Christians are disciples. A disciple is a learner. Learners learn. For disciples, learning is a way of life. A disciple of Christ never stops developing as a Christ-follower and becoming like Christ.
Growing in Christ is not for the faint in heart or the passive follower. Conforming into the image of Christ is a top priority. We have made Christianity about going to heaven and not going to hell. Those are benefits of being in Christ.
Heaven and hell are not the primary reason that Christ saved you.
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (I Corinthians 11:1, NKJV)
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1–2, NKJV
Believers are imitators of God
As Christians, we imitate God from our hearts and spirit. The Christian does not mimic behavior but follows the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Genuine Christ-followers have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we experience daily changes as the Holy Spirit leads us. The Spirit is our personal trainer and leads us to become more like Christ.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things I said to you.” (John 14:26, NKJV)
The born-again Christian has received the Spirit of Christ, who is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a teacher of the things of Christ and reminds us of the things that Christ said and taught.
Watchman Nee said: We have the Holy Spirit within as life and without as power and gift. If we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit within, we have the riches of the life of the Lord. If we do not have the riches of the spiritual life, this proves that although we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we are not filled with Him.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11, NKJV)
We receive the Holy Spirit into our spirit when we get saved. However, the baptism of the Spirit is an infilling of the Spirit of God in and upon the believer.
The Holy Spirit covers us, empowers us, and immerses us in the Spirit of Jesus. Some have described the Holy Spirit’s presence on the believer as being in, on, and upon.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1- 4 NKJV)
The promise of the Spirit
Jesus commanded the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit.
“And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22, KNJV)
This means they were saved. God does not give the Holy Spirit to those who are not born again.
“And being assembled together, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4–5 NKJV)
The essence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is when a person who is already a believer, receives power to exalt Christ and to be a witness, just as the scripture says.
And there’s more.
The Holy Spirit
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1: 4–8, NKJV)
Let’s notice the language “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; you shall be.” (Acts 1:8a, NKJV)
Look deeper. The Holy Spirit empowers us in new ways…to become witnesses. We are in an age that resembles the early church.
Have we forgotten the person of the Holy Spirit? Or maybe we have never learned about the Holy Spirit.
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. (Acts 19: 1–7, NKJV)
Did you see it?
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2, NKJV)
Is this where we are as the church of Jesus Christ? Have we resisted the Holy Spirit or neglected the Holy Spirit?
Yes, we have. We see this identical problem in the scripture.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.” (I Corinthians 12:1, NKJV)
Notice the word “spiritual” in the verse above. It is the word “Pnuema” in Greek. It means “spirit.” So the verse can mean; Paul did not want us ignorant about the Spirit of God.
Are we there? For sure. As a body of people, we need more training about the Holy Spirit. This does not mean we are dumb or ignorant. It means we have ignored the teachings about the Holy Spirit.
“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (John 16:5–7,NKJV)
If Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, we should receive Him. Right? And Jesus has his back.
And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10, NKJV)
Receiving the Holy Spirit is easy. Just ask.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13, NKJV)
First posted at Medium.com