What I'm Learning About the Holy Spirit

For the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly making my way through the small-but-mighty book, Experiencing the Holy Spirit by Andrew Murray, which I just finished this week.

It looks digestible enough, at only 130 pages, but looks are deceiving: There is no fluff here. Instead the author packs a whollop into every page that you have to wrap your head around before moving to the next. It's deep and thoughtful and powerful and gentle at all the same time.

See what I mean: Murray starts off the book addressing the Biblical evidence that lets us know for certain that it is God's will for every Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Holy Spirit bestows a double blessing that we see in John: "He that believeth on me shall never thirst" (6:35) and "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (7:38). Thus, it is like a cup being, first filled up, and then being so filled that the water overflows outward, with which we can then use to minister to others. We become so filled that it becomes, quite literally, the gift that keeps on giving.

And yet, the reader is reminded over and over again that this process of overflowing by the Spirit happens over time. It is by no effort of our own that we can gain the Holy Spirit—it is given only by God—and we must be patient and wait on him to give it. We must trust that he will give it to us.

But what we can (and actually, must) do is prepare ourselves to receive it. How do we do that? By  realizing our need for the Holy Spirit and by being willing to die to self, acknowledging that we are nothing without him and that our own greatest enemy is our own selfishness. And yet even here, we cannot do it all on our own. We need the Spirit to even truly die to self! The only way we can clear sin from our lives is by the Holy Spirit who renews us daily.

My notes read: "This is what even Jesus had to do: Be willing to lay down his life and trust that God would resurrect him. We too must be willing to die to our self and trust that God will raise us up in power with the fullness of the Spirit."

(If I am understanding correctly, Murray makes a distinction between having the Spirit within you and overflowing with the Spirit. When we first make the decision to follow Christ, we receive the Spirit. But it is only later in our walks that we are able to fully receive the greater blessing of being filled and overflowing with the Spirit. This difference can be seen in Acts: The disciples knew Christ for years, while he ministered but even after he was resurrected. It was not until Pentecost, ten days after he ascended to heaven, that the Holy Spirit descended upon them in fullness, though.)

Murray also notes that the entire church needs the Holy Spirit to overflow within their hearts. We cannot be satisfied with just me or just you having the Holy Spirit: "If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad." (1 Corinthians 12:26)

I've filled pages of my prayer notebook with notes from Experiencing the Holy Spirit, so there's much, much more than just what I've shared here! Like I said, it's a bit of a heady book, more academic than I normally tend toward, but very hard-hitting...and much-needed.

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  1. I'm studying the Holy Spirit as well!! There's definitely a LOT to learn beyond the "surface," you know.

    Praying for you today!

  2. I just happen to find your site and I am so excited for you! I am happy to hear about you doing this study of knowing the Holy Spirit. There is so much you are going to learn..I myself am loving what the spirit is doing in and through me..Continue to be thirsty and He will fill you..Praise God Lord I ask you to give her more and more insight of the things of God in the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

    It's not going to be easy because allot of the flesh will be torn off of you but you already know this other wise you would not want to be more like Christ. God bless you

  3. You're so right, Chels--there is definitely SO much to learn! Thanks so much to both of you for your prayers, ladies! They are much appreciated and cherished!

  4. ive been praying recently for GOD to make me more and more like him and show me my heart so that his spirit may dwell deep in it and cleanse me so that I may overflow with his spirit. his spirit is with me convicting me and showing me the true nature of who I am and in the process I am discovering soooo many reasons why I not only need Jesus but why I must continually pray for HIS presence. I really admire your love for CHRIST because it is something that you can't find in every "christian" or "believer" these days. most dont want to be rid of the flesh because it is comfortable, after all we are born with sin so eliminating something so apart of us would be a bit overwhelming. But that is what CHRIST calls us to do. A pastor at my church who is going through mark "The crucifixioN" of jesus said something that realllyyy spoke to my heart.

    "The believer, like Jesus before his death, knows that by believing in Jesus and carrying their own cross the destination is DEATH."

    WE are to die to ourselves so that we may be alive in his kingdom on our last breath. I am still a baby christian but my soul desires him and my heart is so hungry to be more like him and I am beginning to truly understand how "WE CAN NEVER TRULY KNOW OUR HEARTS" because they are decietful and the more GOD reveals our true nature to us the farther away, we realize, we are from being who is IS, Was And will be.

    Thank you for your truth and for your blog. GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU SISTER!

  5. Carmen, I found your site through Money Saving Mom. Your passion for Christ is AWESOME. I am so absolutely ecstatic to find you!! You will definitely be on my FAVES' reading list, and plan on devouring most of your posts asap.

    I'll also probably steal your "27 things to do whilst 27" thingy, since I just turned 27 November 11th! I already have a ton of goals and so it's nice to lump them all up.

    Srsly glad to "meet" you (btw, I'm Timbrel!).

    You'll be seeing me as a regular noter for-shizzle. <3 Love!!! :)

  6. Thanks, Timbrel! I really appreciate and am so glad you're enjoying this little blog of mine :) Let me know if you do make a 27 list--I'd love to read it!!

  7. Completely overwhelmed after reading this... It is what has been on my mind for the past week! If you get e second, read my blog, you'll see:)
    I'm new at blogging, totally clueless so far but the Holy Spirit has put me on here and says He will do the rest:). My job= surrender and let Him take the wheel... Your site is inspiring <3
    Many blessings- Tina


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