Back to Preachers Index
The Empowered Life
Dwight Moody was one of history's most influential and effective servants of God. It is estimated that during Moody's lifetime, he traveled more than one million miles, spoke to more than one hundred million people, and led hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Presidents Lincoln and Grant both attended his famous revival services. At the Chicago World's Exhibition in 1893, more than one hundred thirty thousand people attended Moody's revival services in a single day.
Moody's zeal for Christ was not limited to preaching and teaching, though that was always his primary love. He founded educational institutions, the Northfield school for boys and girls that continue operating today and the Chicago Evangelism Society, later named the Moody Bible Institute.
Moody's tireless efforts also were catalyst for several Christian publishing ventures, one of which bears his name, Moody Publishing.
From an early age, Moody was a hard working entrepreneur. At age seventeen, he left his small home town for metropolitan Boston where he worked as a shoe salesman at his uncle's store. He was saved at eighteen through the influence of his Sunday school teacher.
Within a year, he moved to Chicago with a goal to earn $100,000. During the next four years, his industriousness and business sense helped him save the handsome sum of $7,000.
However, by age twenty-three Moody was led by Christ to minister to the poor Scandinavian and German immigrants in the inner city. Soon he left business completely to devote his life to Christ's service. He used lecture halls and theaters as his pulpits, crossing over stubborn denominational lines. He was able to reach the masses who otherwise would not visit a church or listen to the claims of the gospel. His popularity grew quickly.
Discovering The Spirit's Power
Despite Moody's success in the ministry, he felt a pressing need to know more of the Holy Spirit's empowerment. Three events changed his life and preaching. The first occurred in New York where he was invited to address a small Sunday school. As he got into his carriage to leave for yet another meeting, an elderly gentleman approached him with these words: "Young man, when you speak again, honor the Holy Ghost."
The second involved two godly women who attended Moody's services in Chicago. "When I began to preach, I could tell by the expression of their faces they were praying for me," Moody later recalled. "At the close of the Sabbath evening services they would say to me, ‘We have been praying for you.’ I said, ‘Why don't you pray for the people?’ They answered. ‘You need power,’ ‘I need power,’ I said to myself. ‘Why? I thought I had power.’"
Those incidents left Moody with a great hunger for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. After the Chicago fire that destroyed Moody's lecture hall and several institutions he had founded, he traveled to New York to raise funds for rebuilding. God had something else in mind.
"My heart was not in the work of begging," Moody recollected. "I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York (on Wall Street), oh, what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.
"I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world, it would be as dust in the balance." The Spirit-Filled Life
The apostle Paul wrote: "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). He encouraged the Galatians to "walk by the Spirit" and bear the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16,22). He told the Corinthians that wisdom of God was available only through the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16) Jesus told the disciples not to begin their ministry until they received power, "when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8).
The believer has the full residence of the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit came not just to regenerate you but to restore your soul, renew your mind, and refresh your spirit. The Holy Spirit desires to influence all you think, do, and say with the wisdom and power of God. He is your power source; and without Him, you can do nothing of eternal value.
The Greek tense Paul used with the Ephesians means to "always be being filled with the Holy Spirit." It is a conscious act of daily dependence upon the Spirit and a firm rejection to rely solely on your own ability. Humbly ask God to daily fill you with His Spirit, and then thank Him for it. He will do it. And like Moody, all the world's allure and attraction will become as "dust in the balance."