I Have Never Felt the Holy Spirit

I Have Never Felt the Holy Spirit

I have spent more than 25 years in ministry. During that time, I have been privileged to preach and teach lessons numbering more than I can count.  I have conducted multitudes of Bible studies and been fortunate to be involved in the conversion of many precious souls. Yet, my experience in ministry is completely lacking in one area that I am told is essential to the Christian faith.  I have never felt any experience of any kind with the Holy Spirit.

Ever feel the holy Spirit?  If not, you are not alone.

Ever feel the holy Spirit? If not, you are not alone.

From the sermons I have heard preached in recent years that should not be possible. The indwelling of the Spirit is, I am told, universal and unconditional.  Every saint of God receives the Spirit at baptism. Neither that saint’s personality, level of spirituality, nor any other potential variable trait has any bearing on that reception.

Further, that indwelling is so pervasive that it serves as the seal of my faith and the evidence that the Spirit has guaranteed my salvation. Yet, in all my life, I cannot point to a single second of experience in which I could identify the Spirit’s presence.  I have never received the “ready recollection” on any verse I had not studied to deliver during a sermon. I can point to no moment in time when some influence other than the preparations of my journey with the scriptures has produced. If put on the witness stand, I could not identify a single word of testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit ever directly influencing me.

What is wrong with me?

The answer is nothing.  For me, and a countless multitude like me, our experience simply contradicts the necessary elements of most doctrines relating to the Holy Spirit currently being taught. Neither my faith, nor my person is flawed to the point that I should be incapable of discerning the most Important gift God has provided me. If the doctrine I have been taught is true, I should know it to be true.

Therein is the most basic reason that I know people are mistaken about the Spirit. If what they teach is true, then I should be able to know it. If the power of the Spirit is coursing through my veins, I should feel it.  But I don’t.  They tell me I should, but I don’t.  They tell me every Christian has this presence, but I don’t. And I am certain that I am not the problem.

Their doctrine is flawed – not me.  Their teaching demands an experience beyond the word.  They may say the experience is indescribable, but they cannot claim that it is the “seal” of my inheritance while holding that it is also indistinguishable. Before I begin to make a single textual argument, I know the position I am opposing is wrong. It demands an experience beyond the text. It demands that experience comes to every single Christian. And somehow it skipped over me.

Until I feel what they say I must feel; until I experience what they hold my faith must experience and until I am moved the way they argue that all Christians must be moved, their arguments will not convince me.  I simply know that they are wrong.

If you have lacked the same experience that I have lacked, I encourage you not to doubt yourself.  Doubt those who have told you otherwise.  It is their burden to prove the universal, “sealing” experience they preach – not yours to disprove it. Until that experience moves upon our hearts, you and I stand as living evidence that their doctrine is demonstrably false.

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Will You Receive or Reject?

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

John 1:11

In the immediate context, John is referring to the fact that Jesus was born a Jew, and his fellow Jews rejected him.  However, the case could also be made that John is referring to the world in general (John 1:9-10), considering that Jesus created the world (John 1:3).  Even closer to home, the New Testament teaches that Christians are spiritual Jews, God’s chosen people of today (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 6:16).  Do we as Christians not receive Jesus?

Will you receive or reject Him?

Will you receive or reject Him?

Consider this.  The world rejected Jesus because they did not know him (John 1:10).  Even his own family of Jews did not believe in him at first (John 7:5), most likely due to the familial familiarity which proverbially breeds contempt (cf. John 4:44).  Some who claimed to follow him in truth rejected him because they desired more the praise of men (John 7:13; 9:22; 12:42-43).  Others rejected him because they were more in love with their man-made traditions (John 9:13-16).  Some rejected him because they were misinformed (John 7:40-43).  When all was said and done, they rejected him because they loved the darkness more than light (John 3:19-20; 5:42-43).

What about us?  Do we truly know Jesus?  Can’t say that we do if we hardly open our Bibles throughout the week.  If we’ve been Christians for a while, does that familiarity with Jesus breed contempt so that we stop trying to know him like we should?  Are we more concerned about what others think of us?  Do we give more credence to creeds and the decisions of man-made councils than we do to the actual Word of God?  Do we take as gospel the error of man-made doctrines instead of obeying the biblical gospel of Christ, and thus live our lives misinformed about his will and our salvation?

Do we love the darkness more than the light?

Does Jesus come to us, his children…and is he turned away?

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Through Adversity with a True Friend

A True Friend

What does it take to be a true friend?  Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.”  A true friend is someone who loves you at all times, and someone who is willing to go through adversity with you.Not too many people are willing to do that, and when you find someone who will, you know that this is the kind of person that you want to have around.  Those who will not do this may be superficial friends, but not friends that are true.

Who will be a true friend?

Who will be a true friend?

Proverbs 27:17 says: “Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  The notion here is that friends challenge one another to improve their attitudes.  A good friend is not going to let you pass when you appear to be affected by something.  He is going to inquire as to your problems and show genuine care and concern for them.Perhaps one of the greatest attestations of friendship in the Bible is what Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This verse is often cited at the funerals of those who have given their lives for others.  Self sacrifice and the ability to give to others meaningfully—without expecting anything in return—is the ultimate character of a friend.Faithfulness, encouragement, and self-sacrifice make up the core of what the Bible teaches is the character of a true friend.  Are you being this kind of friend to others?  God certainly has been this kind of friend to us, and will be, if we will let Him in.  God bless you and I love you.

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