I thought I’d take a few moments to share some of the the things I’ve learned about the fullness of the Spirit. Let it be known from the onset that I am no expert, I only testify to what I know, have tested and have experienced. There are many terms thrown around for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Terms are very important, but I have found that very often people use terms interchangeably on this topic: the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Anointing of the Holy Spirit, Second Blessing. I’m not going to theologically argue for or against anyone of those terms here. The gift of the Holy Spirit is indeed a sovereign gift given of God. The filling of the Spirit is the means by which God empowers his children with gifts for his glory, the edification of believers and as a means to reach the lost. Some giftings are more discreet, others quite public such as miracles, signs and wonders. The Fullness of the Spirit can give believers supernatural boldness, power, words of irrefutable wisdom, insight and knowledge, prophecy, visions and other phenomena beyond any ordinary human’s ability. Why? For God’s glory alone. Paris Riedhead once described why many people err in their desire for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He said many people who want the Holy Spirit’s fullness “are like a man that pulls up to a gas station in their cadillac and tells the attendant, ‘Fill’er up bud with the highest octane you got!’ They want power for their beautiful programs.” They want extra blessings to do more with. They sense a lack, and rightly so, but they want to use God as a means to an end. Even under the guise of “ministry” or “spirituality” their real couched motive is to use God. But God will not share his glory with any man. It is not what you are going to get out of God, it is what He is going to get out of you! Paris goes on to describe what it should look like: “You come to the filling station, you get out of the car, take your keys go round to the trunk, unlock the trunk, give God the keys, get in, slam the lid…then you whisper through the key-hole, ‘Look, Lord, you fill it up with whatever you want and you drive and wherever you take me I will go and I will glorify you.'” Do you see the difference?
Let me refer you to L.E. Maxwell in a now out of print gem of booklet called “The Holy Spirit in Missions.”
“In 2 Kings 2:12-14 there is a beautiful picture of “the how” of receiving the power of the Spirit. When Elijah’s mantle fell from the ascending prophet, Elisha “took hold of his clothes, and rent them in two pieces. What need had he of them any more? He was to be clothed in the mantle of another- with a double portion of his Spirit. All his own clothing had to go… All our own good resolutions must go to make room for the “power from on high”; all self-effort, all strength of will and purpose; yea, and all our comeliness and righteousness- what are these but “filthy rags”! Let us tear them off and cast them from us.
Having rent his own garments asunder, Elisha “took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” Note that “he took the mantle of Elijah.” He, actively and positively, laid hold of that mantle. He took it up. He appropriated it to himself. Likewise, our Heavenly Elijah(Jesus) has been swept up to glory. The mantle of His Spirit has been sent down from Heaven. It is ours to lay hold of this heavenly enduement, to take up and appropriate for ourselves this “clothing from on high.”(Luke 24:49)
Next, note that, with no emotion, with no surge of sensation, with no sense of any feeling of fullness, Elisha faced Jordan’s depths and acted upon the promised enduement of power. “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” he cried. Manifestly, he lacked any sensibility or consciousness of power. But he began to act at once in the obedience of faith. And God gives the Holy Ghost “to them that obey him.”(Acts 5:32) Elisha believed the word of the promise and began to act accordingly. “and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” Note again the order: He rent his own clothes into two pieces; he took up the mantle of Elijah; he laid hold of the promised Spirit by faith; he went forward trusting God to demonstrate Himself.
He who knows how to put faith into practice will prove God’s power. “He that believeth hath the witness in himself.”(1 John 5:10) The witness of the Spirit- In God’s way and in Gods’ time-follows believing. It is ours to reckon until God makes real. But most of us reverse the scriptural order. We read the verse, “He that hath the witness believeth.” But that is putting feelings and frames and phenomena ahead of facts and faith. To condition the believer upon any feeling, or inward witness, is to frustrate the whole principal of faith, and to foster and keep alive the principle of selfishness and self-will. Such a procedure is as fatal as it is unscriptural. Believing is the one and only thing that pleases God.”
