The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives power to our witness and brings forth the fruit of Christ’s character in the life. Paul speaks of this when he writes;
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Corinthians 3:18
God’s glory is His character, (Exodus 33:18-19). Paul states here that the believer will be growing in Christ’s character, “from glory to glory,” by the Spirit of the Lord that dwells in him.
The infilling of the Spirit of God will “make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever”, (Hebrews 13:21).
Ellen White reaffirms the development of character the recipient of the Spirit’s infilling receives when she writes;
“When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace takes the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven.” Desire of Ages, p.173
We Can Grieve the Spirit
There are things we can do that will grieve the Spirit, (Ephesians 4:30). If we do not daily seek Him, and cooperate in following where He leads us His power will wane and our Christian experience will weaken.
God doesn’t force. When we receive the baptism of the Spirit He will have a greater impact in our life. We will feel His promptings more strongly. The Spirit will be daily putting the desire in our heart to obey God. He will call us to study God’s Word and pray more. The Spirit will cause us to begin loving righteousness and hate sin. However, we are always free to disregard His promptings. When we do this we begin the process of “grieving” or “quenching” the Spirit. Paul gives very practical advice in many sections of Scripture on how to avoid doing this. The practical counsels Paul gives to the believer on living the Christian life are aimed at helping us maintain the fullness of the Spirit in our life. Two examples of such counsel are found in Ephesians 4:25-32 and 1Thessalonians 5:14-19.
Paul knew that the Spirit of God dwelling in the believer would be prompting him to do the things listed in these verses. If we refuse to yield to His prompting we will be in danger of “grieving” and “quenching” the Spirit.
If you find that you have grieved the Spirit don’t get discouraged. Instead, ask God to forgive you, (1John 1:9), and He will. Then ask God to fill you anew with His Spirit and He will, (Luke 11:13). Ask Him in faith and you will receive, (Galatians 3:14).
David knew God’s mercy. He had committed the sins of adultery and murder. He had walked away from the prompting of God’s Spirit in his life when he committed these terrible acts. Yet when he was convicted of his sin by the Spirit he turned to God in prayer, (Psalm 51). Note especially these words:
“Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:9-12
When we find that we have been slipping away from God we must not let another moment go by without confessing our sin, accepting God’s forgiveness and claiming the promise of the renewing of the Spirit in our life as David did. Then we will be once again strengthened in the “inner” man to be victorious over Satan, (Ephesians 3:16-19).
We Must Experience the Early Rain to Receive the Latter Rain of the Spirit
It is time for the “latter rain” to fall. If we do not experience the infilling of the Spirit, which is the “early rain” (Joel 2:23), we will not be prepared to receive and participate in the work of the latter rain. I believe God is moving among His people today and leading them into this wonderful experience.
If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit don’t delay another day. His reception should be first and foremost in our lives. For this Gift will bring all other gifts to us. The Spirit’s infilling will change our lethargy to excitement, our weakness to strength, and our witness will be with a power not seen since the day of Pentecost.