We cannot expect to have the Holy Spirit’s fullness in our lives if we are quite content to live without it. Our Father is not likely to entrust this priceless gift to those who are indifferent to its possession. We must, therefore, stir up the gift that is within us by a quiet consideration of all that is meant by becoming Spirit-filled.
No book will move us in this direction more than the Acts of the Apostles. Cowards became brave. Those who had stumbled at the simplest truths suddenly awoke to understand the Master’s plan. Many whose hearts had heaved with rivalry, suspicion and desire for earthly power now sought to excel in humble ministry to the saints. Christ’s murderers became His worshipers and friends. Councils of clever men were not able to withstand the simple eloquence of indisputable facts. Countries were shaken and yielded thousands of converts to the unlearned but passionate preachers of the cross.
As we contrast their triumphant success to our halting progress, shall not we be filled with uncontrollable longing that God should work similar results through us? Rivers of water should flow from us. We should never need to be anxious about our words, because they will be given to us. We will be taught all things and led into the whole circle of truth. We will know Christ and be changed into His image.
Check Your Motives
If we seek the Holy Spirit merely for our own happiness or comfort or liberty of soul, it will be very unlikely that He will be given. His one passion is the glory of the Lord Jesus, and He can only abide with those who are willing to be at one with Him in this. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3, KJV).
But if you are motivated simply by the desire that the Lord Jesus may be magnified in you, whether by life or death; if you long above all that men should turn away from you to Him, then rejoice, because you are near blessing beyond words. If your motives fall below this standard, trust Him to enlighten and purify them. Offer Him free entrance to your heart. It will not then be long before there will be a gracious response.
Consider the Scriptures
We must not be content to have the Spirit without the Word or the Word without the Spirit. Our lives must travel along these two, as the locomotive travels along parallel rails. It is only by our devout contact with the Bible that we shall be able to detect the Holy Spirit’s voice. It is by the Word that the Spirit will enter our hearts, as the heat of the sun passes into our homes when its beams of light enter the open windows.
We need a widespread revival of Bible study. These mines of Scripture, lying beneath the surface, call loudly for investigation and discovery. Those who shall obey the appeal shall be soon aware that they have received the filling that they seek. There is no better way of communing with God than to walk to and fro in your room or in the open air with your Bible in hand, meditating on it and turning its precepts and promises into prayer.
Yield to Him
The Holy Ghost is in us, and by this means Christ is in us, for He dwells in us by the Spirit, as the sun dwells in the world through its rays of light. But we must perpetually yield to Him, as water yields to the vessel that holds it. This is not easy. It can only be accomplished by incessant self-examination and putting to death our self-life [that is, making self, rather than Christ, the focus of our life].
We have chosen Jesus as our substitute, but have we also chosen Him by the Holy Spirit as our life? Can we say, like the Apostle: “Not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV)? If so, we must be prepared for all that it involves. We must be willing for the principle of the new life to grow at the expense of the self-life.
We must allow the One to increase, while the other decreases. We must be ever on the alert, hastening the processes of judgment, condemnation and crucifixion of our fleshly desires. We must keep true in our allegiance to the least request of the Holy Spirit, though it cost us tears of blood. There is nothing trivial in this life. A look, a word, a refusal, may be enough to grieve Him in ourselves and to quench Him in others.
Do not shrink back afraid of what He may demand. He is the Spirit of love, and He loves us too well to cause grief unless there is a reason. And we would approve, if we knew as much as He does.
Receive Him by Faith
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6, KJV). Just as you once obtained forgiveness and salvation by faith, so now claim and receive the Holy Spirit’s fullness. Wait quietly but definitely before God in prayer, for He gives His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. Then reverently appropriate this glorious gift, rise from your knees and go on your way, believing that God has kept His word.
There may not be the sound of rushing wind or the tangible feeling of His presence. Do not look for these any more than the young convert should look to his feeling as an evidence of God’s acceptance. But believe—in spite of how you feel—that you are filled. The feeling will sooner or later break in upon your consciousness, and you will rejoice with exceeding great joy; and all the fruits of the Spirit will begin to show themselves in your life.
Author and pastor F.B. Meyer was born in London in 1847. He was a contemporary and friend of D.L. Moody, and was known as a crusader against immorality who preached against drunkenness and prostitution. He is said to have brought about the closing of hundreds of saloons and brothels.