Let me share with you my personal story of how God showed me what entering into the fullness of the Spirit is. I was visiting some dear missionary friends of mine on their mission station several years ago now in West Africa. Leading up to this time I had spent months seeking the fullness of the Spirit. During that season of my life I fasted and prayed like no other time. I knew they had something I did not, they had the fullness of the Spirit. It exuded from them. It even seemed to bring a palpable peace to the very atmosphere around their station. Because of this I went to visit them with the earnest desire for them to lay hands on me and pray for me that I would as it were “receive the Holy Spirit.” We set a time to meet for prayer in the afternoon. After lunch we all retired for a short siesta. As I lay my head down in the heat of the day, I remember praying, “Lord, I want truth, if there is something I am missing please show me.” I fell asleep. During that short nap I had a very vivid dream. I was standing outside a hut. For some reason(I don’t know why exactly)I urgently had to get inside the hut. I tried the door but it would not open. It was locked. Panic was setting in. I tugged harder. Then I heard a voice behind me say, “where is the key?” I remember glancing over my shoulder, but only seeing a figure in my peripheral vision. “I don’t have the key! I don’t have the key!” I exclaimed. Then the voice said, “The key is in your hand.” I looked down, and sure enough, there in my right hand was the key! I remember feeling excited and stupid all at the same time. I quickly put the key in the lock, the lock clicked open and I dashed in. That was it! I woke up. The meaning seemed instantly clear to me. The problem was not that I don’t have the Holy Spirit, it was that I had not reckoned by faith upon the promise. The key was in my hand. I simply did not place the key to the lock, because I did not believe. I prayed and asked God to confirm this when I went to the prayer time. I decided I would not share the dream, but wait and see if the Lord would confirm by the words of my Spirit filled friends. Sure enough, before we gathered in prayer, one of them said to me. “Don, it is highly possible that you have already received the Holy Spirit even without a clear initial ‘sign.” In other words, just because you haven’t seen anything does not negate the reality that Spirit of God is in you. I took this as the confirmation I was waiting for. They prayed over me and anointed me with oil. It was a beautiful time. It turned out to be for me a celebration of a new reality: It was time to walk by faith.
Folks, entering the fullness of the Spirit is more about the believer acknowledging the Spirit’s presence than it is about inviting Him in. He is already residing in us. We often do not recognize this because we have filled our lives with idols and junk and thereby stifled the Spirit of God. We know practically nothing of His fellowship with us! We interpret the lack of power, and the lack of experience to mean we have not received the Spirit. Question: Since when do we interpret the truth and works of God by our own experiences or lack of experiences? We take God at his word by faith and prove it by experience! The Spirit of God is a gentleman He will only fill up what we have emptied for His sake.(remember Elisha tore his own mantel first) Entering the fullness of the Spirit is more about surrendering the fullness of ourselves to Him by faith than about asking for His fullness. We are the roadblock, not Him. His fullness and presence will fill a “cleansed and consecrated temple”
What about you child of God? Where is the Key? The Key is in your hand…take it by faith, act on it by faith….Jesus said in Mark…”these signs will follow those who believe…”(Mark 16:17) The believing comes first, then the signs. Not the other way around. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”(Heb 11:6) It’s time to reckon upon this fact: God has promised the Holy Spirit to those who believe. The problem is not that God is withholding, it is that you are withholding! Make room, cleanse your heart and engage by faith! Next time you pray, next time to teach, next time you preach- cleanse your heart, make room and reckon upon the promise of the Spirit of God. If nothing “amazing” happens, still reckon! Keep reckoning! Raise up the mantel as Elisha did… raise that cloak up and strike the water! Take the Key that is given and unlock the door by faith…everything else will follow. Hey…its not always “whizz bang” off the start! It can be. It often is, but it’s always first by faith.
Questions? Comments? What have you learned on your journey?