Stories that contain superheroes or superpowers, or feats of superhuman strength, are attractive to us—especially young people. Of the 100 movies most successful at the box office, 19 of them (nearly one in five) are superhero movies in the narrowest definition of the word “superhero.” Expanding the definition to include protagonists with any kind of superhuman ability lifts that number to 59. More than half of the highest grossing movies of all time feature characters with superhuman abilities! Several feats of superhuman strength are recorded in the book of Judges, in the account of Samson—not as a fictional box-office blockbuster, but as factual history recorded in God’s Word! When the young Samson tore through a lion bare-handed (Judges 14:5-6), the account says “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.” Later when he singularly slew 30 men of Ashkelon, it was after “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.“ When Jews bound Samson in “two new cords” (Judges 15:13), Samson tore through them “as flax that was burnt with fire” (verse 14)—and this was after, it says, “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Him.” You can also see, in his final feat of strength, that he prayed to God for that strength (Judges 16:28). It was not “magic” from his long hair; it was the Spirit of God that moved on him and gave him extra-human power!
The Best of the Holy Spirit
Samson’s feats of strength are nothing compared to God’s abilities. God’s Holy Spirit is revealed in the Bible as being His remarkable power. We are introduced to it right at the beginning of the biblical record—look at what it can do: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-3). Job 26:13 and Job 33:4 also show that God created the universe and man by His Spirit. Additionally Psalm 104:30 reads: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.”
So God’s Spirit is the power by which He created and re-created the Earth!
Zechariah 4:6 shows that God’s Spirit is His might and power, and that it far exceeds any human strength or ability. The wonders of creation are even more impressive than Samson’s feats of strength!
God does all sorts of remarkable things through His Spirit. Here is another remarkable and impressive feat of God’s Spirit: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). This verse shows that the Spirit is the power by which God resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead!
But there’s more! This Spirit can “dwell in you,” and this Spirit will transform our bodies into spirit beings. It essentially turns us into superheroes. Verses like these should make us wonder, How can I have that Spirit dwelling in me? The Bible reveals that God’s Holy Spirit enters our minds just after baptism, at the laying on of hands (see Acts 8:18 and 2 Timothy 1:6). It combines with the spirit in man—what Herbert W. Armstrong termed the “human spirit”—and accomplishes miraculous things in an individual. Even before baptism though, it can perform feats of spiritual strength in our lives. It can lead us to do things we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. It can help us understand things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to understand. Jesus’s disciples were in a similar situation while they interacted with Him in the flesh. They had been baptized, but the Holy Spirit did not yet dwell in them (this happened on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2).
In Matthew 16, when Simon Peter told Christ that he knew Christ was “the Son of the living God,” Jesus replied, in verse 17: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Peter did not have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in him, yet he could still have revelation poured into his mind from God the Father! The Holy Spirit was working with him, just as it does with someone being called to God’s truth. Their minds are being opened miraculously to spiritual truth, to lead them to the point of having that Spirit dwell in them.
Similarly, the Holy Spirit is working with the young people in God’s true Church. God is leading all those willing to that point when it will dwell in them at the laying on of hands after baptism.
Young people: You have to want it and request it. That means you need to see why you should want it.
We have already seen that it’s a universe-creating power. It can tear through lions, armies or restraints. It can resurrect from the dead. It can transform a human being into a spirit being. But let’s look at more of what it can do—for you!
Right now, all you have is that human spirit—which allows you to understand the series of marks on this page—that they represent letters, words, phrases and concepts. It allows you to do remarkable things compared to, say, the animals which are governed by instinct.
The “best of the human spirit” is a phrase we use to describe the events displayed in Armstrong Auditorium in its annual concert series. That showcases the greatest creative achievements and virtuosity in the performing arts.
What exceeds the best of the human spirit, says editor in chief Gerald Flurry, is “our beautiful message [that] comes from God’s magnificent house. The best of the human spirit combined with the best of the Holy Spirit—this gives us and the world a prophetic insight into what is coming in the World Tomorrow” (The Epistle of James, emphasis added throughout).
