PART 2 THE CHRISTIAN’S DESIRE
Is There Any Thing That Inhibits Us from Being Filled with the Holy Spirit?
We have learned that the Christian’s desire should be to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
Just to remind us again, what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? To be filled with the Holy Spirit means that the spiritual qualities (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.) of the Holy Spirit are produced in us, and evidenced in our relationships with our fellow man. In order to experience these benefits of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit must be living inside of us.
Once we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us are we guaranteed to experience His filling all of the time? No. If not, then what is it that is preventing this from happening?
Do you remember the story about the Garden of Eden? The three main characters were Adam, Eve, and a serpent. Adam and Eve had a human nature, which was without sin. Scriptures state that God made man in His own image (consisting in knowledge, true holiness, and righteousness, being wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his actions14;free from sinful affections; original righteousness; to share in God’s nature, in His communicable attributes (life, personality, truth, wisdom, love, holiness, justice15) and likeness (to be a representative of God in his image).
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Adam and Eve were allowed to eat of every tree of the Garden except one. This prohibitive tree was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
Eve was deceived by the serpent to eat of this tree. She in turn persuaded her husband Adam to also eat of this tree. This decision resulted in the first committed sin. Adam and Eve were subsequently taken out from the Garden of Eden. Their human nature was now a sinful human nature, which was a nature that operated from self-direction, self-centeredness, and sinful desires. This sin nature would be passed on at birth to every person.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)
Man (mankind) is no longer made in the image of God, but in the image of self, in the image of Adam. Man (mankind) is no longer a representative of God’s image, but a representative of his own image (moral depravity).
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: (Genesis 5:3)
What is it that inhibits us from being filled with the Holy Spirit? It is our sin nature, the self-nature. This sin nature can sometimes be called the flesh. It can also be referred to as what the physical body wants or commands. The sin nature has innate forces resident in it called tendencies, affections, passions, propensities, or evil desires. When these forces reach out to find expression in the gratification of these desires, they are called lusts. These tendencies, propensities, passions, affections, or evil desires influence the mind or reason, from which proceed evil thoughts, which produce evil speech and actions.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)
Now that we are born again, having the Holy Spirit living inside of us with an assurance of going to heaven at physical death, God wants us to be conformed to the image of his Son. He wants us to be like his Son in the sense of thinking with divine viewpoint under the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit. The issue now is, will we allow Godly thoughts to be that which we are reflective of in our mind?
Many will say yes, as the Israelites said yes, when they set out with Moses after having been slaves in Egypt for 430 years, in order to get to the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, which God promised them for an inheritance. However, after a period of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years most of them, who initially set out from Egypt, never made it into the Promised Land. It was only the children of this condemned generation along with Joshua and Caleb, who were allowed to enter in.
Why didn’t most of them enter in? Because they continued to think contrary (constant murmuring and complaining) to God’s guidance (word) in the midst of the situations He placed before them. Think of it this way, those who are habitually dominated by the indwelling sinful nature will have their minds controlled by what their body wants, and those who are habitually controlled by the Spirit will live as the Spirit tells them to live. The mind that is controlled or dominated by the evil nature will experience all of the miseries, which are associated with sin. Likewise, the mind, which is submitted to the feelings and views of the Holy Spirit, will possess the life that God is, and will experience true bliss.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
While we will never be entirely free in this life from the evil desires of our flesh, we can experience victory over them by the Spirit’s help. Thus, the choice lies with each of us as to whether we are going to yield to the Holy Spirit or obey the evil nature.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.(Galatians 5:16-17)
The way in which one lives is determined by that on which one focuses their thou
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:… (Proverbs 23:7)
We are to put on the new man, the person who we are now in Christ. We are to learn how to think with the mind of Christ. What is the mind of Christ?
The mind of Christ is thinking with divine viewpoint as revealed in the scriptures, the viewpoint of which is contained in some parts of the Gospels, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation. As we learn to think differently toward our self, others, and outward circumstances, the rich and full experience of God’s love will be realized in our life. Thinking differently can also be referred to as being renewed in knowledge after the image (divine nature) of him that created us, which is another way of saying that this is the means of restoring the divine image (nature) to our soul.
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As you spend time meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it, He will gradually make your mind more spiritual.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
If we sin mentally, verbally, or overtly, we should confess known sin to God the Father and/or to whomever we have committed our offense against, if any.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
After which, we should replace human viewpoint thinking with divine viewpoint thinking as it pertains to that particular area of our life. We are to put off the old ways of thinking and put on the new ways of thinking. If we are consistent in doing so, soon those habitual thoughts which have led to in some cases habitual sinful actions, such as committing adultery, fornication, intoxication, drug abuse, slander, extortion (obtaining money by the abuse of one’s office), homosexuality, malice (the eagerness to harm another), cheating, lying, pedophilia, rape, fraud (trickery perpetrated for profit) etc., will be interrupted, and the obedient child of God will be characterized, no longer by any trait or quality of his own personality, but merely as the subject of the work of divine love16.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)
Will you choose to allow God to change how you think? If you will, then your life will evidence the miraculous changes that have taken place within, just like those, who God has written about in his most holy scriptures. In the next chapter, we are going to take a look at some people whose lives have been transformed from the inside out.
15Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament, 2000, 22 Feb. 2014˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
16Vincent’s New Testament Word Studies Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 22 Feb. 2014 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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