A jokester once commented, "My Smartphone is very smart! It disappeared the other day. But, I traced it down. It was at Harvard." .....Well, I thought that was somewhat humorous. I might add (and this isn't designed to be funny), my smartphone is also extremely sensitive! There's an inside adjustment that allows me to make it more or less sensitive to my touch on the screen. With regard to a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit, I sometimes wish I had a button on the back of my ear that would make me more impressible to the presence of the Holy Spirit within me.
The Bible teaches that when sinners are "born again" (saved) they receive the Holy Spirit. Paul said, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And, very clearly, he again declares, "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans 8:9).
The fact being established, the question remains, how can this indwelling person, the third person of the trinity, be uppermost in my thoughts? How can He be a chief controller of my life? How can the Holy Spirit fill me and make the perfections of Jesus seen in me? I very much would like my life to be abundant in what the Bible calls the "fruit of the Spirit." The Word says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:22-24). Certainly, if this fruit hangs on the boughs of my life Jesus Christ will be most obvious to those looking on. The aggregate of these nine segments of Holy Spirit-wrought-fruit equals the very life of Jesus.
Most believers in Jesus Christ deeply desire to know God better and experience increased sensitivity to Him. With the Apostle Paul they may well say, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
That I may be like Jesus
To this I fervently aspire
That I may be like Jesus
I want my heart His throne to be
So that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me
I want to be like Jesus.”
I say the Holy Spirit Himself quietly and deeply motivates the Christian to remember His presence within and to yield to His presence and sanctifying work. But, while the Spirit so urges us, we ourselves bear a responsibility to take an initiative in recognizing and wanting that potential. Twice in the following passage the believer is instructed to "walk in the Spirit." The word "walk" occurs at the beginning of the paragraph and again at the end. But a different word is used in each occurrence. The first word "walk" means to "walk about." That is, in every aspect of life make the Holy Spirit paramount. As the passage concludes, the word "walk" occurs again. This word in the Greek language is a more militaristic one. It has to do with order and intentional planning. Here's the Word of God:
"But I say, WALK (walk about in all of life) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also WALK (in a militaristic and disciplined way) by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16-25)
Now, in light of this New Testament teaching let us further note A MOST INTERESTING OLD TESTAMENT ACCOUNT wherein ancient Israel and her relation to the Holy Spirit unfolds:
Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put HIS HOLY SPIRIT in the midst of them, Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, Who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; As the cattle which go down into the valley,
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD gave them rest. So You led Your people, To make for Yourself a glorious name” (Isaiah 63:10-14, underlinings mine).
Israel “rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit.” As a result they lost power and effectiveness for God, let alone intimacy with Him and special care by Him. God ever cares for His own, even when they disappoint Him. But there exists a “special love and care” which all believers may experience and should cherish. We might call it Special Care Plus..
Isaiah asked, “Where is He who put HIS HOLY SPIRIT in the midst of them, Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, Who led them through the depths?”
God never forsakes His true people! His Covenant with Israel of old is irrevocable. In Psalm 89 God said concerning David: “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful. Selah” (Psalms 89:30-37).
His love for the Church is likewise inviolable. He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6).
That being said, when God’s people persist in sinning “it may appear” as if God has abandoned His own. Hence, in the Christians service a void of power becomes obvious and any lasting impact missing. Fruitlessness is experienced. The efforts of Christian leaders and preachers seem empty and routine. A kind of boredom sets in. Everything seems routine. When such is the case Christians must get on their knees, confess sins, cry out to God in repentance and seek a re-manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s fullness and power. The Holy Spirit is ever present but has been grieved and quenched.
Once in London a social gathering of high society was in progress. Present was a well-known actor. After some time an elderly and much esteemed minister asked the performer if he would give a recitation. A strange look passed over the great actor’s face. He paused for a moment, and then said, “I can, and I will upon one condition; and that is that after I have recited it, you, my friend, will do the same.” Impressively the actor began the Psalm. His voice and his intonation were perfect. He held his audience spellbound; and as he finished a great burst of applause broke from the guests. Then, as it died away, the aged minister arose and began to recite. His voice was not remarkable; his intonation was not faultless, but when he finished, no sound of applause broke the silence, but there was not a dry eye in the room, and many heads and hearts were bowed in reverential awe. The great actor rose to his feet again. His voice shook with uncontrollable emotion as he laid his hand upon the shoulder of the aged minister and said to the audience, “I have reached your eyes and ears, my friends, but this man has reached your hearts. The difference is just this: I know the 23rd Psalm but he knows the Shepherd.”
Today’s Church is truly Laodicean in its all too frequent action-packed but power-lacking, struggling and anemic mode of existence (Revelation 3:14ff). Christian leaders seem ever to plan yet another “how to” seminar trying somehow to gain more effectiveness and/or numbers. To the Laodicean Church and to so many in today’s Church, surely Jesus says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (vomit) you out of My mouth.” The Church had “deeds” but apparently functioned in a hum-drum, compromising and business-as-usual fashion. In our day it seems this same malady prevails in too many circles. Does it not behoove us to fall on our knees, confess our sins and this rather common and mere methodological approach to His work, begging for forgiveness and a reinstatement of the fullness of the Holy Spirit and power? When self-oriented living and ministry are replaced by Spirit controlled living and service for God, we just may know again the deep effect of the godly old minister who movingly impacted his listeners.