Phone plans. 

Such a confusing array of options! They get more confusing as technology improves. Every few weeks more choices clamor for a decision: internet or not, camera, memory, texting, rollover minutes, roaming...

I was in England once and when it came time to pay for our fast food, we held out a handful of what looked like play money and let the clerk take what she needed! I feel the same way when I try to understand the latest options in technology.

If all you want is a phone on which you can give and receive calls (good luck with that!) your options come down to two: pay as you go or buy a monthly plan that allows you unlimited access. Most people discover that paying as you go is not the way to go. With an unlimited plan, you can call all you like 24/7 without worrying about whether your bill is getting too high.

The Holy Spirit works a little like that. Many Christians, upon receiving the Holy Spirit when they are saved, believe that is all there is. When they face times of crisis or spiritual battle, they call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to receive strength to overcome, sortof like paying as you go. But the rest of the time, they struggle through the Christian life in their own strength. They rely upon their knowledge of right and wrong to resist temptation. They determine to be faithful to the "Christian disciplines" of Bible reading, prayer, and worship--whether they want to or not. They plug into the Holy Spirit on an "as-needed" basis. The result is often limited effectiveness, weak worship, and fleshly attempts to serve the Lord.

What is shamefully overlooked in many Christian circles is the Biblical truth that God offers so much more to the seeking heart. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matt. 3:11) It is that baptism in the Holy Spirit that turbo-charges the Christian life.

Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is like choosing the unlimited phone plan. The Holy Spirit of God is the third person of the Trinity, but He is often overlooked or treated more like a "God Fog." Jesus  desires to baptize us with Him, to so immerse us in his presence that we gladly let SELF drown. This baptism is usually a second experience that follows salvation and occurs when a seeking heart sheds fleshly interests and wants more and more of God. A. W. Tozer said, "None of the persons in the Bible and none that I can find in Church history or biography was ever filled with the Holy Spirit who didn't know when he was filled."

R. A. Torrey, a contemporary of D. L. Moody and a great evangelist of the 1800's, said, "...it is one thing to be born again, and something further, something additional, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit." He states also in his book The Holy Spirit: Who He Is and What He Does that when he received this baptism, "the result was a transformed life and a transformed ministry."

D. L. Moody described his experience as "waves of liquid love" that came pouring through his spirit and from then on, his ministry took on new power and thousands were saved. Sadly, this is a doctrine that has been stripped from orthodox Christianity and as a result, the church of today has very little power to accomplish what God has left us here to do. 

Too often, the church has become a self-absorbed, 
inward-focused group of legalists or grace-abusers. 
This is what happens to Christianity 
when it separates itself from
the power of the Holy Spirit.

I can attest to the fact that without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, my attempts to please God and live righteously were done in my own human strength. There was no joy, peace, or power in my service. Most of what I did for God was done out of duty and mental determination. But since Jesus Himself baptized me with his Holy Spirit, my life has never been the same. Instantly everything changed and has never gone back. I would not return to that old Lea Ann for all the gold in the world.

Are you using the Holy Spirit like a pay-per-minute phone plan? 
Do you often wonder why your Christian service lacks joy and zeal?

It could be that you need the baptism Jesus came to give you. 
Prepare your heart, offer up your will, and then ask him for it.

For a helpful illustration of this concept, see this post.
.



No comments: