How do we hand over everything, every relationship to him? To identify with his interest in others before our own? By being SURE of his spirit within us. How are we sure of his spirit within us?
While in Africa, I had been witnessing amazing things and was overwhelmed at the Mamelodi people’s unwavering faith. Their understanding of the Holy Spirit challenged my own. They had welcomed him in to every unresponsive place in their hearts and he had taken fire there. They were illuminated. Their speech as well as their thoughts were saturated in Scripture. One girl named Babongile (who had been a Christian for only a few years) asked my friend Bev how long she had been a believer. Bev told her “16 years”. After the initial shock subsided andBabongile regained the ability to speak, she responded with “Do you mean that you have known Jesus for 16 years!?!???”
Do I understand his kingdom and know him in the intimate way that Babongile has come to know after only 2 years through complete abandonment to Jesus? Does he reveal himself in special ways to those who abandon completely? Yes he does. If I am riddled with doubts and frustration, could the fact that I still cling to particular things for security be a reason why he is holding back an outpouring of his presence, peace, and assurance? Yes!
One morning, I woke up (in Africa) with the agonizing heaviness of doubt and frustration. I felt passed over, a vessel desperate to be filled with the Holy Spirit in the way that they were. I realized that my prayers had been so vague. How could I expect him to work specifically if I was not praying specifically?
I was whiny in prayer that morning. I asked for the Lord to wow me with a direct answer to a direct question and for him to do it THAT night. I asked for him to send me an answer in the form of a conversation regarding the holy spirit issue. I was praying for him to place it on somebody’s heart (from our group) to speak to my questions about how the Holy Spirit works and how I could experience that fullness, without my prodding. That very evening, an amazing woman stood beside me at the fire (while we were grilling) and began speaking about how she had recently experienced such frustration and sorrow, feeling “passed over” by the Holy Spirit. She told me that we are vessels who are made to be emptied and filled. We cannot be filled if we are not ready to recieve. Why would he pour into a life that is not welcoming his presence by saying “Lord, in response to what you have done for me, here I am… take my life!” When she realized that it was because her heart was not “ready to receive”, she let go, abandoning to him everything that she was holding back. Wham, she had an experience so precious that it would be inappropriate to write about without her consent. Side note: I had never had a conversation with her before this.
I have since learned that same lesson. I know what it is like for him to pour out his spirit once I give in and let go. (It is amazing that we still have amnesia… we’re so very human. Its a good thing that he knew ALL that we were capable of and died for us anyway :) I also find that it moves me to know that this is what he desires! My whole heart, mind, strength…
When I abandon, he can pour out his sweet presence into my life, an empty vessel….
“Whenever the Holy Ghost sees a chance of glorifying Jesus, He will take your heart, your nerves, your whole personality, and simply make you blaze and glow with devotion to Jesus Christ.” OC