Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do You Want to be Filled with the Holy Spirit?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

I was a sophomore in college when someone handed a small book by A.W. Tozer (a great theologian who lived in the first half of the 20th century and whose writings are classics) entitled How To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit. The book had a profound impact on my life, which has endured to this day. Most impacting was the segment of the book where Tozer challenged his readers to do a "gut-check" and ask if they are really certain they want the HOLY Spirit to fill them. He writes:

"To the interested inquirer I ask these questions: 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 that secretly harm your soul?

Unless you can answer an eager 'Yes' to these questions you do not want to be filled. You may want the thrill or the victory or the power, but you do not really want to be filled with the Spirit. Your desire is little more than a feeble wish and is not pure enough to please God, Who demands all or nothing. Again I ask: Are you sure you need to be filled with the Spirit? Tens of thousands of Christians, preachers, missionaries, manage to get on somehow without having had a clear experience of being filled. But how about you? What is your life producing? You are doing religious work, preaching, singing, writing, promoting, but what is the quality of your work?

True; you received the Spirit at the moment of conversion, but is it also true that you are ready without further anointing to resist temptation, obey the Scriptures, understand the truth, live victoriously, die in peace and meet Christ without embarrassment at His coming? If, on the other hand, your soul cries out for God, for the living God, and your dry and empty heart despairs of living a normal Christian life without a further anointing, then I ask you: Is your desire the biggest thing in your life? Does it crowd out every common religious activity and fill you with an acute longing that can only be described as the pain of desire?"

That's good isn't it? I think Tozer captured the heart of Jesus in Matthew 5:6 above when he told us that our desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit needs to be as strong as a starving man's desire for food or a parched and dehydrated woman's desire for water, and God will graciously grant us His provision. This Sunday we will explore how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but in preparation will you take the time, examine yourself--and because we value Being Authentic--will you make sure you desire to be filled with and to follow the Holy Spirit?