- (Photo: Dan Delzell)
Jesus came to provide redemption. The Holy Spirit was sent to reveal redemption. Man is a pro at resisting what Jesus came to provide and what the Holy Spirit came to reveal. Just look around you. How many people do you know who are resisting the Holy Spirit?
A person who is resisting the Holy Spirit is standing guard at the door of his heart to make sure that God is not welcomed inside. He is not about to hand over control of his life to God. It is largely a control issue. Man's sinful condition makes him obsessive in this regard.
Just look at the first Christian martyr for example. Stephen was brought up on charges by obsessive individuals. They couldn't stand the message about Jesus which Stephen was delivering. So they picked a fight with him and brought him up on charges.
Stephen was "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5) The Holy Spirit enabled Stephen to respond to their charges with a beautiful discourse. At the end of his message he proclaimed, "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (Acts 7:51)
In a nutshell, that is why so many people live without Jesus Christ. They resist the Holy Spirit and thereby remain in their unregenerate condition. When man stops resisting, his spiritual conversion can then take place. The Holy Spirit was sent into our world to make Jesus known to people on a personal level. Man is way too stubborn to come to this knowledge on his own. Natural man doesn't have a clue about how the blood of Jesus is needed to wash away his sin. It's just a bunch of "religious mumbo jumbo" to natural man.
It is also is highly offensive to natural man to be told that he is not good enough to get to God on his own. It is very humbling to be told that you are a sinner and in need of redemption. When natural man hears such a proposition, he sometimes go berserk! Just look what they did when Stephen told them about Jesus.
Stephen said, "Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him." (Acts 7:52) This sent them over the edge. "When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:54-55)
It is one thing for you to be shown reality in the spiritual world by the Holy Spirit. It's another thing altogether when you begin telling people what has been revealed to you. Stephen told them and it didn't go well. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him." (Acts 7:56-58) When man resists the Holy Spirit, he also resists those who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
"While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had done this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:59-60) Natural man will never ask the Lord to receive his spirit. Natural man will never believe in Jesus on his own. He needs the Person and the power of the Holy Spirit in order to believe. He needs to stop resisting the Holy Spirit.
When that happens by God's grace, miracles begin to happen. Man gets born again. Man meets Jesus for the first time. Up to that point, man had only heard people talk about this historical figure. Once he is converted, man knows Jesus personally and begins to walk with Him and follow Him. He stops resisting the Holy Spirit and actually begins to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. That is what the life of Christian discipleship is really all about.
How is it with you? Are you resisting the Holy Spirit? Here is how you know. If you are resisting the Holy Spirit, you are telling yourself you will not surrender your life to Jesus and accept His free gift of eternal life. You may be telling yourself it is all a myth. There may be other things that have led you to be so close-minded toward Christ. You are using those reasons to justify your position. There may be religious reasons; or personal reasons; or reasons that were ingrained in you as a child or as a church attender. Whatever the reason, it is not worth losing your soul over.
"Today is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) That will only happen when you stop resisting the Holy Spirit. It will happen when you, like Stephen, ask Jesus to receive your spirit; and forgive your sin; and take over control of your life. I know it is a lot to consider. But the One who is standing at the door of your heart is the very One who created your heart in the first place.
Jesus deserves to sit on the throne of your heart. It's up to you to decide who is going to be the king of your life. You can remain in control if you choose to do so. You can resist the Holy Spirit if you decide to keep doing that as well. You can live and die without Jesus Christ if that is really what you want to do. It is not God's desire that you do so, but He won't force you to stop resisting His gracious offer of salvation. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He won't force His way into a heart where He is not welcome.
The solution, should you choose it, is very simple. You can talk to God and say something like this: "Lord Jesus. Forgive my rebellion against You. I have been living as the king of my life. I now surrender that control to You. Wash away my sin with your blood which You shed for me on the cross. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Empower me to live for You. Amen."
If you sincerely visit with Jesus in this way, your life will be changed forever. You will be on the road of Christian discipleship. You will live your life for the Lord. When you die, you will go to heaven to join Stephen and millions of others who are already there. The choice is up to you. Will you keep resisting the Holy Spirit, or will you by faith receive Jesus Christ and His love and forgiveness?
Your response in this moment will either deepen your resistance, or begin the renewal that you so desperately need. I encourage you to be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do for you right now. You will be so glad you did.