How You Can Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
Why Not? Reason 2: Unbelief
Doubting God's character and fearing the unknown are also obstacles.
Lack of knowledge is not the only reason that Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Many of them basically do not believe in God's trustworthiness and are afraid to relinquish the control of their lives to the Holy Spirit for fear that God will require the impossible from them -- that He will change their plans, ask them to give away their wealth, take all the fun from their lives, make them endure tragedies, or something similar.
Some Fear What God Will Do
An outstanding young minister, a seminary honor graduate, once told me, "I have never surrendered my life to Christ because I have been afraid of what He will do to me." Then he told me how, years before, he had had a premonition that, if he were to commit his life to Christ, his parents would be killed in a tragic accident. He was afraid to say "Yes" to God for fear his parents would lose their lives -- God's test for him to determine the genuineness of his commitment.
Now does that sound like a loving Father? Who do you think put that idea into his mind? Certainly not God. It was Satan saying, as he said to Adam and Eve centuries ago, "You can't trust God." But I say you can trust God! He loves you and is worthy of your trust.
Suppose your child were to say to you, "Daddy, Mommy, I love you and have decided that I will do anything you want me to do from now on as long I we live." What would be your response?
If you were to respond to your child's expression of trust in you as many believe God will respond when they surrender their lives to Him, you would grab your child by the shoulders, glare at them sternly and say, "I have just been waiting for this. I am going to make you regret this decision for as long as you live. I am going to take away everything you like and make you do what you hate. I am committed to making your life miserable."
Of course you would not respond like that to your child's trust in you. I expect, instead, you would put your arms around your little child and say, "I love you, too, and I deeply appreciate this expression of your love for me. It is the greatest gift which you could give me."
God has proven over and over again that He is a loving God. He is worthy of your trust. Jesus assures you, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"
Others are Afraid of What God Might Require of Them
Many people come to me for counsel concerning God's will for their lives. Often they are fearful of what God will ask them to do. Usually I ask them, "Do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that He has a wonderful plan for your life? Does He have the power to guide and bless your life if you place your trust in Him?"
As a rule, the answers are in the affirmative. I then ask them, "Are you willing to trust Him right now to direct and empower you to live a holy life and to be a fruitful witness for Christ?" By this time most of them are ready to say "Yes" to Him without reservation. They have begun to recognize that their feelings of doubt have been placed there by the enemy of their souls.
When you give your life to Christ, you need not worry about what is going to happen to you. Maybe you are afraid that He will take away your pleasures, cause you to leave your business or profession, take away your wealth, or terminate a friendship or love affair. You may fear that He will send you, as a missionary, to some remote part of the world where you will lose your life for Him.
He may indeed ask you to do one or more of these things, and again He may not. If He does, you will rejoice in the privilege, for God always blesses those who trust and obey Him. The happiest people I meet are not those who have all the best of what this world has to offer -- or those who have achieved great success in their professions -- or those who are in great positions of power and influence. The happiest people I meet are those who have learned to totally trust and obey God in their lives no matter their circumstances.
You can trust God. If He leads you to give up anything, He will give you more of His blessing in return than you will ever receive apart from His grace. God alone is worthy of your trust. I invite you to come freely to Christ and say, "Lord, here I am. Take my life, and use me for Your glory."
As God reminds us in 1 John 4:18, "We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us, and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us." The word of God and the experiences of multitudes through the centuries give unqualified assurance that you can trust God with your life, your all.
Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Be Filled With The Holy Spirit, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.