We, as Pentecostals, talk about the power of the Spirit. We usually mean in the miraculous or power for witnessing, etc.
The reliance on the Spirit is not just for what we might call “the good stuff.” It’s also for the “tough stuff.”
One of Dallas Willard’s sayings is this: “There is a cost to following Jesus, but there is a cost to NOT following Jesus. We need to be honest about both things.”
This is what I love about Jesus. He doesn’t hold back. If you follow him, you will find opposition. Not because of you, but because of him. This is the part I find hard to explain away if I would put myself in the universalism camp. Jesus doesn’t hold back: “Everyone will hate you because of me, but those who stand firm to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 10:22, NIV)
Apprenticeship is a high calling. It is worth the call because of the Master. He alone has the words of life, as the disciples would say in the Gospel of John. But there is a cost. Following Jesus causes some separation from others in this world who simply oppose Christ.
So the power of the Spirit isn’t just for the “good stuff.” It’s for the “tough stuff,” like standing before those who oppose the gospel as they demand you quit proclaiming good news in his name. When it is time to give an answer for the hope that is within you, the Spirit will be there.
In a nation where we have been afforded freedoms it is not easy to imagine the tough side of discipleship. That will shift. And when those shifts occur there is a question to be asked: Is Christ worth it? There is a cost. Is he worth that cost?