9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13 ESV)
Jesus shared the story of a man’s persistence in asking a friend for bread in the middle of the night. Although the hour was late, the bold determination of the request provided what was needed to set before a weary traveler. (See Luke 11:5-8).
There are times in our lives where we may feel like that person knocking on the friend’s door for help. God certainly hears our cries and knows our needs before we ask Him ( Luke 12:30-31 ). However, for various reasons, the answer we seek may be delayed. The Father’s heart is that we will trust Him completely and grow in maturity, to the “measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13). This maturity requires our childlike trust in Him, with a full assurance of His goodness even when we don’t yet see the answer.
While there are a variety of legitimate material concerns, our greatest search should be for the kingdom of God. When the pursuit of God consumes us, it helps all of life’s priorities to fall into proper order. The bills will still need to be paid, but we will have a far greater treasure – intimacy with the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit is this good Gift whom our Father gives us (Luke 11:13). I am so thankful for the day as a child that I was baptized in the Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Yet I am more thankful for His continuing, abiding presence each day. He is someone I treasure and I cultivate a relationship with. And I seek to be filled more with Him and learn to hear His voice and obey.
Seeking something requires effort. If you have ever lost a key or item of value at home, you might go room by room until you find it. A person may seek a new job by going to interviews and filling out applications. Goals in life generally must be sought after to be attained.
The Holy Spirit is not obtained through our works, but He is pleased when we desire Him enough to make time for Him. In those prayer times when we come, not with a list of needs, but with a simple yearning in our hearts for God – those are the times that open a door for walking more in His fullness. We will find the Holy Spirit is waiting there for us – and that He has desired to be with us all this time. Let it become your heart’s cry, your yearning, your passion … to seek the Holy Spirit. There will never be a day when you can say, “I am so full of the God’s Spirit that I need no more.”
Faith helps us in our seeking. Individuals experiences of God’s presence can vary. Sometimes a person may feel a strong sense of His Spirit or display a physical reaction. Other times, we have no feeling, but we can know that Jesus’ promise is true: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Facing challenges in the midst of darkness, and knowing that God is present will bring a greater maturity in our lives. Sometimes I have shared about Jesus with unbelievers when they were quite intoxicated and the atmosphere didn’t seem anything like a church setting. Taking those steps of faith and knowing that God will be there to touch those individuals will bring a power on your life.
So, as we continually seek to be filled with more of the Spirit, may we allow Him to change us and use us for His glory. We are to be overflowing vessels, with “rivers of living water” flowing out of us to transform the nations. (John 7:37-39). If we make being filled with the Spirit as a mere personal experience for ourselves, we become like a stagnant pond with no outflow of water. Just as Jesus was anointed by the Spirit to do good works and set the captives free, so are we to do, serving in His name.