Receive the Holy Spirit
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 2:38 (NIV)
If the Holy Spirit is so wonderful, why are most people not aware that they lack His presence? Even some early Christians didn’t know about the Holy Spirit. When Paul asked some disciples at Ephesus about receiving the Holy Spirit, they replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2) If we have no knowledge or experience of the Holy Spirit, we won’t know what we’re missing.
There’s a parallel with modern technology. People in New Testament times had no experience of mobile phones and so didn’t appreciate how useful they can be. They were only able to have a conversation with other people when in close proximity to them. In contrast, many people today would feel severely handicapped if the communication functionality of mobile phones were no longer available.
We need the Holy Spirit to function effectively as a human being and know God, so without His Spirit we find ways of compensating for this absence. There are human substitutes for trust in God, godly love, and more basic qualities such as courage and willpower. However, not only are they less effective than the real thing, but they stop us obtaining what they imitate. Jesus cautioned his disciples about seeking to impress other people. In Matthew 6:1 he said, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
There are many ways of gaining the respect of other people. Doing good may benefit others, but if our motivation is to bolster our self-esteem we will not obtain the real thing from God. Our attempts to mimic what we need only have a temporary effect, and so need to be repeated. When the basis for our sense of personal value is spiritual, we no longer have to waste so much energy trying to avoid feeling worthless.
Our behaviour geared to coping without aspects of the Holy Spirit stops us experiencing and appreciating just how wonderful and precious God’s divine nature is.
Dear God, we thank you that you want to share your divine nature with all mankind. Please gently start to show us the ways in which we attempt to use our own strength to manage without it.
Study by Melvin Hall
Worldwide Church of God Southampton
SOUTHAMPTON SO15 5RL
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