READ: Judges 13-16, Psalm 77, John 9, Galatians 4
Often our theoretical knowledge of God laps our experience. This seems to be particularly true with God the Spirit. Often our heads become stumbling blocks to our hearts. We cognitively admit that the Holy Spirit is a person in the triune godhead, but we live as functional binitarians. Comfortable with Father and Son, we are not quite sure how to interact with the Spirit beyond perfunctory levels. Galatians 4:6 reveals that God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (by which we cry, “Abba, Father”). It is the Spirit of Jesus in me (the divine Son) who calls out to the divine Father that He send the divine Spirit. All three persons of the trinity work together, indivisibly, to fill God’s children with God’s Spirit.
The tragedy is that, like Sampson (Judges 16:20), we often do not know that the Lord has departed from us. Samson had the Spirit move upon him as a lad (13:25), the Spirit came mightily upon him and he tore a lion apart (14:6), the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he killed 30 people (14:19), the Philistines come against him and the Spirit rises up within him and he slays 1,000 men (15:14). If it is unfortunate to never walk in the fullness of the Spirit, it is tragic to have the Spirit come mightily upon you and then lose that empowerment due to your own poor choices and associations. Samson experienced the power of the Spirit working through him, then he grieved the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit departed without Samson realizing it.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is based on the concept of subsequence. Those who believe the only work of the Spirit occurs at salvation and those who believe that the work of the Spirit culminates in Spirit baptism share the same error. Both limit the work of the Spirit.
The work of the Spirit is “already and more.” Yes, the Spirit indwells us at salvation. Yes, the Spirit overshadows us and fills us and empowers us. Yes, this filling of the Spirit is to be repeated and repeated and repeated. Yes, we can grieve the Spirit and have God’s power removed from us, and yes, this can happen without us realizing it.
It is the presence of Jesus (Psalm 77:13) that is my answer – not facts. My answers do not come from information or facts, but from the person of Jesus. When Jesus (who is Truth) is present, I AM ANSWERED! Similarly, it is the presence of Jesus that is my strength. When I am devoted to the presence of Jesus and seeking HIM, His strength comes upon me through His spirit. If I violate His private, intimate, exclusive terms as Samson did, I grieve His Spirit and the Spirit’s power is lifted from me. While we are never outside His love, we can lose His trust and consequently His power.
“Oh, Jesus! Knowing we do not deserve anything, knowing you want intimacy, knowing we must approach you in faith, longing to be overshadowed by you…would you strengthen us one more time (Judges 16:28)? Would you fill us with your mighty Spirit one more time? Whatever in me it is that hinders or grieves your Spirit it, would you expose it, would you help me hate it, would you remove from me at any cost what restricts the flowing of your Spirit through me? Help me, Holy Spirit, to confess and forsake what grieves you. Get the ‘I’ out of me, that the ‘Thee’ may rise. Amen.”