
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The Release of Your Full Potential
As is evident from the subtitle, in this chapter, Charles Stanley addresses the issue of personal potential. He states that each person on the earth has his or her own “natural and spiritual gifts” (Stanley, 2005, p. 36). Both of them require a great amount of attention, strength, and perseverance to be revealed and developed. In case people do not work on their gifts to achieve their full potential, they are not capable of fulfilling their purpose.
The author advises practical steps, which help avoid the aforementioned scenario. According to Stanley (2005), it is essential to ask yourself a question of whether you live in the fullness of your potential, and the correct answer at any time is no. In addition, the writer offers four major questions to ask God every day. They are: “What do You want me to do? How do You want me to act? When do you want me to act? How can I best represent You today?” (Stanley, 2005, p. 46). Therefore, the third and fourth chapters supplement each other and reveal the topic of potential in detail. Contemplation on this part is highly likely to change the worldview of the reader dramatically. By asking a reader simple questions, the author makes him or her reconsider the whole activity and attitude to the world and the surroundings.
A Life of Holiness
This section is devoted to dissuading the readers from particular myths and misconceptions about holy life and giving precise and understandable explanations. Charles Stanley mentions that it is not a “bizarre, separate-yourself-from-humanity”, “as good as I could be”, and “sinless” life (2005, p. 54-56). He highlights the crucial role of the Holy Spirit in everyday routine, namely, it helps to detect a sin quickly and decisively. It makes it possible to compare habitual behavior and a reaction to a particular situation to God’s desires and recommendations. Therefore, holy life implies living by God’s way (Stanley, 2005). It is a common sight that people are concentrated on their problems and ego to a large extent, and the holy lifestyle involves changing the sticking to the choice of being led by the Holy Spirit every day.
Consequently, in this chapter, the author reveals how the knowledge presented in previous parts can be applied to practice, which makes them more understandable. In addition, by explaining the Holy lifestyle in simple terms, he offers the reader an opportunity to adhere to it. Charles Stanley manages to dissuade people from mysteries and prejudices on this topic, which is popular among the broad public and clarifies how ordinary people are capable of making a change in their lives. Unlike a great number of authors on religious thematic, he makes this lifestyle easy to be accepted by offering its appliance to everyday routine.
Recognizing the Ongoing Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives
Subsequently, Charles Stanley covers how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of every person. He mentions two ways, which are power and authority. As for the first point, the writer claims that the Holy Spirit gives people the divine energy, which encourages them to release the will of God in emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental contexts (Stanley, 2005). The latter implies that the Holy Spirit is “the highest authority in any situation in life” (Stanley, 2005, p. 73). Furthermore, the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives is ongoing and continuous. Therefore, it makes a significant contribution to people’s spiritual growth and maturity. In addition, Charles Stanley marks that the influence of the Holy Spirit is exceptionally beneficial, and its presence in lives is a blessing.
Therefore, this section contains an important insight into the function of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. It is never associated with a poor mental state, depression, or disappointment. Instead, it appears to be a sufficient solution to such situations. All the evil, which exists in the world, is caused by people and their egoistic motives, and the Holy Spirit intends to prevent its spreading. It guides people to lead to better living.
Marks of a Spirit-Led Believer
This part presents the author’s reflections on how to determine a truly spiritual individual. He refers to the Bible, which describes a Spirit-led believer. First of all, the range of qualities of such a person includes generosity, a positive perception of the world, and a respectful and grateful attitude to God. Second, an adherer, who is led by the Holy Spirit, tends to be willing to “submit to one another in the fear of God” (Stanley, 2005, p. 85). Third, such an individual is going to be determined to “win souls and build up other believers” (Stanley, 2005, p. 86). The author proposes the reader start self-reflection on this topic, advancing the questions, which are highly likely to encourage them to reconsider their behavior. Charles Stanley highlights the necessity to ask the Holy Spirit to supply an adherer with guidelines.
As is evident from the summary, Charles Stanley perceives an image of a Spirit-led believer as an example, that everybody should follow. He stimulates the readers to evaluate their views and behavior and start working on them to become closer to this image. Moreover, the author attempts to clarify the set of qualities, which are essential for a Spirit-led believer to set a specific goal for the readers. This way, this chapter appears to be extremely inspiring to improve personal traits of character and reconsider the worldview to become a better person.
How Do We Remain Full of the Holy Spirit
The closing section addresses the topic of ongoing adherence to the Holy Spirit daily, and Charles Stanley presents vital insights in this regard. The author states that receiving the Holy Spirit is commonly perceived as an ordeal, though it does not match reality (Stanley, 2005). In addition, he regards the myth that praying, begging, and crying are a way of receiving it and argues that there is only one requirement, which implies believing (Stanley, 2005).
For this reason, it is essential to recognize the necessity for the forgiving power of Jesus Christ, accept God’s word as the truth, and believe that the Holy Spirit is a “Comforter, Counselor, and Truth-Teacher” (Stanley, 2005, p. 92). Moreover, Charles Stanley offers three great attributes of believing, which claim the simplicity, desire, and will of believing. The entire book is finished with important wisdom that being filled appears to be a daily decision of an individual. In conclusion, the author covers the essence of believing and adherence to the Holy Spirit. He presents it as a joy and attempts to dissuade the image of suffering, which is associated with religion.
Personal Understanding of the Book
It is undeniable that the book gives a strong impression and motivates the readers to improve their qualities and reconsider their worldview. The author uses simple language and does not apply complicated theological terms, which makes the work easy to read for anyone, even in case the reader is not religious to a large extent. All the statements are clear and easy to be understood, though Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit regards a wide range of deep and spiritual topics. It should also be noted that Charles Stanley applies the pronoun ‘you’ thorough the whole narration, which creates an impression of a personal conversation with the writer. This manner of narration contributes to the trust of the author.
Another aspect, which should be highlighted, is the structure of the book. It starts with covering a simple, but the vital question on the definition and description of the Holy Spirit. Subsequently, while the author explains its different aspects, a range of questions clarifying the details arise. In this respect, the structure is clear and addresses all the issues and topics in logical order. That makes a considerable contribution to creating a comprehensive and structured image of the Holy Spirit and Charles Stanley’s views.
In general, the book regards abstract topics, which are identified imprecisely among the majority of the adherers. Therefore, the main merit of Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit is the fact that the author makes all the issues concerning the Holy Spirit easy to be understood and accepted. He gives a clear definition of all the topics and terms, which raises numerous questions among believers. In addition, Charles Stanley advances the approach, which involves the appliance of high religious and theological terms to everyday life. He explains how to be led by the Holy Spirit daily in case a reader is not a priest, but an ordinary person. The last benefit includes the aspect that the author encourages the readers to reflect on their behavior and lifestyle and consider the spheres, which can be improved. Describing the image of an individual, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, he makes this book extremely motivating.
In the book Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Charles Stanley addresses the topic of the spiritual walk. He clarifies a wide range of issues concerning the Holy Spirit and refutes a set of myths and prejudices in this regard. Moreover, he explains a great number of abstract terms and proposes a way of applying the principles of holy life to practice. In addition, the book contains motivation to reflect on personal qualities and habits and find the ones, which should be improved. This way, all these aspects make Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit worth reading.
Stanley, C. F. (2005). Living in the power of the holy spirit. Thomas Nelson.