So let’s examine the best of the Holy Spirit—why you should want it dwelling in you. We will examine five things the power of God empowers us to do. I’ll use the word abilities, or you could think of them as superpowers since they are impossible without God’s Spirit. They are superhuman feats!
Ability #1: Sonship
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
The Bible reveals that God is fathering us as His literal spiritual offspring. The “power to become the sons of God” comes from actually receiving His Holy Spirit.
Just as human life begins at conception, so does spiritual life. We are begotten by the Spirit of God. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
In The Missing Dimension in Sex, Mr. Armstrong explained how human reproduction is a type of spiritual salvation. The Holy Spirit is typed by the sperm, and human existence is depicted by the egg: “Each adult human is, spiritually, an ‘egg,’ or ‘ovum.’ This spiritual ‘ovum’ has a very limited lifespan, of itself—compared to eternal life—an average of some 70 years. But spiritual, divine, immortal life may be imparted to it by the entrance into it of the Holy Spirit, which comes from the very Person of God the Father.”
This is explained in Romans 8. Verse 14 says those who are “led by the Spirit of God … are the sons of God.” Just as children inherit the mannerisms of their father, so do we when begotten of God. He is our actual Father, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and we start to act more like Him the more that Spirit grows in us.
Verse 15 says the Spirit we have received is not the “spirit of bondage” but that of sonship (the King James Version incorrectly translates it “adoption.”) The Spirit doesn’t make us fearful slaves of a cruel master, but rather, children who have every right to call God “Abba, Father,” or Daddy! That is because we have been impregnated with the Holy Spirit—the essence of God life. The translators couldn’t fathom what the context is describing—that of belonging to God, being sons of God, calling Him Daddy—so they used the word ”adoption.” But verse 17 shows we are heirs as a biological son is an heir of his father’s wealth. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ….” God is literally our Father when that Holy Spirit joins with the human spirit.
Even today, with the Holy Spirit leading teens in God’s Church, they have a similar relationship to God. This is not much different than the situation the disciples were in. Remember, the Holy Spirit was leading them though it didn’t dwell in them in the fullest sense of a spiritual “begettal,” and yet Jesus Christ called God “your Father” to the disciples on more than a dozen occasions.
God wants to implant His very life in you—not to where you only access Him through your parents, but through this actual connection via the begetting Holy Spirit.
Ability #2: Understanding and Wisdom
Just as the “spirit in man” allows the human mind to understand things no animal brain could comprehend, so does the Holy Spirit allow us to understand spiritual things that are above human comprehension—i.e., superhuman understanding.
The Apostle Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 2. He tells the Corinthians that he didn’t convince them with eloquent speech or intellectual arguments, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (verse 5). Godly wisdom is not understood by princes (verse 8). In fact, it is not perceptible by human sight or hearing. Notice that in verses 9-10: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
Paul explains that the Spirit of God imparts spiritual understanding, just as the spirit in man imparts understanding of physical things: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (verse 11).
Your cat, goldfish or gerbil cannot understand what two plus two is! Likewise, someone without God’s Holy Spirit working on their minds cannot understand anything beyond the five carnal senses. Verse 14 says that a carnal mind considers those spiritual things to be foolishness.
Mr. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex: “This human spirit has combined with the brain to form human mind. God’s Spirit unites with, and witnesses with our spirit that we are, now, the children of God (Romans 8:16). And God’s Holy Spirit, now combined with our human spirit in our mind, imparts to our mind power to comprehend spiritual knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:11)—which the carnal mind cannot grasp.”
That Spirit allows one to understand the Bible—God’s Word—which Hebrews 4:12 says is “quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword.” It can even discern “the thoughts and intents of the heart.” In superhero language, you have and can understand a tool that is more powerful than any physical weapon.
