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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How Do You Receive The Holy Spirit?

There are stories in the book of Acts about people who seem to have a rudimentary belief in Jesus but who have not received the Holy Spirit. In one case, they say they have not heard about the Holy Spirit. I don't think that is too far from what we have today. The Holy Spirit is either spoken of as the end all of faith or not spoken of at all. Both do not convey the message of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit is the Helper. He helps us in conviction and remembrance of what Jesus has done. He empowers us to do works that go beyond our abilities. He enters rooms and changes the whole atmosphere of the room. He fills a person so that joy fills his soul. He makes the Christian life alive.

The Apostle Paul says that we should be filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling is a command and passive. It means that we should let it happen to us. If I go to my doctor and she says, "Have surgery," I certainly don't think I will do the surgery to myself. I must submit myself to the doctor. It is a command but it is passive.

This means that the Holy Spirit must want to fill me. Then, if I lack the filling of the Holy Spirit, it is because I have done something to keep Him out. God does not take over our will. He allows us to do both the good things and the bad. He allows us to leave Him out of our lives. He allows us to live without the Holy Spirit if we wish.

There are a couple of ways I keep the Holy Spirit out of my life. I can blaspheme the Spirit. This means I have ultimately rejected the Spirit's leading to know Jesus as my savior. You cannot blaspheme the Spirit if you know Jesus. 

I can resist the Holy Spirit. The Spirit may be leading me to proclaim Jesus publicly and I refuse. The Spirit may be leading me to speak to a believer about something that is hurting that believer and I refuse. The Spirit may be leading me to give something to another person or to the Lord and I refuse. I am resisting the Spirit. This also means I am not full of the Holy Spirit nor am I being filled. Any disobedience to the Holy Spirit is resisting the Holy Spirit.

I can quench the Spirit. Here the Spirit is very evident and I stop the action from happening. For example, the Spirit is taking control of a worship service but I am afraid of what that will lead to. it may mean that people will say things of conviction that I don't want to hear. It may mean that the service will go longer and I want to go eat. It may mean that I will no longer be able to deny that I have a hatred for someone in the congregation and I want to keep pretending that I don't. I have quenched the work of the Spirit by saying I don't want Him to have control or even be present. I like my church like it has always been--dead! So, I fold my arms and close my spirit. A closed spirit will always quench the Holy Spirit.

So to be filled I say to the Holy Spirit, "Spirit, please fill me. I will do what you want me to do. I will be what you want me to be. I will stop saying what is and isn't permissible. I will welcome your leading. Just please, Holy Spirit, fill me." I know the Spirit will fill you soon if you will pray this prayer sincerely and consistently. 

Be filled with the Holy Spirit.

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