When a Christian is unable to get filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s either because of the unbelief in his heart or his inability to yield to the Holy Spirit.
There however had been certain instances in my own personal experience, when believers in Christ Jesus had been unable to get filled with the Holy Spirit, because of unconfessed or hidden sins in their lives.
They had been unable to yield to the Holy Spirit because of their past unconfessed sins, which they had not renounced or disassociated themselves from. In these circumstances I have discovered that such sins are often associated with their past dealings with the world of the occult.
When the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Church at Corinth about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he had mentioned about such a sinful nature among them, which they had devoted themselves to in the ignorance of their hearts. He had told them:
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.”
I Corinthians 12:1-2 NKJV
The world of the occult has to do with the spirit of death and the dead works of darkness. The Corinthians had been ignorantly involved with such activities, because it had been passed down to them through family traditions, and often from one generation to another.
They had been ignorantly led “to these dumb idols” by their ancestors. Paul had to teach them about the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that, after they had turned away from such sins, they could begin to stir up the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their midst.
Such hidden past unconfessed sins can impede the flow of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian, and even prevent him from becoming matured in Christ Jesus. When a child of God is not bringing forth the fruit for spiritual growth in his life, it’s probably due to the influence of the occultic world in his life. Such Christians are not to blame for the sins of their ancestors, but they do have a Christian duty to renounce them and disassociate themselves from them.
Oftentimes the Holy Spirit had led me to the root causes of such problems in the lives of certain Christians. But in other cases, I could easily see what was hindering their ability to yield to the Holy Spirit, because of the objects or items which identifies them with the world of the occult visibly on their bodies.
Sometimes people wear such items without even knowing what they symbolize. And as the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth, they are being led to dumb and dead idols due to their own spiritual ignorance concerning such things. Spiritual ignorance about such things, as it was in the case of the Church at Corinth is still rampant all around the world today.
I am sure that these Corinthians must had been wearing objects and items on their bodies also, which had associated them with these “dumb idols”.
The scriptures informed us about an outstanding and remarkable deliverance that took place in the city of Ephesus, when those who had been associated with the dark world of evil, repented and renounced their association with such activities. It says:
“Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So, the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
Acts 19:19-20 NKJV
“Fifty thousand pieces of silver” is a lot of money in our world today. This is biblical evidence to us that, the practice of the occult had been a huge money-making industry for a long time. And it is still the same in our world today. They are making profits by lying and deceiving the people who are going to them. It shows us as Christians how much the unbelievers in the world, likes to be deceived and lied to by those who are practicing such things; while they are turning their backs in rejecting the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which can make them free.
Once a child of God visits or consults with the occults, Satan immediately places his hand on that Christian for destruction. It is a violation of the Covenant that a Christian has with God, to consult with the world of the occult. It is a serious sin before God, and it can prevent a Christian from being filled with the Holy Spirit.
We can see the effect of the public and open rejection of such items here on the Ephesians. The Church grew mightily, as the word of God through the teaching and preaching of the gospel brought salvation to them. God’s spoken word always prevails over the power of the occult. And evidently here in the city of Ephesus, the Holy Spirit had brought salvation and deliverance to them as they repented of such sins.
Whenever an unconfessed sin is openly being acknowledged and renounced, it has always amazed me what the Lord normally does in the lives of such individuals. They have always showed a strong commitment to the Lord and their local Churches. And surprisingly enough many of them are doing great things for the Lord in His Kingdom today.
Why then will the devil harden the heart of a Christian from repenting of a hidden sin? The answer is very simple. He can see the great potential in the life of such a person in God’s Kingdom. He will therefore do anything to prevent the move of God in the life of such an individual.
A hardened sinful heart can however be softened through the teaching and preaching of God’s word, until faith arises within him to change his heart, and soften his rebellious heart towards God.
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit!
But it is a different situation with a Christian who is already filled with the Holy Spirit, but who is unable to yield in response to the move of the Holy Spirit in his life. There are Christians who are in this category today also.
The Bible says:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Ephesians 4:30 NKJV
Such Christians are grieving the Holy Spirit and are not even aware of it. A sinful habit that has not been revealed as a sin to a Christian in this situation, can cause him to struggle with his Christian lifestyle.
And in most cases, it is the influence of the evil world around him that is affecting him, in the manner that he is practicing his Christianity with habitual sinful patterns. He wants to obey God’s word, but he is constantly finding himself falling into sin, and has come to accept it as a part of his Christian lifestyle.
As the Apostle Paul said about his own personal experience in struggling with the flesh:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
Romans 7:15 NKJV
A Christian find himself falling into the temptation and sin concerning the very things that he hates to do. Such a Christian needs pastoral attention to help him in walking victoriously against the devil.
There are many things that can obviously defile a Christian and prevent him from yielding to the Spirit of the Lord. There are certain sins that people commit against their own bodies, which can adversely affect their spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord.
