Three "E"s of The Holy Spirit

Three “E”s of The Holy Spirit

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There are three things the Holy Spirit does to ready us for whatever task God has asked us to do. Today we are talking about the three “E”s of the Holy Spirit.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

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There are many reasons why people are slow to do what God asks them to do. Some tasks are outside of our comfort zone and some may seem too difficult. We do not feel like we are ready or even know how to do what the Lord is asking us to do. Thoughts of fear or anxiety flood our minds.

Followers of Jesus will also fear sharing their faith with family or friends because they are afraid they cannot answer the questions that may arise. We can be fearful of giving the wrong information.

Christians can also think sometimes that it is not their job to evangelize or “go and make disciples” as we read in Matthew 28:19-20. Many believe that is the job of the pastor or evangelist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We can avoid the fear and anxiety of not having the answer. God is equipping us with the tools we need to do what he asks us to do. All of this is done through the Holy Spirit who is the third member of the Trinity. Let’s look at the three “E”s of the Holy Spirit; equipping, empowering, and enabling.


God does not give us a task or ministry without first equipping us. Imagine giving someone a job but not giving them the tools they need to accomplish it. That is ridiculous and so is thinking God will call someone to a task without giving them the tools they need to accomplish it.

God’s people are equipped by the Holy Spirit and this is the first “E” of the Holy Spirit we are talking about. We read about the gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit to equip us for the work he has for us in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

(4)  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  (5)  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  (6)  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  (7)  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  (8)  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  (9)  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  (10)  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  (11)  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

This passage is wonderful at explaining that there are many different giftings from the Holy Spirit and each has its purpose. These gifts are how the Lord equips us. These gifts or tools all come from the same Spirit and are distributed as the Holy Spirit sees fit. These are all for works of service that all point to God through Jesus Christ. In all, these gifts or tools are given for the common good.

These tools we can be equipped with are words of wisdom and knowledge, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, and great faith. Each one of these tools is useful at different times but not always all at the same time.

You may have a shovel and a hammer in your tool shed. You do not use the shovel to drive a nail into a piece of wood and you wouldn’t use a hammer to dig a ditch for a new water line. The Holy Spirit equips us with each of these tools as we need them to achieve the goal the Lord has for us. It is important to understand that we may have access to many of these gifts, but not each one is useful each time we interact with someone or each time we minister. Knowing when to use the right gift is also through the Holy Spirit. Let’s read John 14:25-26.

John 14:25-26

(25)  “All this I have spoken while still with you.  (26)  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit will teach us and tell us when to use each gift we have been equipped with. This first “E” of the Holy Spirit needs the second “E” to function.


The second “E” of the Holy Spirit is empowering. You can have many tools in your toolbox but if you do not have the power to use them they are useless. That empowerment to use the tools we are equipped with comes through the Holy Spirit as well. Jesus told the disciples to wait for the power that would come from the Holy Spirit just before he ascended into Heaven. Let’s read Acts 1:8.

Acts 1:8

(8)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When we receive the power to use the gifts we have received from the Holy Spirit we can then do what God is asking us to do at that moment.

Sometimes the Lord will give you a word of knowledge about someone and ask you to speak to them and address it. The power to do that comes from the Holy Spirit. He empowers you to share what you are being asked to share.

The Holy Spirit gives you the power to understand the gift of discernment you may have been equipped with and the courage to follow through with what you need to do with it.

The disciples had to wait for the gift Jesus said was coming from God the Father. They gathered and prayed and waited. Let’s read what happened after they prayed and waited for days in Acts 2:1-4.

Acts 2:1-4

(1)  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  (2)  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  (3)  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  (4)  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The disciples then went out into the streets and started to preach in these other tongues and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ throughout Jerusalem. If you continue reading in Acts chapter 2, you will read Peter’s explanation and probably the best sermon ever preached.

The second “E” of the Holy Spirit is empowering and it leads to the third “E”.


There is nothing good about having a tool and knowing how it works, but have nowhere to use it. When the Holy Spirit equips you with a gift to use and empowers you to use it, he will also enable you to use it. You will be given the opportunity to exercise your gift. It is not up to us to go find ways and places to use the tools the Holy Spirit has given us. The Lord will present the right situations at the right time in the right place.

One of the most common troubles Christians worry about is answering non-believers’ questions or addressing situations with non-believers. If we are to speak and address the situation or answer the question, the Holy Spirit will give us the knowledge and the words to say. If he doesn’t, don’t come up with what to say yourself. God has more than likely already tasked someone else to address it.

Having the knowledge to answer and speak when God asks us to is directly addressed in Mark 13:10-11.

Mark 13:10-11

(10)  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  (11)  Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is describing what must happen before he returns in this passage. These particular verses go to our point though. The Holy Spirit will give you what you need to say when you need to say it. We do not need to add to it or subtract from it. We just need to say what the Holy Spirit has given us to say.

This enablement to use the gifts you have been equipped with and empowered to use is the third “E” of the Holy Spirit and is just as important as the other two.


We can and will do well as members of the Church when we allow the Holy Spirit to equip us, empower us, and enable us to do the works of service and ministry for the common good of all mankind God has asked us to do in the name of Jesus. These are the three “E”s of the Holy Spirit.

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