Gladys and the Powell Street Miracle

When the Lord fills you with the Holy Spirit, you undergo a recognizable personality change.


I was only a few months old in the Lord and still in David Wilkerson’s addiction program when I took a pass home; it was Mother’s Day weekend. Being back in my old Brooklyn neighborhood felt strange – I had changed; the streets had not.

I was out one day, turned the corner on my old block when I bumped into Gladys, a girl I used to shoot drugs with. When she saw me, she did a double-take, and her eyes got real big. I said, “Gladys -- you okay?”

The girl blinked her eyes hard like she was trying to focus. “I’m strung out, Vic. But you look different. You look to-o-o-tally different.”

That kind of change cannot be faked when people know you – the lost you. My conversation, the way I expressed myself, was nothing like what she remembered from when we hung out only six months prior. I was no longer that cocky gang kid she got high with. You cannot fake that kind of confidence, a peaceful sort of excitement that altered my stature, my expressions – plus my skin had really cleared up. Gladys was intrigued by my transformation. I always kept my finger on the trigger of my testimony, so it didn’t take much to start me witnessing.

I began firing off my experience – how I got clean from heroin and the new kind of purpose I found when Christ came into my life. I told Gladys about God’s Spirit filling me with power, “I look different, Gladys because I am different. I’m a changed man, a new person. You can have this, too.”

Just like me, Gladys had tried about every drug around. Looking at the permanent “high” I was on, she wanted some of what I had going. I led her to Christ right there on Powell Street.

Five years later, I learned that Gladys introduced her whole family to Jesus. Her behavior improved so drastically; they could not deny the miracle. The same power and proof in Gladys’ life began way back in the days of the disciples and continues every day since. The provocation of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural event, displayed through physical evidence.

When the Lord fills you with the Holy Spirit, you undergo a recognizable personality change. You prove your Spirit-filled life through obedience, thankfulness, happiness, decreased sin, unusual excitement, joy, contentment, and confidence. Galatians 5 tells us what living life by the Spirit looks like.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

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