Let me first say that I am not a theologian nor am I an expert on the Bible. I am simply like you, and I am trying to be everything that God wants me to be.
I can’t solve all of your problems with the wave of my Bible; I can only relate to you how my life is continually changing because of my willingness to surrender everything to the Lord.
You can’t have everything God wants for you until you’re at least willing to do that, that much I know.
As the online managing editor at Charisma Media, I literally see between 20 and 30 new books come across my desk each week. From individuals who are hoping to get exposure for their Christian books in our magazine or on our websites to public relations people from publishing houses sending galley copies and emails requesting interviews with their authors, I always get a healthy dose of the latest teachings out there in book form.
And, over the past year or so, I have begun to become a very avid reader. At lunchtime at work, co-workers can attest to seeing my with my nose buried in a book. With as many as I see each week, I always pray to God for discernment. I ask Him, “Lord, please don’t let me read anything that will displease you or that will be a waste of my time. Bring me material that will be beneficial in my walk with You and that will help me in my ministry to spread the gospel for You.”
In the last eight months, I have read books like A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God; Mike Bickle’s Growing in Prayer and The Pleasures of Loving God; Jennifer LeClaire’s The Next Great Move of God (a book I will blog about soon), Satan’s Deadly Trio and The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel; Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s The Mystery of the Shemitah; R.T. Kendall’s Holy Fire; Todd Starnes’ Godless America; and Perry Stone’s Deciphering End Times Prophetic Codes, all of which can be found here.
Another book that impacted me greatly was one titled, Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth. I wrote a two-part series about that which you can read here and here. I also have read Dr. David Jeremiah’s Agents of the Apocalypse and Dr. Ben Carson’s One Nation.
As with this fast-paced generation and society, we’re all trying to keep up with the next big thing, even in the Christian realm. But with all of the new ones that come my way, it’s a book that was published five years ago that I recently read that has impacted me the most. And I’m not saying that simply because the author is a friend of mine. The fact that I know him and that he is my friend is simply a blessing.
In the office one day, I ran across a copy of Lee Grady’s The Holy Spirit is Not For Sale. (I hope Lee forgives me for lifting the title of this particular blog. I borrowed it from the subhead of his book. At least I used quotation marks and I am attributing it now, according to the rules of ethical journalism).
I am a firm believer in divine appointment. Again, keep in mind that I come across many books weekly, but my prayer is for God to prompt me about what to read. To me, this was divine appointment because I have been diligently seeking the Holy Spirit in recent weeks. I am saved and I do speak in tongues, but I’m looking for a fresh indwelling of the Holy Ghost that will envelope me and overwhelm my life. I mean, I’m all in; and I want everything the Holy Spirit has to give me.
One of the first steps, I believe, was to read The Holy Spirit is Not for Sale. R.T. Kendall, who wrote the forward for the book, said he could not put it down, and that it is compulsive reading. I second that notion.
Pastor Jack Hayford said of the book, “No more discerning voice speaks with such clarity and compassion as Lee Grady’s. Today’s church needs not only to hear but to heed the wisdom set forth in this book.” As someone who really respects Jack Hayford, I whole-heartedly concur.
As someone who has been “saved” since 1989, I thought I had spent the past 25-plus years of my life serving the Lord. As it turns out, I have discovered that a great deal of that time has been wasted. It’s not that I haven’t read the Bible or that I haven’t prayed or that I haven’t attended and served in church during that period. It’s simply that I haven’t taken advantage of the gifts that God has for everyone.
As I said before, I do speak in tongues, but I haven’t been using my “prayer language,” as my blessed mother Florence calls it, to edify myself. I haven’t allowed the Holy Spirit to direct me in many parts of my life, and it’s because of that I have experienced many disappointments and failures—some with my career and some with my personal life.
One of the most intriguing parts of The Holy Spirit is Not for Sale comes in Chapter 12, titled, “How to Have Your Own Personal Pentecost.” Inside that chapter is a subsection titled, “What is Your Spiritual Temperature?” When answering that query, there are 10 questions you need to ask yourself. I have, and the answers are in parentheses:
1. Have you broken all ties to your sinful past? (not yet)
2. Are you ruthlessly dealing with all known sin in your life? (yes)
3. Are you grieved by the blatant sinfulness of the culture around you? (Yes, adamantly grieved)
4. Are you pursuing the things of God with more passion than other personal interests? (Yes, finally)
5. Are you intimate with God? (diligently working on it)
6. Do you harbor unforgiveness? (unfortunately, yes, and I’m repenting)
7. Do you need an attitude adjustment? (everyone does in some ways)
8. Does your tongue need an examination? (it’s gotten much better with prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance)
9. What’s happening in your most private areas? (As many are, I’m battling and God’s prevailing)
10. Do you have compassion for those who don’t know Jesus (I do now more than ever)
Lee says, “The Holy Spirit is sensitive and he can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). This means we can do things that cause Him to withdraw His presence and blessing in our lives. To quench the Spirit is to throw cold water on His flames.
He also says, “I believe we quench the Holy Spirit in many ways. One is with doubt and intellectual pride. If we base all our decisions on what we know, we leave no room for the realm of faith. The Spirit speaks to us in spiritual terms that cannot be understood by the natural man. As long as we live in that realm we will never be filled with the Spirit’s power.”
Amen and amen. I’ve spent a great deal of my life relying on myself and what I know, and not what the Holy Spirit wants to teach me. Fear can also quench the Spirit. Ask yourself, are you afraid of the supernatural? Do you really believe that the Holy Spirit can give you the power to heal and even raise people from the dead (yet another blog to come)?
“The Holy Spirit’s work can seem strange to us. But we must not let fear stop us from embracing His work,” Lee says. “We must be people of faith who expect God to do miracles.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I want to be. And, I never want the Holy Spirit to want to withdraw from me. That’s why I believe we all should be seeking a life of purity and holiness and not a life of selfish gain and decadent living.
While many Christian leaders write with a voice of condemnation, that’s not Lee’s thing. In The Holy Spirit is Not For Sale, he simply reminds us charismatics of why we profess what we do and why we need to be led by the purifying fire of the Holy Ghost on a daily basis.
It’s time, as Lee says, to “stop the funny business” and for the church to get return to integrity and discipline. Let’s all seek a fresh indwelling of the Holy Spirit and led Him guide us every day in everything we do. Let us, as believers, show the world the character of Jesus. We will stumble along the way, but let the Holy Spirit correct us, repent, and move forward without compromise.
It’s time, in other words, to surrender ALL to the Spirit; and by ALL I mean everything we have inside of us.
After all, the Holy Spirit is not for sale. And as I always say, “there is that.”