The Holy Spirit and the Christian
The Holy Spirit in the Christian life is as necessary as the Lord Jesus being received in a life. The Holy Spirit is not an addition or an extra, but a necessity. We say we believe that, but hear so little about Him. I think many times we are like the disciples of John in Acts 19:1-3. When asked by Paul, “… Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” (verse 2). They did not mean they were unaware of His existence, but they were untaught about the place He was to have in their lives. I think we, like them, know of the Holy Spirit’s existence as part of the Trinity, but does He exist as God in your life? May I give you a little self-test? “Where does the Holy Spirit fit into your Christian life?”
A Swept and Garnished Life
I believed for a long time that the end goal of preaching was to bring men to a place of surrender and I would see good people at the altar making a meaningful surrender to their Lord and Savior. But to my confusion, their surrender was short lived and soon they were back at the altar re-surrendering. In some cases, they accepted their defeat as final and, in other instances, they would quit the church.
An illustration that may be partially applicable would be in Luke 11:24-26. We are told of a man who cleaned out his heart of an evil spirit, only to find that the evil spirit had returned. Finding the house he left swept and garnished, he re-entered, bringing with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and the last state of the man is worse than the first.
The Filling of the Holy Spirit
The obvious teaching is that surrender is not enough and separation is not enough. Both are necessary, but another step is needed. We not only need to be surrendered, but surrender must be followed by the filling of the Holy Spirit of God or our last state can be worse than our first. I think the reason the enemy re-enters is because we are not strong enough to keep clean what we have swept and garnished. The blessed Holy Spirit of God is stronger than our strongest enemy.
So our end goal is not surrender, but surrender is a necessary process in becoming filled with the Spirit.