Ask the Holy Spirit
Posted by gradywalton
Having walked the planet for more than five decades, I’ve been exposed to a lot of unpleasant human behavior. Unfortunately I’ve also dished out my share of irksome behavior and dumped it on my fellow sojourners through this life. Thank God for his tender mercy. And yet I’m beginning to understand that many of us boomers have picked up quite a few persistent unhealthy foibles that we bring to our faith experience. Physical hurts, bitterness, anger, abuse, depression, complaining, selfishness, materialism, failed relationships, cynicism, pride . . . need I say more? We were “born again” when we became Christians, but what happened? It doesn’t seem like many of us know how to live in the Spirit consistently. If we can’t live it, how will unbelievers ever have a chance to believe it? And how will we find healing and peace? Yes, yes, I know human beings are complicated and flawed. What’s the solution?
All my Christian life I’ve heard the term “the fullness of the Holy Spirit” used to describe how we can experience the power of God in our lives. Frankly, it always seemed like an esoteric term that many Christians (me) were not experiencing. But something recently changed in me. I don’t know how to describe it except that I started to gradually let go of this life. Or maybe I should say I started to let go of MY life. It’s like getting into a swimming pool in early summer when the water is still a bit chilly. I’m one of those who prefer to gradually enter the water, going deeper in little increments until I’m completely up to my neck. I usually don’t like to jump in all at once. That’s how was with me and the Holy Spirit and God’s love. Now and then situations would arise during the day that triggered irritation or anxiety because things weren’t going according to my plan; that’s when I’d simply ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with God’s love. And it happened. There were no bright lights or prophetic visions, but the focus shifted away from me and onto others. In those moments when the focus shifted away from me, I felt . . . peace and contentment. I haven’t felt that good in a very long time. In those moments, my personality and essence do not disappear. Rather, I get the feeling of wellbeing that comes from God’s love. It’s an odd paradox: As my life becomes less self-consumed, I feel better about my life. Go figure! I think this is what is meant by dying to self so that Christ can take over. A pleasant side effect of allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me with God’s love is the ability to live completely in the present moment.
Anyhow, God is inside the heart and mind of each Christian. All we have to do is ask the Holy Spirit for God’s love to fill us and then we have to let go and stop flailing. Try it the next time trouble assaults you or you catch yourself reacting badly to a situation. God’s love is like a medicine for every hurt and imperfection. Don’t be afraid to go a little deeper with the Holy Spirit. It feels wonderful.
Oh, by the way, if your requests of the Holy Spirit seem to go unanswered, try asking God to begin the process of sanctification in your life. Sanctification is the process of becoming aware of sins and overcoming them with God’s power, not human effort. Sanctification is the way of living in the Spirit.