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2. The Spirit Poured Out: Joel

The Holy Spirit fans the flame of our desire for God, empowering us to turn from sin and experience renewal!

“It will come about after this

That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;

And your sons and daughters will prophesy,

Your old men will dream dreams,

Your young men will see visions.

“Even on the male and female servants

I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

The Day of the Lord

-Joel 2:28-29

Joel is an Israelite prophet, sent to speak to Israel on behalf of God. Israel has consistently been unfaithful to God, so Joel aims to awaken his people to the reality of God’s judgment and to encourage them to repent.

Joel’s message centers on something he calls “the day of the Lord.” This is a day of both judgment and salvation: judgment on evil and those opposed to God, but salvation for God’s people. Joel references past “days of the Lord” where God saved his people and brought down evil, and he conveys that these past occurrences point to the ultimate “day of the Lord” to come.

On this future day, Joel says, God will confront all evil and execute justice against sin. But on this day, God will also bring salvation to the world! This will look like God pouring out his spirit into people’s hearts, transforming them and empowering them to experience true life! Joel says God will heal all of his creation, liberating it from the toxic effects of sin! All spiritual, psychological, social, and physical discord will be restored and made right.

In Acts chapter 2, we see the advent of this day! At what’s called “Pentecost”, The Holy Spirit comes and fills the people of God. Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, recognizes this as the inauguration of the fulfillment of Joels’ prophecy. He explains that the day of the Lord was ushered in by Jesus’s death and resurrection: they brought God’s judgment on evil and sin; they laid the groundwork for God’s spirit to indwell the hearts of his people; and they began the process of cosmic restoration. At Christ’s second coming, God’s people and creation will experience complete and perfected transformation!

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Peter says (Acts 2:38). In this, we see that God’s spirit comes to live inside of anyone who repents and turns to Jesus!

The Spirit is one of three persons in the Godhead Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have always existed together in perfect harmony and love. When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, he brings us into this relationship of love! Through the Spirit, we come to know and enjoy his close relationship with the Father and Son.

How does this relationship renew us like Joel said it would?

Our root problem is not our behavior but rather, our desires: sin happens when we desire things like success, approval or comfort over God. When the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and enables us to know God and his love, we begin to desire God. And the more we grow to know and desire God, the more we turn from sin and experience renewal in our lives!

For example, when we idolize something like achievement, our life will be characterized by stress and exhaustion. But as we come to know God, his love becomes more desirable than the fleeting high of accomplishment or pride. We start to experience less stress with work, less anxiety about people’s opinions, and more rest. The Holy Spirit renews us by drawing us deeper into God’s love and igniting the flames of our desire for Him.

The amazing reality is that the Spirit’s restorative work doesn’t stop within us; it overflows into the lives around us! The more we come to experience the uncontainable enjoyment of fellowship with God, the more we want to draw others into this love!

RESPOND: Take a moment to ask God to grow in you a deeper desire for him through the work of the Spirit.

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