Such habitual sins like drunkenness, sexual sins and many others are some examples. And there are also certain sins of the spirit which can grieve the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The Apostle Paul said:
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”
Ephesians 4:31 NKJV
These are some of the types of sins that emanate due to the influences of the evil ones in the unrenewed mind of a Christian. And in most cases, these types of sins are due to the influence from this world on a Christian. A Christian is not prone to fall into these kinds of sins, except where the world around him has been influencing him.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul had listed both the sins of the body and the sins coming out of the unrenewed mind together, as the works of the flesh. This is because they will always produce the works of the flesh in their outcome.
He had told them that:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
The list is endless, but it’s interesting to note that Paul was writing to Christians about these sins in their midst. This shows us that the forces of evil that they were encountering in their own times, are the same forces of evil that some Christians are struggling with today.
Apparently, those who are doing these things cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit with the manifestation of His gifts. The Holy Spirit and His gifts cannot dwell in an unclean and corrupt body.
Those who practices such sins habitually will not get into the Kingdom of God either. But those of them who are smart enough to repent of such sins and renounce them, will be accepted by the Lord. The Holy Spirit will help them to become fruitful in their Christian lives.
A Christian who has any one of these sins in his life will struggle to yield to the Holy Spirit, until he confesses it as sin before God. He must thereafter make a firm and strong decision to get rid of such spiritual filthiness out of his life. Any filthiness of the spirit will always prevent a Christian from yielding to the Holy Spirit.
And lastly, a self-egoistic attitude will lead to self-glorification in the life of a Christian. This can also hinder him from yielding to the Holy Spirit. Pride will always cause the spiritual fall of anyone.
The pride of life is the most common form of pride in the world today. And it is being allowed to get into several Churches today.
Whenever nationalistic tendencies are springing up among Christians, it is important to note that the root cause of this is the pride of life, which will eventually lead to the fall of the people who are adhering to it. It will get in the way of God’s people and their relationship with the Holy Spirit.
We do know from the scriptures that it was during the time of a strong nationalistic movement in Israel, that the word of the Lord came to the Prophet Amos. The people were taking too much pride about the Temple of God being in their midst, while using it as a religious covering for their idolatries and sins.
The word of the Lord came to them through the Prophet Amos, so as to correct and discipline them in the way of the Lord. Amos had reminded them that God was seeking for justice (righteousness) among them, and not the wickedness that they were practicing.
He had told them:
“But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, which you made for yourselves. Therefore, I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.”
Amos 5:24-27 NKJV
God was angry with them for consulting dead and dumb gods, while they were priding themselves about the Temple at Bethel. They were secretly doing such things while boasting openly and in public about the House of the Lord.
Amos later pointed out this pride of life in their midst, which was the root cause of nationalism in Israel at the time. The judgment of God was declared upon them by Amos, because they had refused to repent of such sins. Amos told them:
“The Lord God has sworn by Himself, The Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; Therefore, I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”
Amos 6:8 NKJV
But Amaziah who was the priest of the Temple at Bethel had openly confronted the Prophet. He wanted to stop him from Prophesying; because he and the other leaders of Israel were profiting from the lies and deception that had consumed Israel with treasonous sins:
“Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There you can eat your bread, And their prophesy.”
Amos 7:12 NKJV
Their mistake in their unwillingness to repent is a great lesson for us to learn from today, because God’s word from the mouth of His Prophet came to pass in judging Israel at that time.
The Bible says clearly:
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
Philippians 3:20 NKJV
Therefore, as a genuine child of God:
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV
The pride of life has deprived many of access to being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman. He is seeking to live in the heart that is humbled before God and His written word, and not in the heart that is prideful.
Negative Church doctrines can grieve the Holy Spirit.
I recently was praying for a group of new believers in Christ Jesus to be filled with the Holy Spirit. While several of them immediately yielded their tongues to start speaking in their heavenly languages, I observed that there was a woman in their midst, who was stiff and irresponsive to the move of the Lord.
I gently pulled her aside and asked her again, if she desired to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Her response was: “If God wants me to speak in other tongues, He will have to move me by Himself”.
I immediately responded by letting her know that she would never be filled with the Holy Spirit, with that kind of attitude before the Lord. The Bible says:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
The Holy Spirit will only respond to faith in the life of a Christian. And as this scripture text says, it is only those who are diligently seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will eventually be filled. There is nothing like; “if God wants me to be filled”. This type of religious rhetoric stems from a doubtful heart.
I recognized immediately that the woman was deeply in unbelief concerning the personality of the Holy Spirit, due to her denominational background teachings about the Holy Spirit.
There was no need for me to be wasting my time with her. So, I advised her to continue coming for the Church services, because her faith needed to be stirred up and to rise up before the Lord, so that she can be open to receive the gift of God.
She has faith to receive, but it’s a dead faith that needed to be properly taught in order for her to respond with corresponding action. And the best way to help her is through the teachings and preachings of faith by the local Pastor of the Church:
“So, faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.”
Romans 10:17 AMP
Faith always comes when the heart is ready and prepared to receive what is heard. There are people who are hearing the word of faith being taught and preached, but who are not responding to it with corresponding action.
