Resist or Accept the Spirit

Strengthen & Grow in Your Faith

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It’s fun to contemplate all the wonder that comes from accepting the Spirit. By asking Jesus to be Lord of our life and receiving the Spirit, we enter into a deep connection with the Lord, where the Holy Spirit leads us, guides us, directs our lives and teaches us to assume the character of Christ.

But, the Spirit can be rejected, and this is difficult to understand. The Holy Spirit can be resisted. He can be lied to. He can be blasphemed. That is, people can see things that God is doing by His Spirit, and attribute His actions to demons doing it, which is described in Matthew 12: 24-32. This is very serious and should not be done.

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12: 24-32

By blaspheming the Spirit, we would be tearing the kingdom of God down. Claiming that Satan is doing the work of God gives powers and attributions to Satan that are undeserved. By placing Satan in the Holy Spirit’s position, we would be placing ourselves in a position opposed to God. Few go as far as blasphemy, but many struggle with understanding where and how the Holy Spirit works in their lives.

Pushing The Spirit Away

The Holy Spirit, even in believers’ lives, can be quenched. We do indeed believe, but because we consistently choose not to obey God’s Spirit or God’s Word as revealed in the Bible, we actually diminish His voice in our lives. If we continue to push the Holy Spirit away over and over again, He eventually will become so faint, we won’t want to come back to His presence. This happens when we deny Him and pursue the ways of the world instead.

For example, by claiming that we’d rather follow the worldly pleasure of boosting ourselves by making fun of a student who happens to be a bit of an outcast over God’s deep desire for us have mercy on this individual, we’re choosing to disobey God’s word and the leading of the Spirit. Doing this just once will have a negative effect on our long-term relationship with God. These temptations don’t just happen on one occasion. After we’ve given in, we’re more likely to do it again and again until we’re satisfied by our actions over our connection with the Lord. Now, it takes a lifetime to harden to complete resistance of the Spirit, but that lifetime starts when we’re young. So, we must combat the temptation to come back to the Spirit tomorrow, because the longer we wait, the more likely tomorrow will never come.

Coming Back

The only way to reverse this hardening is by repentance. Once we repent, we will begin to hear His voice again as well as experience the wonderful joys and adventures of following the leading of God’s Spirit. To break it down, when the diminished voice of God’s Spirit shows us how far we have strayed from His way, we can turn (repent) from the way we were going, and turn towards (repent towards) God once more. Once we recognize how faint the Spirit has become, simply asking for forgiveness for our resistance isn’t enough. Seeking forgiveness is not demonstrating a turning away from our old ways. We have to show we’re sorry, which means relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us back to His desire for our hearts. We may find this difficult at first, but His Spirit will make it possible. We can’t return to God on our own – not because we’re not strong enough or because He’s ashamed of our sinfulness, but because there’s too much pain from the past that needs to be healed and the Spirit has the power to heal.

Squelching the Spirit

Quenching the Spirit also comes in the form of focusing more on the rules and the laws of the Bible over the moving of the Spirit. Sometimes as believers, we become stagnant in our ministry because we have a very strict approach to living according to the law. We eat designated foods, dress a certain way, speak precise words, associate with specific people and we place this pressure on other Christians as well. We’ve all experienced people who look down at us because we don’t fit into their box of what they assume a Christian should be. This approach is as harmful as disobeying the Spirit because it’s ignoring the Spirit all together. If the desires of the Spirit are outside what we think is right, then we’ll refuse to follow His leadings. By following the Bible as if it’s a big rulebook, we become more concerned by our own self rather than God’s plan for our life.

Producing Fruit

After speaking about the resistance of the Spirit, Matthew 12 continues by saying, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” If we, as the tree, carry the Holy Spirit, then we will produce the goodness of His Spirit. But, if we are ignoring, quenching or simply not housing the Spirit, then nothing we produce will be good. If we do not have the Holy Spirit in us, then how can we produce things that are holy and pure? It’s simply not possible.

What a great joy it is that as we grow in our relationship with God, He uses His intimacy to tell us things that encourage and build us up. God’s Spirit tells us things that may not be important or relevant to others, but they are valid for us. God knows that, and it brings Him joy to see the impact that His Spirit has on us. The Spirit moves through the big things and the little things, but in everything we can find goodness through His leadings.

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