by Zac Poonen
(from ‘The Supreme Priorities‘, Chapter 5)
Many are confused regarding the fullness of the Spirit. They have the idea that God is very reluctant to give His Spirit to us. But the words of Jesus in Luke 11:11-13 should for ever dispel such doubts from our minds. “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him!” So if God had delayed in thus blessing us, we can be sure that the cause lies in us and not in Him. We have only to approach God and ask Him in simple faith for this filling. All He demands of us is an unreserved surrender of our lives to Him. Fulfil these conditions, maintain them day by day, and we shall remain continually filled with the Spirit.
The testimony of Dr. Walter L. Wilson has been a blessing to many in this respect. He states that the experience of surrender to the Holy Spirit brought about a greater transformation in his life than even the experience of salvation had brought about seventeen years earlier. For some years after his salvation. Dr. Wilson remained dissatisfied with the fruitfulness of his own life and labors. He came at last to recognize that this was because he had not given enough place to the Holy Spirit in his life. At the same time he was full of fear lest seeking for the Spirit’s fullness should make him fanatical. One day he heard a message from Romans 12:1, where the speaker emphasized that the presenting of our bodies, spoken of in that verse, must be to the Holy Spirit, for the Lord Jesus had a body of His own, and the Father remained upon His throne in heaven, whereas it was the Holy Spirit who at Pentecost had come to earth without a body. Dr. Wilson went back to his room after hearing the message, and falling prostrate upon the carpet before God, he addressed these words to the Holy Spirit: “My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life, I have treated You like a servant. When I wanted You I called for You; when I was about to engage in some work I beckoned to You to come and help me perform my task. I have kept You in the place of a servant. I have sought to use You only as a willing servant to help me in my self-appointed and self-chosen work. I shall do so no more. Just now I give you this body of mine; from my head to my feet I give it to you. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am, without and within. I hand over to You, for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind the eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is Your body from this moment on. Help Yourself to it. Thank you my Lord, I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans twelve and one. You said `acceptable unto God.’ Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me. We now belong to each other.” Dr. Wilson testified to the remarkable fruitfulness that attended his labors, even from the very next morning after this act of surrender was made. (This incident is quoted in, “They Found the Secret” by V. Raymond Edman; Chapter 18).
I am not asking you to go and copy that. God does not ask us to imitate others. But there is a principle here that we do well to heed. It is this, that the Holy Spirit will possess us fully only when our surrender to Him is unconditional. Very often our surrender is with inward reservations. We are unwilling to go to a certain place, or to take up a certain type of employment. We have inward choices as to where and how we want to serve the Lord, and we want the power of the Holy Spirit for the sake of success in the task that we have in mind. That is the point. Our yielded-ness to Him is conditional. We have made our own terms, and that is the reason why we so rarely experience the Holy Spirit’s working. Maybe we feel that we can carry on well enough without His anointing for most of the time, but we do not know what we are missing. How foolish we are! Is not the Holy Spirit the One who can make the most use of our lives?
Brothers and sisters, unless our surrender to the Spirit of God is truly unconditional, how can He possess us completely? We must sincerely be willing to do all His will, even to the extent of taking up the lowliest duties. In marriage we must be willing to accept His choice of a partner, dark or fair, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, who is one with us in the Lord.” In employment we must be prepared, at whatever cost to ourselves or our families, to be either constantly on the move or stuck in one place all our lives, if only we are with Him. Have we ever yielded ourselves to the Holy Spirit like that, without personal preference or reservations in any sphere? That is the only type of surrender that will bring into our lives the full measure of His power. And it is with that power alone that we shall fulfill God’s purpose.