Stop and think for a moment: if you have been born-again, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Christian faith has within it a number of truly outrageous ideas. It is my experience that we become so over-familiar with these ideas that we forget how outrageous they are. We believe that God became a human being and lived among us for awhile. We believe that, as a human being, He died and rose again, and ascended to heaven to take His place upon His throne of glory. We believe that, shortly afterwards, He opened up the heavens and sent His Spirit to invade the earth and dwell within His followers. Us.
That is an incredible thought. The Holy Spirit of God dwells within us. In fullness. The same God that created all things, upholds all things, will restore and renew all things, dwells in me. The fire of a billion suns and beyond is exploding within my innermost being, incalculable power beyond measure alive inside of me. Yet, because of the condition of my heart, my mind, and my emotions, I often forget that He is there. I often forget that I enjoy union in the deepest part of my being with the Man from Nazareth.
Relating on His Terms
My relationship with the Holy Spirit begins, on a daily basis, with attentiveness. In other words, the quality of my life in the Holy Spirit is directly connected to my conscious effort to remember that He is with me. The more I think about Jesus, read, think about, or sing bible passages, talk about Jesus, or simply “fellowship with the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13:14), the more I allow the Spirit to be active in my life. As a born-again, Spirit-filled believer, there is continual activity around my life that I am not aware of. God’s leadership through the Holy Spirit on my behalf means continual activity for my good. An example of this includes Paul’s reminder that, when we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit groans and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:23-26).
However, like any relationship, the more we talk to the Spirit the more we will walk in the Spirit. Simply remembering that the Spirit is alive within us is an act of faith that positions us to experience more of His leadership and power in our lives. The more we connect with what is true about us – truth that we cannot often feel or consciously perceive – the more we will ask and engage with Jesus through His Spirit. As Jesus told us, “ask and you shall receive” (Matt. 7:7). James later reminded us in this light that, “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). This is the simplest of scriptural principles: the more that you ask for (within the boundaries of His will), the more that you will experience in walking with God.
Attentiveness to the Spirit followed by engaging with the Spirit often requires a few other attitudes of the heart, however. I have found that without humility, simplicity, and dependency – all heart attitudes that can be summarized as being “child-like” – I will go on my merry way without even thinking about the possibilities that come with connecting with God in prayer. I can become so task-oriented and me-oriented that I forget that Jesus died that I might become “we-oriented”. His sacrificial death and victory over sin was the culmination of His fight for intimate relationship with me. It is His joy to offer me infinite power to grow and mature in the relationship. I have the Eternal God fighting on my behalf – and dwelling within me – to help me to overcome all obstacles to life and godliness in relationship with Him.
If I am to love Jesus back with a tender, responsive heart of thanksgiving, I have to do so on His terms. His terms are the ones that propel my life. They simply work better than my terms. Therefore, I have to continually fight for the three heart attitudes listed above. When all three work in tandem, they help subdue my prideful independence, prideful love of my own opinions and conclusions, and my own distorted sense of self-importance and self-righteousness. I can see Jesus – and myself – a bit clearer with a little more objectivity. I can do so without shame, with confidence that I am loved. In the process, I can receive real power to grow in love and authority in the Spirit.
I Want the Rewards of a Spirit-Filled Life Now
It is far too easy for me to become used to a life disconnected from actively engaging with the Holy Spirit. I need to remember daily what life is like when the activity of the Holy Spirit is real and alive within me. I want to experience the joy and thrill of hearing His voice related to those around me. It might be a small impression, or a slight surge of tenderness – but I want to hear and feel more related to those He loves. I do not want to surrender to a Christianity lived out merely within my mind. I want the ongoing exhilaration of a life with Jesus lived out of the overflow of my heart as well.
I want a more active dream life. I want to encounter the Lord in powerful ways even when I am sleeping. I want to be surprised by the Holy Spirit at various times when I am awake. I want my life and my heart to be constant candidates for an unexpected invasion of “more” of the Spirit of God in and around my life. I want to see more people that I pray for experience healing. I want more people that I preach to experience freedom, joy, and an increased spirit of revelation (experiential understanding) by the time I am finished. I want more to happen within me and all around me as I remember to connect to the Living Fire that dwells jealously within me.
All of these things snowball and multiply if I stay with it. Then, I get distracted, off-track, a little dull, and disconnected. That can snowball, too. I can get stuck in a rut for quite awhile if I forget that this Christian life was meant to be so much more than what it is now. I don’t want to stay here. I want to remember. I want to believe. I want to run, and be fully alive. The best part is, we can run together into more of His Spirit, today.