It is important for us to realize that the Holy Spirit does come to us at salvation but may not be active in our lives. Many Christians have a lack of a victorious spiritual experience with God. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit is not allowed to function fully within the spiritual realm of the believer.
Samson is an example of that. He was considered the strongest man in the world. However, he walked closer and closer to the line next to the world. He liked what the world had to offer and strayed over the line. His weakness was women. To sit down and read his whole story at one sitting, it appears that he was playing a game with God’s calling. He was ordained to be a judge over Israel but wondered about the countryside spying out women or ways that he could demonstrate his strength. Eventually he fell to the temptations of Delilah. The result was that his hair was cut, and his strength was lost. Unfortunately, he was bound to the world and became a prisoner of the world. At the end of his life he was blinded, became weak. He was only able to regain his place with God when he brought down the columns of the temple where the Philistines worshiped.
David was God’s choice to be king over Israel. He had wealth and prestige. He bore a promise from God that his kingdom would never end. The meaning of that promise was that David became the ancestor of Jesus Christ. While in his palace, he looked out the window and saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. Even though he had wives and a harem, he was greedy to take another man’s wife. He sent for her and committed adultery. To cover that sin, he eventually caused her husband to be killed in battle by putting him in the front line. When he thought he got away with his dastardly deed, God’s prophet came to him with the bad news. God saw and knew everything that happened. In David’s case he purposely sinned. He caused himself to fall to his own temptation created by looking out the window and requesting the presence of the woman in this palace. As part of his prayer for forgiveness David wrote Psalm 51.
In both examples we should observe that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not merely reformation. We must differentiate between the indwelling of the spirit and the withdrawal of the spirit. When a person receives Christ as Savior the Holy Spirit comes to indwell that person. However, the spirit of God can withdraw his workings and blessing. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit literally comes and goes out of a person. It does mean that the evidence is missing of the indwelling spirit. For instance, a family may live in a lovely home. If the home should catch on fire, the family will leave. When the fire is put out and the repairs are made, the family will return to the home because that is where they abide. If the building is in shambles the family cannot be active in that home and function there. So, it is with the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us and yet cannot be active if there is a fire raging in our lives. Matthew 12:43-45 states that the indwelling is different from reformation. Making promises to God for reformation does not generate the functioning of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
On the positive side, what does the Holy Spirit do when we are filled with Him? Look at several scriptures to answer the question: Romans 8:5-9 reminds us that it is not possible to prefer things of the flesh and things of the Spirit at the same time. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is evidence of our relationship with Christ. John 4:14 shares that the Holy Spirit is a lasting and complete satisfaction while serving God. There is no partial filling. There is no partial salvation. Either a person has accepted Christ and sold out to God or they have not. The person is sold out to God as the Holy Spirit is operating within him as a water springing up to everlasting life. John 7:37-38 goes further to say that, not only is the indwelling spirit of fullness within us but there is an overflow from ourselves to others. That overflow becomes a blessing and a witness to other people who believe. Back to Romans Chapter 8, we find verse 11 gives more information about the indwelling spirit of God. There are many people who are afraid of death and many others who have no certainty for the afterlife. This great multitude of people have no hope for eternity because they have no testimony from the Holy Spirit for eternal life. Furthermore, this verse is a promise that should we die the Holy Spirit will quicken our bodies that we may dwell with Christ in heaven. Some people say that they have difficulty witnessing to others about becoming a Christian. The answer to that question is in Ephesians 5:18-20. Those verses remind us that the Holy Spirit is the one who motivates us to give to speak and to have joy in the Lord. Any witness we make about Christ cannot come from ourselves. It is simply a matter that the Holy Spirit dwells within and speaks through us and about Jesus. Whatever witness you make is a witness inspired by the Holy Spirit.
There are those who say that they are okay under the circumstances. God does not want us to see ourselves under the circumstances. Instead, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are to be empowered over our circumstances. Micah 3:8 is an example of the believer sold out to God and says that his power is full because of the spirit of God. There are those people who wonder about their relationship with Christ whether they are saved at any given moment. First Corinthians 3:16 verifies that the believer has a permanent salvation relationship with God as evidenced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God identifies the believer as his temple where the Holy Spirit would dwell. That indwelling is accomplished by God and not the believer. That indwelling is evidence that Christ is our Savior. There is a difference between relationship and reaction. The relationship is firmly established as we become the children of God. Should a believer have a fire in their house earlier mentioned in this paper, the reaction of the Holy Spirit is to withdrawal until the fire is put out.
The question comes to be, “how does one become filled with the Holy Spirit?” It is important that the believer not rely on emotions to verify the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. The indwelling is a fact of knowledge and not that of emotions. Someone may say that they don’t feel saved or they don’t feel God’s presence at a time in their life. That has nothing to do with the reality of God’s salvation and indwelling. Because of circumstances a person may not enjoy their relationship with God, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they still have that relationship. When we speak of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must speak of the holiness that is expected from the believer. Holiness is a separateness, a withdrawal from anything that is not holy or godly. Therefore, to abide with the unholy diminishes the opportunity to enjoy the Holy Spirit and what he has to offer.
That means that if there is sin in our lives it blocks the working of the Holy Spirit. It prevents the believer from realizing God’s leadership. It detours the believer into directions where God may not want the believer to follow. It is a reality that sin is a terrible thing. Jesus talked about the believer not being able to serve two masters. Likewise, the believer cannot perform works of sin and works of godliness at the same time. That does not mean that the believer cannot appear to be doing works of holiness, but those works do not have the blessing of God that they would normally have without sin in the believer’s life. This requires us to have continual submission to God and confession for the sins that we have committed by the hour. Since God hates sin, so must the believer renounce and resist sin. This requires us to yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that there is less of us and more of Him. If we are to have less of us, then we must also not have conditions attached. Someone may say that he will serve God if he does a certain thing. We cannot stipulate what it means to be a servant of God.
As we live for the Lord and are continually aware of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must expect testing daily. It will be testing of our faith and of our needs. This testing has a positive value because as we go through it, we can expect the testing to verify to God that we mean business. By being aware of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling within us we can begin our walk of faith. We can serve God with newly found determination. We can realign ourselves that we will look toward God for answers in our lives and that his blessings come as a result of our submission and devotion.