Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Does every Christian want to have the power of the Holy Spirit filling them? Though I am sure that the answer to this question would be a resounding “Yes!” why then do so many live a life that is lacking the boldness, strength, and power that only the Spirit can give? I would suggest that when a follower finds out what is necessary to experience this filling of the Spirit, they often decide they really don’t want it.
“I have decided to be a runner!” I made this announcement to the family one Sunday at lunch. I looked around at the incredulous stares and continued to explain. “I really want to be healthy and I thought running would a good hobby to help me do this. I’ve googled a plan and I’m starting tomorrow.”
I was ready! I had all the gear – new ASICS running shoes, spandex, cute and colorful dry-fit shirt, headband, iPod . . . yup, I was ready. It started out pretty easy. Run a short distance and walk a short distance, run a short distance and walk a short distance, all the while building up my endurance. I was doing well until the distances got farther and the time involved got longer. All of a sudden this new hobby was cutting in on other things that I wanted and needed to do. I started to reconsider my new calling. Maybe I didn’t actually want to be a runner. I concluded that I was going to need to find another way to be healthy.
Why aren’t many Christians experiencing the complete filling of the Holy Spirit and His power? Could it be that they really don’t want what it takes to experience this power? A. W. Tozer in his book, Keys to the Deeper Life, asks this, “Are you sure that you want to be possessed by a Spirit Who, while He is pure and gentle and wise and loving, will yet insist upon being Lord of your life? Are you sure you want your personality to be taken over by One Who will require obedience to the written Word? Who will not tolerate any of the self-sins in your life: self-love, self-indulgence? Who will not permit you to strut or boast or show off? Who will take the direction of your life away from you and will reserve the sovereign right to test you and discipline you? Who will strip away from you many loved objects which secretly harm your soul?”
According to Tozer there are four things which we must do before we are able to experience the full power that God has made available to us through His Holy Spirit. They are: 1) Surrender – give God complete control of our lives; 2) Ask – spend time in prayer as the disciples did asking for this filling; 3) Obey – study God’s word and be willing to do everything that He asks you to do; and 4) Believe – even when there are no visual signs, believe that God will do what He says He will do.
These are not easy things when you really consider what they entail. But when we make the decision to follow Christ with all our hearts, when we surrender our whole life to Him, ask Him to fill us, obey all His commands, and believe what He promises, He will come with power. Our lives will be forever changed and our world will reap the benefits.
Just like the followers in Acts 4 we will experience the filling of the Holy Spirit and will speak the word of God boldly to all whom we meet. Think what would happen if every believer in Christ truly wanted this! The world would be transformed forever.
Do you want to experience the filling of the Holy Spirit and His power for living and powerful ministry? Then don’t approach it the way I approached my desire to be a runner. Consider all that is involved. Ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” If the answer is a resounding “yes” then commit yourself to the disciplines it requires. It is not an easy path to follow, but it is well worth it. There is no greater joy than seeing what God will do when you give Him complete control of your life.