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Four Conditions for Drinking Deeply of the Spirit

In our daily meditations, we are continuing to think about man’s thirst for God, and how God has satisfied that need to all who come to Him. To the Jewish people, the center of the world was Israel. The center of Israel was Jerusalem, and the center of Jerusalem was the Temple of God. During the Water Libation Ceremony at the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles, at the very moment of the high priest’s pitcher of water being poured out, Jesus stood and raised His voice so that all could hear His words:

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).

What Jesus was saying was out of the temple of His life would flow the refreshing, life-giving, healing power of the Spirit about which the water and the prophecy spoke (Ezekiel 47:1-9). When Christ lives in us and given full ownership to rule and reign over us, this river or spring will flow from the very center of our being, just as Jesus told us. When Christ is enthroned in the temple of our hearts, His Spirit will flow out to those around us, bringing us new life. John the Apostle clarifies that the Spirit at that time had not yet been given due to Jesus not yet being glorified (v. 39). The Spirit had only come upon certain individuals for specific purposes. What God promised was that His Spirit would come into the lives of all people:

28And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days (Joel 2:28-29).

There are four conditions to the John 7 passage to drinking deeply of the Spirit of God:

1) You have to have a thirst for more of God. Are you satisfied with life as it is? Our Lord loves to be pursued by hungry and thirsty people. Do not let Christ go until your thirst is quenched. Receive all that God has for you. Persevere in prayer for the Spirit to come and fill you.

2) You have to come to the person of Christ. Jesus said, “Let him come to me.” This invitation is not about church or devotion to religious acts; this is about coming to Christ Himself. Do you have a love for the person of Christ? When Peter three times denied knowing Jesus, after the resurrection, the Lord restored him by asking three times if Peter loved Him (John 21:15-17), a question that each of us should answer. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you again all that Christ has done for you so that you may fall head-over-heels in love with the person of Christ.

3) You will need to drink. This statement speaks of the act of receiving the Spirit by an open, transparent heart. Vulnerability and honesty are the hallmarks of a heart that is ready to be filled with the Spirit. There is a conscious decision of the will to go God's way instead of our way. It speaks of submission to follow the Shepherd wherever He leads.

4) Whoever believes in Christ (v. 38) will receive. Christ is not talking about intellectual assent to the facts of the Gospel. It is a sincere, settled, inner belief that allows a different set of moral values to affect one's character. Jesus calls it being born-again (John 3:3). What does it mean to believe? If this is one of the conditions that God requires, we need to scrutinize it. Intellectual agreement to the facts of Christianity means to acknowledge that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, but an intellectual agreement is not what it means to believe in the biblical sense of the word. So then, what does it mean to believe?

Years ago, the great acrobat Karl Wallenda, otherwise known as Blondin, stretched a wire across Niagara Falls, a distance of around 1,000 feet, and offered to carry anyone across in a wheelbarrow. Many believed that he could do it, but there were no takers. To get in the wheelbarrow and be taken across the chasm—that is the difference between intellectual agreements of what God has done in Christ and personal trust. A rational assessment recognizes that the wheelbarrow will get a person over the Niagara Falls, but the person doesn't get in and trust someone to take him over the Falls. Personal trust, or belief in Christ, is releasing the will to be led by God and to live for Him by obeying His voice.

These four are the most critical conditions in living out a life of faith, being guided and empowered by the Spirit. Every one of us who believes in Christ has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), but the question is, "Does the Holy Spirit have us?" The most attractive people in the world are those who are full and led by God's Spirit. To be filled with God's Spirit, you need to displace yourself from the seat of authority in your life. The most significant example to us of one filled with the Spirit is the Lord Jesus Christ. May you be found in Him. Keith Thomas

Shortened from the more extended study at the following link: To All Who Are Thirsty


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