The second thing we must do in order to be ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is root out the weeds and till the soil of our hearts.
Good seed requires good soil, and in order for the seed to grow and mature it cannot be choked out by weeds and thistles and briars and all manner of unwanted vegetation that serves no purpose other than attempting to destroy the good seed.
Whether via the prism of the parable of the seed the sower and the soil, or the parable of the wineskins, the Word makes it very clear that it is incumbent upon us to do away with those sins, vices, hobbies or habits that would inhibit the Spirit of God from taking full control of our hearts.
A divided heart, a heart that has not been tilled and plucked of weeds is the perfect environment for duplicity and hypocrisy. It is such hearts that are the object of our scorn, it is such hearts that produce deformed specimens within the house of God which the world points at with glee, and who bring shame to the household of faith.
Pluck the weeds, till the soil of your heart, or to use another metaphor, clean out the clutter, clear the cobwebs, wash the floors in expectation of a new and permanent tenant in your heart. The Holy Spirit does not like to share space, in fact He refuses to do so, and it would be a tragic thing for Him to come to the door of our heart only to find six or seven squatters already there.
Make no mistake; God’s standard is a high one to be sure. Men have attempted to lower God’s standard throughout the years, but God Himself has not, for it is He who said, ‘be holy, for I am holy!’
Leviticus 20:26, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”
‘But that was just for Israel brother Mike, we’re under a new covenant now, we’re under grace, and so that whole business about holiness doesn’t apply anymore. Jesus made it so much easier, just raise your hand, go about your business, and be welcomed into the kingdom. Haven’t you heard about unconditional election? Haven’t you heard about eternal security? God will drag you from the gutter, kicking and screaming all the way into heaven even if you don’t want it. No repentance required, no burdensome cross to carry, no need to endure to the end in order to be saved, it’s the bullet train to heaven. All that stuff about sanctification, and holiness, and righteousness, and prayer, and fasting, and obedience was for the Levites or something, because it would be way too time consuming if it was meant for us as well.’
1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”
The third thing we must do in order to be ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is be wholly dedicated to God.
God does not deal in half measures; He will not be content with partial dedication, or halfhearted commitment, with God it is all or nothing.
‘Sad little bird, don’t you know you’re supposed to be living your best life now?’
But that’s the point isn’t it? If I am wholly dedicated to God, then I have no life of my own. My life is His, and He does with it what He pleases. Do you think for a second that those who went to their deaths or suffered unspeakable tortures for the sake of Christ were anything less than wholly committed and dedicated to God? Do you think for a second that their relationship with God was cursory or tangential? If they were wholly committed, if they were wholly dedicated, what makes us think God will accept anything less of us?
‘Come on brother Mike, it can’t be that bad, God’s got an army marching through the land don’t you know? We sing it often enough so it must be true.’
Where is this great army pray tell? The sad reality is that the army by and large is absent without leave. The generals are too busy practicing their golf swings and building multimedia empires to open their eyes to what is happening all around them, too self-involved to take the time and listen to the voice of God, and the soldiers are too busy doing other things to realize that their generals are negotiating the terms of their surrender to the enemy.
It was none other than Jesus who laid out the requirements of following after Him; it was none other than Jesus who detailed what was required of a true servant and follower of His.
Luke 9:23, ‘Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
If not for the word ‘daily’ this verse wouldn’t be so bad for most people. Deny yourself once, pick up your cross once just to see how it feels, then you’re free to do what you want for the rest of your life. Jesus however emphasized that one word that’s like a fishbone stuck in the throat for some people, that one word being ‘daily.’ Daily deny yourself, daily take up your cross, daily follow after Him. These are the rules; these are the requirements; this is the standard!
Luke 14:23, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
So what exactly must we forsake in order to be Christ’s disciples? Just the stuff we don’t really care about, everything except the one or two things that we think we can’t live without? ‘Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.’
All! The whole amount, quantity or extent of; every member or individual component of; the whole number or sum of; that is what forsaking all that we have means.
Jesus isn’t asking for your tithe, He isn’t asking for an hour on Sunday, He isn’t asking you to take a ‘missions trip’ to Cancun every other year, He’s asking for your all, and He will accept nothing less.
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, although the Word tells us that Jesus looked at him, and loved him, after telling him that he lacked one thing, to go and sell whatever he had and give it to the poor, as he went away grieved Jesus didn’t try to stop him, or barter with him.
‘If you’re not willing to forsake all how about half? If you’re not willing to forsake half how about a third?’ These words never passed Christ’s lips, and though he loved the rich young ruler, He allowed him to go his way because God will not barter with any man for a percentage of his heart.
So the next time we begin to wonder why so few are filled with the Holy Spirit nowadays, consider how many are doing the things they must do in order to be ready to receive it and you will have your answer.
I write these things because I love you, and because my purpose is neither to garner fame, popularity nor the praise of men, but rather to be faithful to the One who redeemed me by His sacrifice, who bled and who died on a hill named Golgotha that I might have life in Him.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.