Study 9 THE HINDRANCES TO A SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Ephesians 5:1-33)
Our study of this searching theme places a heavy responsibility on us all. It is easy for the preacher or teacher to ‘traffic in unfelt truth’; it is equally easy for us to listen to the Word and not do what it says (James 1:22-23). We need to pray that we may understand the truth of God and put it into action in our lives.
IF WE ARE NOT FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE FAULT IS NEVER ON GOD’S SIDE – IT IS ALWAYS ON MAN’S SIDE.
God is more willing to give than we are to receive. He has given the Holy Spirit, and if we are not filled with the Holy Spirit it is due to some form of unwillingness on our side. This may be as follows:-
1. It may be due to an unwillingness on our part to acknowledge that we need His infilling.
How proud and carnal the human heart is! If only we would humble ourselves before God and confess that we lack this infilling, and that we must obey His command to be filled with His Spirit, then the biggest obstacle to this life of abundant usefulness would be swept away. It IS humbling for a preacher, a leader in Christian work, a Christian of many years’ standing, to confess his need for the Spirit’s infilling, and yet where there is true humility and honest confession what victory is assured!
Should we not get alone with the Lord, now, and settle this matter before Him, by making a full confession of our need?
2. It may be due to an unwillingness on our part to accept the implications which go with His infilling.
Before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit we must be the kind of people whom God can fill with His Spirit. We must be willing to be HOLY. We must be willing to live a life of SEPARATION from the world; not isolation but separation from everything upon which we are unable to pray His blessing. The filling of the Holy Spirit is God’s seal of His approval upon the life that is pleasing to Him. If we are not willing to forsake things, places and habits that are displeasing to Him, how can He give us His seal of approval? Look up Exodus 30:31-32. We must be willing to be His WITNESSES (Acts 1:8); to OBEY Him (Acts 5:32); and to be CRUCIFIED, DEAD and BURIED – with self on the cross and Christ on the throne (Galatians 2:20).
Are we willing? Should we not get alone with the Lord now, and resolve this matter?
3. It may be due to an unwillingness on our part to abandon the sins which prevent His infilling.
We must be willing not only to separate ourselves from sin, but to rid ourselves of sin. We can be worldly without ever entering a place of worldliness! We need to cleanse ourselves from all contamination of the body AND SPIRIT – look up 2 Corinthians 7:1 – and we are to do this cleansing ourselves – by deliberately removing from our lives those things that are displeasing to the Lord and unclean in His sight, whether they are gross sins (of the flesh) or hidden sins (of the spirit).
It is the unholy spirits that hinder the Holy Spirit from filling us. Notice some of these unholy spirits:-
- The Prayerless spirit (Mark 9:29)
- The Immature spirit (Mark 9:32)
- The Self-seeking spirit (Mark 9:34)
- The Sectarian spirit (Mark 9:38)
- The Lazy spirit (Luke 9:32)
- The Foolish spirit (Luke 9:33)
- The Intolerant spirit (Luke 9:54)
- The Selfish spirit (Luke 9:59)
Are some of these unholy spirits filling us? If so, let us seek grace to face them and be cleansed from them (1 John 1:9).
4. It may be due to an unwillingness on our part to accept by faith the promise which secures His infilling.
Look up Galatians 3:14. When we have acknowledged our need, accepted the implications and abandoned the sins which hinder the Spirit-filled life, then we must ASK the Lord to fill us with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), and ACCEPT HIS INFILLING BY FAITH (1 John 5:14-15). Just as at our conversion we asked the Lord Jesus to come into our hearts, and we believed that He came in (Revelation 3:20), so now we must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and, by faith, believe that He does so.
5. It may be due to an unwillingness on our part to adopt the means which maintain His infilling.
The secret of the abiding fulness of the Holy Spirit is found in John 2:5, and is summed up in the chorus:
- TRUST and OBEY,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to TRUST and OBEY.
How important it is for us to learn not only the secret of His filling, but of maintaining His filling! The secret is ABIDING IN CHRIST – look up John 15:5.