Spiritual Gifts Part 5: Spiritual Gifts: Before and After

Spiritual Gifts Part 5: Spiritual Gifts: Before and After

Spiritual Gifts: Before and After—

The Example of Jesus’ Spirit-Baptism

Before and after…

Advertisers know the value of these kinds of messages. We have all watched the ads that speak like this.

Before I exercised, my body was lethargic.”

After I exercised, I had more energy.”

Before I added computer skills, I was unable to find a job.”

After I learned computer skills, three employers wanted me to work for them.”

Before I took those trace minerals, I had joint pain.”

After I took those trace minerals, my joint pain vanished.

Before… and after…

In fact, that last story was my own. I was preaching on the power of testimony—God-story fills a heart differently than application messages. So, I was preaching on the Holy Spirit’s power, and decided to get at that with this story…

“Once when I was jogging, I had a sharp pain in my left foot—so bad I had to stop running. After massaging the foot, I got home, and took an Ibuprofen and, in time, the pain subsided.

In a day or two, I returned to the jogging routine—returned that is, until about two weeks later, when a sharp pain showed up in the same foot—making me cut short the jog. It lasted a lot longer the second time.

So, I went to see the doc, who wondered if I had cracked a bone or strained a muscle. He ordered an X-ray—then broke the news.

“You have arthritis in one toe,” he said.

“One toe?!” I exclaimed. “All that pain in just one toe?”

My response was considerably less than wise—I whined about how that was enough pain for the whole foot, not just one toe!

“One toe!”, etc. etc. etc.

At any rate, the story unfolded over several months—and my wife, concerned at the number of painkillers I was ingesting, found me a mineral combination at an herb store that provided considerable relief—after two weeks the pain was gone!

Bracket that story and move to Spiritual Gifts. Now, I wanted to teach people about the power of before and after.

So I preached my little heart out, about the power of the sharing a before and after God-story—and to make the point, I told about joint pain relief from a mineral supplement.

That church had two Sunday morning services, and my wife was walking in for the second service, when those from the first service were getting out…

In five minutes, literally, 19 different people asked her about that supplement, young, old, sports injured, old age afflicted—everyone wanted to know the name of that product (one person asked me about the Holy Spirit!!). You see, the testimony, the before and after story communicated beyond words.

Before, I was afflicted…

After, I was pain-free…

Now let’s shift to the Bible.

Jesus was God’s Son before the Spirit descended on Him.

Jesus was God’s Son after the Spirit descended on Him.

Jesus’ “before-the-Spirit” life was fundamentally different than Jesus’ “after-the-Spirit” life—and it was God’s plan that His ministry unfold like that.

We are studying Spiritual gifts. In order to best understand how Spiritual gifts work, it is essential that we examine what the Bible tells us about them. In particular, we will need to see how they operated in the life of Jesus. We will need to decide something:

Were the gospels written to tell us that Jesus’ story was/is only to point out that He was the Messiah?

Were the gospels written to tell us that Jesus was/is the foundational example, the archetype for us to imitate?

If we understand that the gospel was simply to tell us that Jesus did his actions/deeds and shared his unearthly teaching to prove He was the Messiah, we can be thankful, accept the gift, but nothing more by way of personal application can be gleaned from those narratives.

Yet if we understand that God sent Him so that we could become like Him, and walk the way He did on earth, well that is an entirely different level of conversation. It is this next conversation that lays the foundation for how we understand gifts of the Spirit.

After years of pondering this matter, it is my settled view that all four gospels, and the weight of the entire New Testament, points out that Jesus was/is the second Adam, that His life was not just history to teach us that He was special (and of course He was!), but that the life of Jesus was a paradigm—a model with a pattern of life for us to imitate and emulate.

Now, let’s be clear. Neither you nor I are the Messiah. (I resigned from that position some time ago!). All kidding aside, none of us are going to die to take away the sins of the world!

Yet the Bible is clear that Jesus was the exemplar of a way of living and His life was a pattern, a model, and an example. The apostle John said it this way:

By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked…

1 John 2:5b-6 NASB

Now process this… We are to have a “before” and an “after.”

Before we met Him, we were fallen.

After we met Him, we were saved!

What most don’t pause to consider is that Jesus had a “before” as well as an “after,” and it has to do with spiritual gifts.

Every believer is supposed to abide in Him—there is no wiggle room to escape this application. The command is to find our life in Jesus, not in ourselves. We are to dwell, or abide, or make our heart’s home, not merely in some nice idea about him, but to actually have His very life flow into ours.

We are to find our identity in Him and use all of our powers to be “in Christ.”


We are “to walk as He walked.”

Period again.

How did He “walk”? Well, we read the gospels to find out, and that is exactly why they were written… we are supposed to read them so that we can do as He did and live as He lived.

Here is the single point that I am going to make today. Jesus was born of the Spirit like no other on earth. To quote the apostle’s creed, we say, “He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.”

         He was God the Son, the Son of God, from the moment He entered the virgin’s womb.

And yet, even though He was utterly divine, He did no mighty acts of power until John baptized Him, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him.

         We have no record of anything, no gifts of the Spirit, no unearthly teaching, nor acts of power before Jesus was filled with the Spirit.

Now remember, Jesus was God the Son when he was 3, and 14, and 22 and even when He was 29. Yet Jesus did no acts of power until after the Spirit descended and remained upon Him. He saw the Spirit descending, he felt that Spirit land on Him, and from that point forward, He began to be guided by that same Spirit—Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us so.

Jesus’ life is the model for ours.

Jesus had a before.

Jesus had an after.

He had to receive the Spirit before He could begin His earthy mission in the gifts of the Spirit God granted to him. That infilling was consciously “sensed” or “felt” by Him when it happened—Jesus Himself, and John the Baptist, saw the heavenly dove and heard a powerful voice from God.

Now, if God the Son needed to receive the Spirit to begin (and complete) His God given assignments, don’t you think it might be important for us to do the same?  

If we want to “walk as He walked” then we will need to ask God to baptize us in His Spirit as well. Just like Jesus, we are to have a conscious encounter in which we also “receive the Spirit.” Now what it feels like, what it looks like, how do we know that this has occurred, well that is for another conversation.

Suffice it to say that today, each of us must settle this matter.

If He is the exemplar, then we like Him, must receive the empowering of His Spirit.

All the other gifts of the Spirit flow out of this.

In The Word:

  1. The text quoted in the teaching section says something quite astonishing. Here it is again. Read the text, and try to put this into your own words in the space below this:

By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked…

1 John 2:5b-6 NASB






  1. So, according to this passage, is it even possible to do life as Jesus did? Are we obliged to do that, or is it an option?






  1. What were some of the things that were a part of Jesus’ walk with God?





A Takeaway For the Day


Well, Lord Jesus, it seems you want my life to mirror Yours! You were born of God first (like no one else) and then You needed to be filled (yes—needed, since nothing that happened to You was by accident). Then, when you were filled, Your ministry began. Well, if you needed to be filled, the logical conclusion is that I need that too! So, fill me with Your Spirit, as many times as needed.

© David Chotka 2021