“DO I ALREADY HAVE ‘IT'”
“Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.” – Psalm 138:6
I remember the first time someone asked me, “are you spirit-filled”? I was like, ‘of course’. Then they tried to make me feel like I was not by describing a “baptism in the sprit” experience they had.
They made me feel like I didn’t “have it” … like the baptism was an “it” and you had to catch it … and I would start speaking in tongues when I “had it”.
I thought they were fools – and I still to this day disagree with that mindset.
However – my mindset wasn’t any better. Mine was probably worse.
BY FAR … the biggest theological mistake I have ever made in my life was limiting God to my personal theology. If I didn’t understand it in my mind/flesh – then I thought it wasn’t possible or even real. I simply was only open to God doing “in” me what I could understand.
That’s a pride and ignorance sandwich.
If you ever want to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led in life – then you have to have this fleshly approach to God sledgehammered. It has to go. It has to be shattered. God is not bound to my understanding and theology.
In other words – I just didn’t like trusting something that didn’t make sense.
It made me feel too vulnerable. It made me feel like putty.
It made me feel gullible.
It made me feel out of control.
I judged people who were “spiritual” as ungrounded ignorant quacks. I saw them as naïve.
Unfortunately – every critical judgment I made of them – became a HUGE barrier to my own personal experience.
Get this: I refused to embrace the Spirit of God working in my life – because I didn’t want people to think of ME the way I thought of others.
Oh – my – Lord … I was so prideful. I needed to change. I had to repent.
I needed my theology shattered. I needed to renounce EVERY judgment I ever made that limited God’s love and grace in my life.
I needed my life baptized in the Spirit of God.
DO I ALREADY “HAVE IT” – OR IS THERE MORE?
Fortunately – one day, I remember something like this.
I said to myself: “I already have the Spirit” …
Then I had a thought (which was the Spirit counseling me): “Jeff – YOU KNOW you know you don’t have the fullness of ME in your life. Don’t resist giving up control. Don’t fear looking weird or sounding naïve.”
This was not my own reasoning, this was God’s spirit – who was already IN me – guiding me, teaching me and giving me His understanding.
Then I my mind/flesh would say, “But all of those big ‘baptism in the Spirit’ experiences in the book of Acts were limited only to the Apostles and they were just one-time signs for those people.”
Then the Spirit would minister to me, saying: “who told you that?”
Then (I’m embarrassed by this) I would say something like, “Well, it’s basic hermeneutics/Biblical Interpretation rules. It’s pretty logical – there are only 4 examples of it happening and each time it was in the presence of one of the 12 apostles.”
Bottom line – my theology professors, childhood heroes, peers, and my own mindset landed me here.
Then the Spirit gently counseled me, “Why do you limit God to your own understanding, Jeff? You do this with many things in your life. Do you see the pattern of your mind? It is pride and unbelief, Jeff.
Your pride is grieving me and quenching all I have for you.
Your pride is keeping you stuck in sin and even shame. You have believed a lie, Jeff. You have stuck ME in a box called “Jeff’s Control and Understanding”. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He did not limit me to only working in the first century. You need to repent of this thinking and surrender all of your life to being filled completely by me.” (that’s a summary of what I remember).
Weeks later, I remember thinking out loud – murmuring under my breath – while sitting on the second row of a conference – “I’m no longer going to limit you Holy Spirit – whatever you want to do in me, I receive you. I want you to fill me.”
This time in my life was the BEGINNING of major breakthrough … it was the first major sledgehammer whack of God at shattering my pride. It was a shattering of my understanding. It was the first step in the death of my arrogance and intellect-only pursuit of God.
MY FRIEND, Is there pride in your life holding you back from receiving all the Holy Spirit has for you? The Bible is clear that when we humble ourselves, the Holy Spirit can do a greater work through us. Once we do, our lives will have the divine potential to truly glorify God and see great fruit.
Holy Spirit, please forgive me for any lies I’ve believed about You or what it looks like to receive you. I lay down my pride and desire to do things my own way. I invite You to come into my heart and change me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Acts 10-11 … read this and watch Peter’s mindset and established theology come unravelled when he sees experiences that contradict his theological preconceptions.