The Holy Spirit; September 1, 2021


Luke 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

It’s very interesting to see the little differences in how the different Gospel writers recorded essentially the same teaching or circumstances. Matthew and John were of course present at the time, Mark was there for some of it but for the most part recorded Peter’s recollections, and Luke researched the whole thing in order to write it, probably while Paul was in prison in Caesarea. (Acts 23-26) John has the most “different” material, because at the time he wrote the other three were already circulating as handwritten copies, and he wanted to fill in what he considered to be some blanks. Luke can be seen as perhaps the most objective, since as a doctor he was scientific, but his perspective was from having been saved through the ministry of Paul, probably at Troas, and then traveling extensively with him on his missionary journeys. (Acts 16:10) Luke wrote from having seen God act through people who were not Jesus, and his desire was that every believer understand that they too could be used by God. That underlies this verse, which Matthew records as simply “good gifts.” (Matthew 7:11) Luke knew that the Holy Spirit is the best thing God can give anyone, after eternal life itself! However, far too few Christians ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We ask for all sorts of things, but fail to ask to be filled by the One who is the key to everything else. Part of that comes from seeing some people who have unfortunately sensationalized everything related to the Holy Spirit, or else from feeling that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is some sort of “merit badge,” and they aren’t worthy to receive Him. Both of those are very unfortunate distortions, greatly encouraged by the father of lies, who greatly fears Spirit-empowered believers. Our faith needs to be childlike enough to trust that our Father will give us the very best, and to know that nothing gets any better than His Spirit, and so ask to “keep on being filled,” just as Paul wrote. (Ephesians 5:18, if you follow the Greek verb tenses)

This verse was directly instrumental in my own experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I had been seeking the baptism for several months to no avail, and finally consulted with a friend. That friend very wisely said, “How do you receive anything from God? By grace through faith, right? Do you believe God has promised you His Spirit?” I replied in the affirmative, specifically quoting this verse. “Then, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and then thank Him for being true to His Word, without setting conditions on what is to happen or how.” I did as he recommended, later that night as I sat on the bed ready to go to sleep, and didn’t feel a thing. However, two days later I abruptly realized that I was talking with a total stranger about Jesus, Acts 1:8 came to mind, and I knew that God had been true to His promise. Various spiritual gifts came later, but I remain very grateful that God so graciously cleared up my confusing His Spirit with His gifts. Seeking the gifts ahead of the Spirit lays us open to counterfeit, demonic “gifts,” and those are sadly in evidence in the world today.

Father, thank You for Your grace toward me. I pray that it would in no way be in vain, but would accomplish all that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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