Isaiah 11:1-2 talk about Jesus Christ returning to judge the Earth with “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge …” It says this Spirit will “make him of a quick understanding,” that He will “not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears” (verse 3). Certain superhero fables emphasize x-ray vision or superhuman hearing, but God’s Spirit helps us perceive things human eyes and ears cannot.
Ability #3: A Different Nature
Remember the quote from The Missing Dimension in Sex explaining how the Holy Spirit from the person of God the Father imparts divine, immortal life. But also: “This divine Spirit of God imparts to us also the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Heretofore we have had only human, fleshly or carnal nature.”
It is the nature of God—what comes naturally to Him. Ezekiel 11:19 says we need a “new spirit” to take on a “new heart.” Our human nature is quite different. Galatians 5:19-21 lists the works produced by our own nature—as impacted by Satan the devil: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like ….”
With God’s Holy Spirit, our life produces different things, as verses 22-23 reveal. The first is “love.” Romans 5:5 adds that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us.”
The ability to exhibit godly love is a superhuman ability! Mr. Armstrong writes: “Thus, in first begetting us, God infuses within us the divine gift of His love!” (ibid).
The other fruits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are “joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance.”
Since God’s Spirit is not detectable by the human senses, one cannot “feel” the Spirit. However, you can see “fruits,” or the byproduct of the Spirit, being active in one’s life. Plus, fruits like joy and peace can significantly impact how one ”feels”—it can calm your mind, remove anxieties or increase patience. Someone can (and should!) be excited to receive God’s Spirit, or to understand something more deeply. But the emotions themselves are not someone “feeling” the Spirit. They are not the “spiritual high” that many might seek from a supposed feel-good “religious experience.”
Again, the Spirit is known through fruits, not feelings. Those fruits reveal a different nature from what we humanly “naturally” would have. In addition to the nine fruits listed in Galatians 5, there are also the other abilities discussed to this point—namely, the ability to understand divine revelation, or the component of spiritual wisdom.
Ability #4: Obedience
Having “divine nature” gives someone the power to live the way God lives—what might also be considered the ability to obey God’s spiritual law, which define His nature.
1 Peter 1:22 says we obey “through the Spirit.”
The Apostle Paul listed his struggles with obedience in Romans 7. Since “the law is spiritual: but I am carnal” (verse 14), he said that “how to perform that which is good I find not” (verse 18). He would “delight in the law of God” (verse 22), yet he said, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (verse 23).
Having an attitude of wanting to obey God is not enough to truly obey God. I can want to fly like Superman, but that is not a superpower I possess. Similarly, obeying God’s spiritual law is a superhuman feat.
Paul asked, “[W]ho shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (verse 24). The answer comes by reading into the next chapter. Romans 8 shows the solution: having the Spirit of God!
Mr. Flurry writes in How to Be an Overcomer: “We must be led and empowered by the spirit of God, and through God’s inspiration, the human will must choose to follow that Holy Spirit. The human will plays a key role in our building of character because there would be no character without it. But we must be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. … Our human will must use the Holy Spirit to overcome.”
Without the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible. Using a superhero analogy, consider Iron Man. Without his suit, he is just an ordinary man. He is not bulletproof, and he cannot fly. And without God’s Holy Spirit, we are spiritually not bulletproof, nor can we take flight as God desires for us.
Mr. Flurry continues in that chapter: “Paul had learned that we must have both God’s will and God’s power working in us in order to produce real spiritual fruit. It is God’s will in us that makes it possible for us to do—to fulfill His will, His purpose and His good pleasure. You can’t do that with something human!” It is superhuman ability.
Even as teenagers, with God’s Spirit working with you, though not in you, it does help you in these ways. There can be evidence of it in your lives, if you call on God for it. It’s not the same as being filled with the Spirit, but it is giving you a powerful advantage. It is allowing you to understand things and even giving you strength to obey God in certain ways—to stand up for Him in ways you could not otherwise do.
