During the past month, I have been involved with an extended study and meditation over the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and followers of Jesus Christ. I first started writing about these stirrings around May 17th on the blog. This is part four of a multi-part essay sharing an ongoing reflection I continue processing. I do not profess this work as academically complete, so feel free to join in the conversation if you are so inclined. See the entire series of The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit here.
[18JUNE2012] Begin Part Four — Pentecost: The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit
From “The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit” Part Three
As I have said (to my understanding), “Love God and Love People,” is the prerequisite and contingent command for walking in the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, as indicated in my sphere diagram above, “Love God and Love People” is much more than a mental assent and verbal affirmation. While “Love God and Love People” is more than… it most often, is not, perfection; even a quick read through the Acts of the Apostles or the Pauline Epistles will reveal many imperfect people being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. What then is the purpose of this round and round talk? I think basic misunderstanding and poor teaching about the Holy Spirit lays at the root of why so many people are attempting to live the “Jesus Life” are doing so without the indwelling Holy Spirit. I also believe that a second reason, closely related to the first, is selfish rebellion against the commands to “Love God and Love People,” but I will share more on this thought in a follow-up installment to our series.
Part Four — Pentecost: The In-Dwelling Holy Spirit
Selfish rebellion may sound harsh, but I do not mean “clenched fist and teeth” rebellion. More often than not, our rebellion toward God resembles passive aggressive rebellion. What I mean is this; the more conversations I have on this subject with “Christians” the more I hear people confessing they really do not believe we (particularly they) can live as Jesus lived. Most arguments against living as Jesus lived fall under common themes (eg., Jesus was perfect and I am not, Romans 7 argument, “we” can never be perfect, etc.). While there are partial truths within the scopes of these arguments, they still result in false teaching when compared to Jesus’ words and the overall teaching found in the New Testament Scriptures.
If Jesus has called us to follow Him and He promises that He has made a way for each of us to succeed in this call to follow, but we profess that it is impossible to follow Him… we make Him out to be a liar. Jesus is not the liar. If we say we cannot follow Him, we are the liar…and we stand in direct rebellion toward Him as enemies of God. While our fists may not be raised toward Him, we are no less in rebellion against Him than all the demons of hell. Passive rebellion—unbelieving rebellion—no matter the name it goes by, is still rebellion.
The “selfish rebellion” we exhibit against God is because of so many “believers’” failure to understand what it means to be a regenerated disciple of Jesus. A great number of religious people assume their moment of regeneration hinges on a confession or profession of faith alone; however, anyone can say “I believe in Jesus” as James reminds us (James 2:19). Therefore, simply confessing that Jesus is God, does not equal regenerative salvation. Denial of self—dying to self is a prerequisite requirement to becoming regenerated disciples of Jesus Christ (Luke 14:25-33; John 12:24-26; John 3:3-6). Becoming a Disciple: Believing, Obeying, and Following seem to be implied prerequisites for receiving and maintaining the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39; John 8:12; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19-20).
“We who have once for all cloned ourselves in Christ, and been made worthy to have him dwelling within us, may show everyone, if we choose, simply by the strict discipline of our life and without saying a word, the power of him who dwells in us.” John Chrysostom
I am convinced by what I have read, through both the Old and New Testament Scriptures that the Holy Spirit of God upon you or within you is an extraordinary thing. Ordinary men and women, prophets, kings, warriors, and more were motivated and empowered to act in incredible ways…performing astoundingly supernatural acts. The most incredible act of all, to my understanding, is the promise of walking in daily relationship with the Triune Godhead as Jesus modeled for us while he walked amongst humanity. It makes absolutely no sense to me why any true believer would not want to receive this gift and walk with this level of intimacy and relationship with Jesus…with God.
It also seems odd to me when people profess being filled with the Holy Spirit and do not walk surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership. Jesus says that when the Spirit comes and we are filled with the Spirit, He will lead us in all Truth. Being led in and to the Truth assumes (to me) that we are growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, ably reflecting His image to the world in which we live. I know that I am not all that God has destined me to be, yet. I know that I sense His Spirit within me, calling me closer to Himself and transforming me as I surrender to His Spirit within me. I know we have been given the opportunity to be reconciled to God fully through the atonement of Christ Jesus. I know this atonement includes the gift of Holy Spirit baptism which fully empowers every true believer to live the life of Jesus today—in this body—on this side of eternity. For any believer to profess Christ as their Savior and live less than the life He promised, is blasphemous. Make your mind up today to live all for Jesus. Roll up your sleeves and partner with the Holy Spirit. If you are unsure of whether or not you have this infilling gift, or if you are need of renewal and infilling, turn back to God now. Pray to Jesus, confess and repent of your lack of giving your all and divided heart. Ask God to give you purity of heart and to fill-refill you with His Holy Spirit. Receive God’s gift and walk with Him. Words from Oswald Chambers press us and inspire us as follows:
Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest—Get Moving
Download the whole series in a printable pdf file here.