If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13, ASV)
How do you receive the Holy Spirit, that His presence ALWAYS abides in you and fills you?
Ask. (Luke 11:9-13)
What happens if you ask and the Holy Spirit does not come?
Ask again. And keep on asking. (Luke 18:1-8; Acts 1:4,14)
Asking is crucial to receiving, because asking IS receiving. Once you are always asking to be filled, then the fullness of the Holy Spirit has already come – because it is the Spirit Himself within you which prompts the asking (Romans 8:15, 26-27)
Perfect Faith equals Always Asking. That is to say, my heart is always asking for His Spirit’s indwelling, whether or not my mind verbalizes the request. (Eph. 6:18, 1 Th. 5:17) Then faith is perfected, because my dependence on Him is complete (John 15:4-5). His power is also perfected in me, because my weakness is fully acknowledged (2 Cor. 12:9). I have decreased; He has increased (John 3:30).
The infilling of the Spirit is not something which must be grown into. It is not attained by long years of hard spiritual practice. It is a different way of being, founded upon asking.
Are you doing all the Lord wants you to? All the Lord wants you to do is believe (John 6:28-29). Believe means depend. Depend means ask. All the Lord requires of you is ask (Psalm 2:8).
This is what the Lord requires of you – to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). How to do justice? Ask for His wisdom, as Solomon did. How to love mercy? Ask for His heart. How to walk humbly? Depend on Him at every step.
Many Christians think, “I can never measure up to God’s standards, they are impossibly high”. Those who feel this way, can never have a clean conscience, because they are perpetually beset by your shortcomings. But God offers us a clean conscience (Acts 23:1, 24:16, 1 Tim. 1:5,19, 3:9, Heb 13:8, 1 Pe. 3:16,21).
The problem is, they are trying and not asking. As long as you are trying to please God in your own strength, your strength will fail you. (Ps. 34:10, Ps. 147:10-11). If you replace trying with asking, then His grace has free rein in you. You can do nothing more for God than ask. If all of our doing is founded upon asking, then it is not us but God by His Spirit who is doing the work (Is. 26:12, John 3:21).
God never expects more from us than His grace can accomplish through us. He is not a hard master or overbearing parent. “He knows our frame, that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:13-14); “He will gently lead those who are with young” (Is. 40:11); He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me” (Mt. 11:28-30).
A good coach sets achievable goals. He demands hard work, but he also knows that it is possible to overtrain. He expects 100 percent effort both mentally and physically, and is satisfied with his athletes when they show it -- regardless of whether they win or lose. In the spiritual life, we are to be athletes in asking, giving the Coach our absolute attention.
Of course, we cannot ask according to our own pleasures and desires (James 4:2-3). We must be asking, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”. His kingdom within us is the presence of His Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16).
One might object: “But if all we do is ask, then we will never do anything.” To be sure, the Christian life involves doing as well as asking. But asking is the hard part, doing the easy consequence. It's not always easy to flag down a taxi, but once you've caught the driver's attention and he stops, it's easy to get in. Just so the Christian life – the hard part is catching the Spirit’s attention (or better, letting the Spirit capture our attention).
God does not just forgive
sin. God does not save us so that we could go on being schmucks.
“Christians are not perfect – only forgiven”. This is true – but
Christians can be perfect in asking. Christians can be perfect in
obedience, to the extent that we know the Father and understand His will
(Romans 12:2). Christians can be perfect in heart (1 Kings 8:61,
2 Kings 20:3, Psalm 101:2, Psalm 119:80).
Lord let my heart be perfect in Your statutes, that I be not put to shame.
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