While waiting at a traffic light, I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me had the letters: E-M-P-W-R-D. The Reading Teacher in me immediately decoded these letters to mean “empowered.” Then, I noticed a familiar image on the license plate that gave new meaning to this word, a handicapped symbol. Instantly, my views changed. I thought this individual is clearly displaying a growth mindset demonstrating that whatever handicap he or she may have, it is not going to create a feeling of being disempowered.
In searching for the meaning of the word, empower, I found several definitions: authorize, entitle; allow; equip. Another definition, from Google, explains that empower is to “make someone stronger and more confident especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”
My friend with the license plate definitely portrays the meaning of empower in a physical sense. For one, he or she was driving a car. Perhaps he or she has a device such as a scooter or wheelchair for mobility. Perhaps he or she uses technology as an adaptive device. These tools empower a handicapped individual to have independence.
Then, I thought spiritually — how are we empowered? My first thought was that we are empowered through the Holy Spirit, which we receive through the laying on of hands after baptism.
In conducting some research, I found that the Holy Spirit is mentioned 90 times in the Bible in total and more than 55 times in the Book of Acts. In Luke 11:13, the Holy Spirit is explained as a gift as follows:
“If ye then, being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
In Acts 1:5, Christ tells the apostles: “For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Romans 8:26 describes how the Spirit makes intercession for us. What I find even more powerful, is described in verse 27: “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Having the mind of Christ! What better gift is there to direct, guide and lead us through life while it also makes intercession for us.
In a spiritual sense, we can claim empowerment through the Holy Ghost.
What a powerful tool we have to equip, enable, and allow us to know things that are spiritual. Many times, I have felt the Holy Spirit prompting me and speaking me through tough decisions. I try to stay in tune to the inner voices I hear that guide me through life.
Sometimes, I take for granted this powerful tool that truly empowers me spiritually.
If we ever feel disempowered by a trial, struggle, or temptation, it's a great comfort to know that the Lord is there through the Holy Spirit guiding us. I may not display E-M-P-W-R-D on my license plate, but these letters have been written on my heart since the day I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, a greater tool of empowerment than I could ever desire, and through His grace totally undeserved.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.