Yesterday, we talked about how God wants to be the center of our lives. He doesn’t want to be at the top of your list, he wants to be the list. I also shared my belief that in order to live a Christ-centered life you must have an on-going relationship with Him and have Holy Spirit.
Yes, Holy Spirit, the Uncle Eddie (Cousin Eddie) of the Trinity. You know what I am talking about; the uncle you love but are not so sure what to do with Him. Unfortunately, too many Christians today are not even aware of the power of Holy Spirit. Sadly, it is mostly because churches are not teaching it. Church doctrine over the years has simply turned Holy Spirit into our conscience.
I am not going to bash other church doctrine. This is not what this is about. I can and will do nothing to dissuade you from the teachings of your church. All I can do is share my experience with you. All I ask is you keep an open mind and do your own seeking.
Let me start off by saying that I attend a Methodist Church, this was the last place I expected to be taught about Holy Spirit. [I thought only “snake-holding” churches believed in this kind of stuff. Now, I am not bashing Pentecostal churches, I love Pentecostal churches, but before I knew Holy Spirit, those kinds of churches scared and confused me.] Luckily for me I had a pastor who is lead by God and willing to cross religious boundaries to make sure her people are too.
Anyway, when I first started going to my church, my pastor and a group of believers would meet for a bible study. A few of them were “spirit-filled,” and the topic would come up from time to time. I didn’t know much about it, but I became curious and begin to study and seek. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know more, and the more I loved my God and my relationship with Him grew and grew. I couldn’t get enough. Then obedience began to take shape in my life, and I was ready to give it all to God.
About a year into my new-found relationship with Christ, I went to a church conference. Days before I was due to leave, the attacks against me were something fierce. I was very close to not even going. The first night of the conference, I wasn’t even speaking to my husband. But within a short time of being there, I knew God had something for me; however, I was also on guard because the church holding the conference was Penecostal and the last thing I wanted was to fall for any false doctrine. I prayed and prayed that first night:
“Lord, if this is real, I want it! Protect me, my ears, and my heart from anything not of you. I want all you have to give me, but I only want what is of you and you alone.”
I walked away that night knowing before I received what God had for me, I had to make things right with my husband. I did just that (the conference was only 45 min from home). I cannot tell you the great relief I felt inside when I let go of all I was holding against my husband.
The next day of the conference was great. You could feel something special going on. One by one I began to let go of pains and hurts that had held me captive for so long. I began to say over and over:
“Lord, I’m ready now. I don’t want to live like this any longer. I want to live solely for you. Everyday I want to wake up praising your name and lead others to you. I want to give you my life just like you gave me yours.”
I couldn’t die to myself fast enough. I literally laid at the alter and had the most awesome time in the presence of the Lord. It was nothing my ol’ baptist heart could have ever imagined. I didn’t want to get up, I didn’t want to move. I also spent a great deal of time repenting of my past. I had asked for forgiveness on most things, but there were deep secrets I had yet to bring to light. I just opened my heart to him and let everything out.
On the last day of the conference, my big moment happened. I was worshiping to How He Loves by David Crowder and all of the sudden gibberish started coming out of my mouth and wouldn’t stop. Now, I had heard something about prayer language, but I was skeptical. I looked at my pastor, and she looked back at me, and she just burst into tears. She let me go on with my new found prayer language for a bit and then she taught me how to control it a little better. Honestly, I didn’t want to control it. It was something so glorious, I didn’t ever want it to stop. And, I was a little afraid if I stopped it, it wouldn’t come back.
Thus began my “spirit-filled” life. Now, it wasn’t the “magic” of the conference that awakened Holy Spirit inside of me; it was the “dying to self” part that did it. In order to be “filled” there needed to be room inside of my heart. Once I got rid of me, Spirit had more than enough room. I will also add that I believe truly repenting of all my sins played a role as well.
[Don’t get caught up in water baptism and spirit baptism/one or two baptism. Terms are not important. What is important is that we are given Holy Spirit the day we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; however, it is more like seed form. As we grow in Christ, that seeds gets bigger and bigger. As it gets bigger and bigger it needs more room, so we have to remove all of “us” to make room for Holy Spirit.]
Now, for my fellow believers who are unsure of Holy Spirit, I know how weird this all sounds and I ask you to look into it more. Seek the truth for yourselves. Below you will find verses that will help, but please, please don’t blow me off.
We cannot have a complete relationship with God, if we don’t know a third of Him. Holy Spirit is real and vital to our walk with Christ. It is only by the strength of Holy Spirit that we can do anything.
“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.” (NIV)
It wasn’t until the disciples were filled with Spirit that they went out and preached and taught without doubt or fear. Even while Jesus walked with them they were a hot mess. But after they had Holy Spirit they began to lead effectively.
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (NIV)
Jesus was saying that Holy Spirit could only come if he (Jesus) left and it would be better for the disciples to have Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit actually lives inside of us, making it far easier to walk in the ways of the Lord. Again, the disciples were doing it previously on their own strength (and not very well mind you.)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (NIV)
Did you hear that? Repent and be baptized and you will receive forgiveness and Holy Spirit. We get both at the same time. It is also important to note as verse 39 indicates, Peter’s message was just not for his audience, but for those who have yet to come (us)!
“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. (NIV)
Holy Spirit talks to us; guides us. Holy Spirit is what the world has termed “conscience”, but so much more.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit . (NIV)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we get the Holy Spirit. So then, why do some use the term “filled with the Spirit?” Refer back to the seed illustration above. Once the seed is fully grown-we are filled.
You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (NIV)
Since we get Holy Spirit is given once we believe, if we don’t have Holy Spirit, then we aren’t believers and do not belong to Christ.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (NIV)
This is the prayer language mentioned above.
I encourage all who don’t know Holy Spirit to seek, seek, seek. To those who already do, I pray you will continue to walk in the Spirit and help others to find him.
Have a blessed day,