Creating A Desire For The Spirit-Filled Life
“And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses.” - Exodus 39:24-26
Fruit of the Spirit—Gifts of the Spirit
The Israelites were instructed to adorn the hem of the robe of the high priest’s garment with bells and pomegranates. The bells have been likened in symbolic type to the gifts of the Spirit. The pomegranates have been likened in type to the fruit of the Spirit. As the bell makes contact with the fruit, it produces a clear ringing sound. This sound is well-defined because it strikes against properly developed fruit. This unique sound is produced only when both the bells (gifts of the Spirit) and the pomegranate (fruit of the Spirit) are present.
In today’s Christian, both gifts and fruit of the Spirit need to be experienced and developed. Our Christian life and ministry should reflect the presence of both the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. When this becomes a reality, those around us will sense the undeniable activity and presence of God. I believe that we can create a desire for both gifts and fruit in the hearts of other believers when both are properly displayed in our own lives.
Questions that Need to be Asked
Does my life and ministry cause people to desire, yearn for, or seek after more of the power of the Holy Spirit? As people observe both my life and the ministry work, is there evidence of the supernatural presence of God? As I travel through my everyday life and deal with circumstances that are sometimes strenuous, does my temper get out of hand? Does selfishness inadvertently appear on a consistent basis? Do I treat other people with disdain? And how about my ministry, does the Holy Spirit continually anoint me to accomplish my God-given task? First, do I find myself relying upon talent, ability, and education, or am I depending upon the presence of God to empower? Second, if my life does not reflect a Christlike attitude, who would want the Holy Spirit that I say is so vital in regard to one’s relationship with God?
If our ministries and our service for the Lord are not tinged by the supernatural flavor brought about by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who would want the baptism with the Holy Spirit that we preach? Both our lives (here I speak of our progressive sanctification) and our ministries (the work we do in His name) should be obviously impacted by the Holy Spirit’s presence. It should be obvious that we are experiencing His help in both life and ministry. Are you?
The Fruit of the Spirit
The first area I want to deal with is the area of Christlikeness. There is no excuse for people who know the message of the cross, who operate by grace and faith, to not consistently exhibit the characteristics of Christ. These attributes should be exhibited for and experienced by those around us. We need to care about what other people sense and see. The greatest commandments involve the ideas of loving God as well as loving others. The message of the cross preaches a continued dependence on Christ crucified, which releases the Holy Spirit’s conforming work within us. Therefore, our lives must display this continual growth to validate the message. The fruit of the Spirit must be showing and growing. If this is not so, then we are doing damage to the message that faith in the cross brings the needed help of the Holy Spirit. Of a certainty, we must balance this with the knowledge that no man is perfect. No Christian will ever attain to “sinless perfection” in this present age. The desire to be transformed by the Spirit’s power must be a continual driving desire that moves us to be ever dependent on Christ and Him crucified. Faith alone can and will produce the fruit of the Spirit. Then, when we declare that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is producing the characteristics of Christ as a result of properly placed faith, people will be drawn to the truth. They too will desire to experience the Spirit’s help that they observe and sense in the lives of those proclaiming the cross.
The Baptism with the Spirit
Secondly, let’s evaluate the Holy Spirit at work in our ministry. A true Spirit-filled ministry is dependent upon the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the assigned task. As a classic Pentecostal, I believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and I encourage each and every individual Christian to pursue this post-salvation experience. I believe this experience is accompanied with the initial physical evidence of speaking with other tongues. However, just obtaining this experience is no guarantee that a person will continue to rely on the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit. This experience opens the door to the potential of the Holy Spirit’s supernatural flow.
After experiencing the baptism with the Holy Spirit, one can quite easily begin to rely on talent, ability, or education. This will greatly hinder the Spirit’s work even though the individual has experienced the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Once again, our faith must be centered on who Christ is and what Christ has done. The power of the Spirit is sent to validate Christ and His completed ministry. We need to see people drawn to Christ. We need to see the unbelieving and hardened heart crumble as the Holy Spirit cracks through the difficult veneer of unbelief. We need to see healings, miracles, signs and wonders. These can cause unbelievers—even believers—to be turned to faith in Christ.
In the book of Acts, the greatest influence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit was the supernatural ability to bring men and women to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Signs, miracles, wonders, and gifts of the Spirit were used to turn the hearts of men to Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. We must lift Him up, and then He will draw all men to Himself. Is this what we yearn for when we ask God for the power to touch hearts and lives? If not, how will those who view our ministries desire the baptism with the Holy Spirit in their own ministries?
Once again, I remind the reader that no Christian attends to ministry perfectly. The flesh is sure to gain ascendancy at one point or another, causing the Spirit’s work to be interrupted. Yet our ministries should be so impacted and affected by the presence of the Holy Spirit, that others who minister the gospel begin to clamor after, seek after, and experience, the baptism with the Holy Spirit that we preach.