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Posts Tagged ‘obstacles’

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“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  2Pet 3:9 NKJV

“For the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  Acts 2:39 NKJV

“For there is no partiality with God.”  Rom 2:11 NKJV

Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for all, even me?  I believe it is for all.  That is the case I make today.

Now there is a difference between it being established for all, and your not having received it yet… so we must clarify.

Jesus made an atoning sacrifice on the Cross for all mankind, but will all receive it?  His desire is that none should perish, but all come to repentance. And there is the rub.  While I may desire to know Christ as Savior, until I am willing to come to Him in repentance… I can’t fully receive His salvation.

Likewise, healing, which is by His stripes which He took for our chastisement and our peace, is available to all who come to Him, but will all receive? Unfortunately no…

The Lord’s provision and promise and word are perfect.  But we also have a lot to do with whether we receive or not.  Often because we become our own worst enemies…

It is for you, He is for you

In the Scriptures above we can see some very important truths about God:

-  He desires that none go without (salvation, healing, blessing, baptism) but to receive you must be willing to relinquish, to trust, and to change your mind (repent).

-  His promise is for all that He will call

-  He regards no one as above or better than another – His promises are equally available to all, yet all must be willing to submit to His terms… meet His conditions so to speak.

Where problems occur

Your Expectation:

Remember the story in 2 Kings where Naaman a military commander had leprosy and through a Syrian housemaid was commanded by Elisha to dip seven times in the river Jordan and he would be healed.  Naaman became angry because Elisha didn’t come and deliver this word to him directly. He was offended that he had to dip in the dirty Jordan.  Nothing was the way he wanted. But wise council was given to him that finally appealed to his reason. He did it and was healed.

In the same way, our expectation of where, and when, and how, and all the “non-essential details’ of how I might receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit can impact my ability to receive.  My wondering about my gifts, how the Holy Spirit might use me, my intransigence about certain things (can’t do this in public, not gonna speak in that tongues nonsense, not gonna be embarrassed, can only have hands laid on by this one person)…. on and on and on… 

These kind of restrictions are problematic not so much because the Lord is not big enough to accommodate them all, but rather it is because my whole focus is wrong from the get-go.  My focus is on me, what I want, what I am willing to release to the Lord.  If I have trouble not trying to control the external aspects of the situation, it is very likely I am equally controlling and locked up about the big things in actually receiving the baptism, and that fundamentally my focus is wrong. My reasons for wanting this must be correct, my spirit must be submitted and trusting and in faith, and my eyes on Him.

Your Purity

Think of this, it was after Haaman dipped seven times in the Jordan river that healing manifested. He was being cleansed by his obedience to Elisha’s instruction. Our obedience to what the Lord says is the way we demonstrate our love and devotion to Him.  It is His way, not my way that is important.

We don’t all come to desiring the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the same level of devotion, proper motivation, or cleanliness.  Watchman Nee talks about the delay in receiving the Baptism as a result of needing a greater work of the Holy Spirit in applying the Atonement of the Cross to our hearts and thinking.  Like the sorcerer, Simon, in Acts 8, what he wanted was to gain the power for his own success and reputation.  He was soundly rebuked for this.

When our hearts and minds are not in sync with the Lord’s, it means the Holy Spirit will need to bring us to a place where there is agreement, and that may take time.

Erroneous Doctrine:

Some of us come to the Lord in a denomination that has particular biases about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that can block our ability to receive until truth of the word has changed our thinking.  This was me.

I grew up in a denomination that believed the gifts and the work of the Holy Spirit ceased with the Acts church.  It took me a year of discipleship and study to undo bad doctrine, and to bring my heart into proper hunger.  During this study time, my desire changed from focusing on the Baptism and what it would bring, to instead wanting all of the Lord and closeness to Him that I could receive.

And truly, it took a year of study to no longer hear the theme song from “Twilight Zone,” any time I thought about receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I am pretty certain that for a long time I was the Poster Child Face for difficult candidates pursuing the Baptism.  I was one stamped, “Extra Grace Required (EGR).” Smile

FEAR

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the performance fear that rises up when we consider needing to speak in tongues.  That focus on ourselves generated much fear and pressure of needing to “perform, pass the test,” whatever, that truly can stop everything in its tracks. During this time you can “try your best”, grit your teeth, try to push out fruit the best you can, all to no avail.  I have seen people get frustrated and rather than ever try again, the choose to believe this was never for them from the beginning. This is the saddest thing of all. And not what the Lord would have happen.

The remedy again is to lose sight of yourself, and be consumed in Him. Knowing Him, worshipping Him, focused on Him, desiring to please Him. Leave it all in His hands. See only Him! Believe that it has your name on it (which it does) and is a gift waiting on you to open. Forget fear, forget performance, let praise arise in your heart for all that He is and all that He has done! Be free!

Then see yourself putting your mouth and your speech into His hands. Your expression, your very jaw, released into His service. Give it and all of yourself to Him! It will come.  Like an old water pump that must be primed over and over before the water pours forth, give praise and keep on praising in faith. Do not look at yourself, or listen to yourself! it is the surest way to shut it all down. Keep on!  It’s there!

The Bottom Line: Why the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for All

So we’ve looked at a few obstacles to people receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but probably what is most important in receiving is your perspective on the truth.

There are a couple really important issues about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that should be paramount, but often get relegated to a side issue.

– The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is necessary for you to be able to become the witness in your life and walk that the Lord desires.  Without it, you lack power to have a significant impact as a witness of Jesus.

– The Baptism is required to receive your own prayer language in the Holy Spirit by which you pray and build yourself up in your most holy faith.  Without this prayer language to build you up you will not be strengthened or have the opening into the gifts of the Holy Spirit by which you strengthen others in the faith.

-  The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a prerequisite to doing greater works that Jesus would have us do because He goes to the Father… thus our walk is small, and lacking in fruit and power for the kingdom of God. Wonder working miracles, miraculous faith, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, works of healings, …. these all require me first to be built up in my most holy faith that I can then operate with the character of Christ in the operation of these gifts of the Holy Spirit.

So, does Jesus only want certain people strengthened? Does He only want certain people gifted to be His witness or to operate in the Spirit? The word is clear He is no respecter of persons.  So He doesn’t want one to be edified (Jude 20) and not another.

We have made the Baptism of the Holy Spirit such a hotbed of contention, that all focuses on ourselves, our gifts, our ministry, that we have nearly made it devoid of the selfless life of Christ that beats at the heart of it all!

We have allowed the enemy to bring a focus on the tongue and its language, and bring a climate of performance fear around the whole thing.  Thus, people get frustrated that they haven’t received, but when the focus is in fear, and not faith, when it is on me, and not Him… we are sure to fail.

It is time for the church to arise and remember the words of the Lord in John 12:24-26

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  He who loves his life, will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.  If anyone serves Me, Him My Father will honor.”

We must die to our selves and our agendas and preferences.

We must lose our lives even the focus and captivation to it (even “selfies” that stir it up!)

Only then can we live for Christ.

Only then can we reproduce like grain that falls to the ground, be a witness, and yield a great crop of strong believers for His glory!

There is a need to return to the truth of the word concerning all things but especially this topic, that we will become the church, the Bride, that Christ is calling to come alongside His work, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Maranatha

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