But as long as they keep on listening to the same thing over and over again, faith will eventually find an open door into their heart, so that they can start believing in what is heard and respond to it by receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be for the infilling of the Holy Spirit alone. Faith has to come and arise for the anointing to heal the sick; and to deliver the captives before it can flow within any Church congregation:
“Therefore, He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Galatians 3:5 NKJV
The hearing of the word of faith brings the supply of the Holy Spirit for miracles, signs and wonders among us as Christians.
The supply of the Spirit comes with every gift of the Holy Spirit. And this supply of the Holy Spirit comes through prayer. It is our faith that actually makes our prayers to produce results for us. We don’t pray for more faith, but we put our faith to work for increase to come into our lives as Christians.
God’s love manifests the gifts of the Spirit.
The Bible says:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
James 1:17 NKJV
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for every member of the Body of Christ. It takes faith in God to be able to receive anything from God, and this includes the gifts of the Holy Spirit. An unbelieving heart will never receive anything from the Lord God.
And God will never take away any gift of His Spirit that He has given us (His children). He actually desires to give more of His gifts to His people. But if His people are not using what they already have, how can they receive more from Him. To qualify for more of God’s gifts, start using what He has given you:
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Romans 11:29 NKJV
God’s immeasurable gifts flows from the abundance of His love, that we had received when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Every gift of the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of His love for us.
In Galatians 5:22 we can see that love was listed by Paul, as the first manifestation of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in Christ. A Christian who is walking in love has all the potentials of the Holy Spirit in his life.
When a Christian is not walking in love, the flow of the gifts of the Holy Spirit will cease in his life. It doesn’t mean that the gift is not in his life. It just means that his inability to walk in love, is hindering the flow of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his life.
But the moment that Christian repents and starts walking in love, the gifts of the Spirit will start flowing through him in doing the will of God. A Christian can’t separate the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the love of God. It’s our ability to walk in love that causes the gifts of the Spirit to flow through our lives.
The measure of each gift that is manifested in the life of each believer in Christ, is dependent on the measure of the abundance of God’s love that he is allowing to flow in his life.
Every believer in Christ has the love of God in his heart. The measure of His love increases in our lives, as we are walking in love towards one another.
A Christian who says he cannot love another Christian is lying to himself. He needs to repent and start releasing the love of God by faith, even when it is difficult to love others.
The devil is the one who will always tell Christians that, they can’t walk in love and forgiveness towards one another. And unforgiveness is the major sin that is preventing Christians from walking in love towards one another. And unforgiveness will not only hinder Christians from walking in love, but it will also hinder them from receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians in his prayer for them:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”
Ephesians 3:17-20 NKJV
The fullness of the love of God in our lives gives us the ability to tap into the abundance of the gifts of the Spirit.
We have the God Who is more than enough as our Father. That means He can do more than what we think we are able to do for us, if we are allowing His love to flow through us.
When we are rooted and grounded in the love of God, we will begin to understand the potentials that are in our lives, as a result of God’s love that has been shed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
There is no believer in Christ who is not able to love as Jesus loves us, because we all have the same measure of the love, with which God had loved Him while He was physically on this earth within us (John 17:23).
The more we are allowing God’s love to work with our faith, the easier it will become for us to be yielding and flowing with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:6).
You can’t put God’s Spirit in straight jacket!
It’s therefore possible to be a sticker for the word of God, and still miss the move of the Holy Spirit. This can happen to any Christian. No one on the earth knows as much as the Spirit of the Lord Himself.
It’s very easy for anyone to miss God’s move by being so fixated on the Holy scriptures, without the comprehension of the mind of the Spirit at every given time with those scriptures.
The spiritual world is very fluid, and if you’re not prepared to act by faith in that realm, you will definitely miss out of what the Lord wants to do at any given moment. It is the law of faith that holds all things together in the realm of the spirit (Hebrews 11:1&3).
If you are committed to living your Christian life by faith in God’s word, then the Lord God is pleased with you. He is closer to you than the Christian who is not committed to the lifestyle of faith.
And if you are committed to prayer for the purpose of stirring up the gifts of the Spirit in your life, you will be more and more vigilant in understanding the mind of your Father in Heaven. But you will still have to put your faith into action, so as to receive the answer to your prayer from Him.
No one is perfect concerning the move of God. We are all disciples of the Holy Spirit on the earth. And the good thing is that we can learn from each other’s personal encounter with the Holy Spirit.
Only a fool will ever say that he knows more than the Holy Spirit. It’s all about being able to know and identify the perfect timing of God for His move.
And for you to get closer in moving with the Holy Spirit, you will have to be praying more in other tongues. Praying in other tongues is our best way of communicating with God, so as to understand His mind:
“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”
I Corinthians 14:2 NKJV
How often are you communicating with God? In the arena of the spirit there is a slim door for the move of God in every Church congregation. There are a lot of activities going on in that realm. You will need to be sharpening your spiritual antenna on a regular basis, so as to be able to recognize and identify your own open door.
It’s however not everyone who can recognize that open door, so as to be able to move with the Holy Spirit through it. Many moves of the Holy Spirit have been missed in this way.
And just because you missed out of an opportunity to move through an open door, doesn’t mean that God will not open another one for you. So, pray more and more on a consistent basis, because the power of God is released through your consistency in prayer and meditation on His written word.