Eventually, though, you realize that you need more of it than what is currently available to you. Having it dwell in your mind, as opposed to it simply giving you help here and there, is kind of like the difference between borrowing something and owning it. You need to possess this power—which comes when you are mature enough to make the baptismal covenant and receive the Spirit.
Notice this quote from Mr. Flurry’s Overcomer booklet—similar to the James booklet quoted earlier: “In our concert series in Armstrong Auditorium, we strive to showcase ‘the best of the human spirit’—some of the finest artistic achievement a human being is capable of apart from God. That can be very uplifting—and it does point back to the Creator of that spirit, and of human beings. But look what the human spirit can do when it is led by the Holy Spirit! Then God is able to re-create Himself spiritually within a human being—create His very character—create another God!” That is super power.
Ability #5: Enhancement of Physical Skills
All the abilities we’ve talked about to this point are spiritual in nature. Think of all those in terms of being superpowers. They are superhuman abilities—or above human ability. What are the superpowers of converted Christians? Ability to become offspring of God means ability to have a parent-child relationship with the Creator of all things—and to take on characteristics of their Father, as any offspring would. Ability to understand spiritual concepts means they can know things that no Einstein could figure out in an equation. Ability to have a different nature means they can love someone unselfishly—that’s superhuman! It means they can have real joy and peace. They can have the superpower of patience, gentleness, goodness. They can have a faith that no human can come by naturally. They can have a superhuman meekness and self-control. It can come naturally to them—because they possess a divine nature. And all that fosters the fourth ability discussed: the ability to obey God’s spiritual law. Think of that as a superpower: The ability to keep the Sabbath to the deepest spiritual intent, the ability to worship God properly, and the ability to protect the sanctity of life, marriage, family and property.
Those are all abilities granted by the Holy Spirit! We could call those spiritual abilities. But the Holy Spirit can even increase one’s physical abilities. That is biblical, and that is the fifth ability we will discuss.
A passage in 1 Corinthians 12 shows how God gives different spiritual gifts to the ministers of His Church. These manifest themselves in a number of ways: Maybe a minister has a gift for languages, or maybe he can shrewdly analyze prophetic worldly events, or maybe he has a knack for using words to explain things clearly. Those are arguably physical tasks, but they are exponentially enhanced by the indwelling power of God.
We see a specific biblical example of this in the book of Exodus, where an artisan in the tabernacle was given God’s Spirit so that he could construct these elements in the most refined way.
God told Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 31:2-5).
Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit, this Jew—the grandson of Hur—would have a superhuman wisdom, understanding and even craftsmanship. Verses 6-11 show that God afforded this spiritual power to a Danite by the name of Aholiab.
Exodus 36 shows more about these Spirit-filled men: “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning. And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made” (verses 1-4). Bezaleel made the ark of the covenant, and they both made the high priests’ gold-threaded garments, set with precious stones.
Now imagine your physical abilities aided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is what God’s Holy Spirit has to offer in this life. Then, when transformed into a spirit being, imagine the abilities—when you actually can fly, walk through walls and be impervious to harm!
Mr. Armstrong wrote about this in The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like: “Take outstanding, superior men, having undergone a human lifetime of this attitude, this training in the ways of success and perfection. But now change these men by a resurrection into the perfection of immortality. And consider that immortality will multiply their aptitudes, abilities and powers perhaps a million times above what they achieved as humans, by infusing into them the power and glory of God. That is what God is going to do!”
That is where accomplishment in this life is leading!
Consider this quote from the James booklet once more: “The best of the human spirit combined with the best of the Holy Spirit—this gives us and the world a prophetic insight into what is coming in the World Tomorrow.”
The World Tomorrow, you could say, will be ruled by a kingdom of superheroes! Plus, at that time, God will make His Holy Spirit available to everyone. People will have to choose it—and you will help convince them to go after it. Work toward attaining that today, and you will be able to show this world the best of the Holy Spirit.