Demonstration of the Spirit

In his first epistle to church members in Corinth, the apostle Paul emphasized that God’s wisdom is greater than human wisdom and that therefore preaching the gospel is about connecting people to God’s Spirit, not just convincing them of truths by eloquence and reasoning.

“My speech and my preaching,” he said, “was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4).

In 1832, the Lord used similar language as He called John Murdock to preach the gospel:

Who receiveth you receiveth me; and you shall have power to declare my word in the demonstration of my Holy Spirit.

Doctrine and Covenants 99:2

Ammon began his missionary service among the Lamanites by accepting a responsibility to guard the king’s flocks. After he miraculously defended the flocks against a band of marauders, the king was convinced that Ammon had the power of God. “Surely this is more than a man,” he said. The king was ready to hear to Ammon’s message:

Thou mayest speak boldly, and tell me concerning these things; and also tell me by what power ye slew and smote off the arms of my brethren that scattered my flocks—

And now, if thou wilt tell me concerning these things, whatsoever thou desirest I will give unto thee; and if it were needed, I would guard thee with my armies; but I know that thou art more powerful than all they; nevertheless, whatsoever thou desirest of me I will grant it unto thee.

Alma 18:20-21

Ammon didn’t need to be persuasive, because the king was receptive. The king had seen the “demonstration of the Spirit” in Ammon’s service, and he was already convinced that what Ammon had to teach him was true.

Today, I will remember that preaching doesn’t have to be eloquent or persuasive to be effective. If the listener can recognize the Spirit of the Lord in the preacher’s service, then he or she will be willing to listen and learn.

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