Today's Foundations Devotionals: The Holy Spirit is not a dictator

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Memory verse:

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

(1 Corinthians 14:1)

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Two weeks ago, we considered the practical steps of faith and obedience by which a person may receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Leading on from that is a further practical question: Why is the baptism in the Holy Spirit given?

Or, to put it another way, what results does God desire to produce in the life of the believer through baptising him in the Holy Spirit?

Before giving a scriptural answer to this question, however, it is first necessary to clear up common misunderstandings which often trouble

people who have newly received the baptism in the Spirit and which thus prevent them from receiving the full benefits and blessings God intended for them through this experience.

The first point which needs to be emphasised is that, in the life of the believer, the Holy Spirit never plays the role of a dictator.

When Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He spoke of Him in terms such as Helper, Comforter, Guide or Teacher.

The Holy Spirit always keeps Himself within these limits. He never usurps the will or the personality of the believer. He never compels the believer to

do anything against the believer’s own will or choice. The Holy Spirit is also called “the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29).

He is far too gracious to impose Himself upon the believer or to force His way into any area of the believer’s personality where He is not

received as a welcome guest. Paul emphasises the freedom that proceeds from the Holy Spirit.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [freedom] (2 Cor. 3:17).

Paul contrasts this freedom of the Spirit-baptised Christian believer with the bondage of Israel to the law of Moses, and he reminds Christians:

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage [slavery] again to fear (Rom. 8:15).

It follows, therefore, that the extent to which the Holy Spirit will control and direct the believer is the extent to which the believer will voluntarily

yield to the Holy Spirit and accept His control and direction. John the Baptist says:

For God does not give the Spirit by measure (John 3:34).

The measure is not in God’s giving; the measure is in our receiving. We may have as much of the Holy Spirit as we are willing to receive.

But in order to receive Him, we must voluntarily yield to Him and accept His control. He will never force us to do anything against our own will.

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Prayer:

Thank You Holy Spirit for never forcing me, that You always work with

grace and love ... Please help me to grow in the fullness that You want

to give me in experiencing unity with You and experiencing and

practicing the spiritual gifts that You want to give me, to build up the

Church. Amen.

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