The great need of the Christian life is not behaving a certain way or cleaning up one’s language (though those will in fact come with a changed life). The great need of the Christian life is the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Last week I was working on writing an introduction to Andrew Murray’s book The Deeper Christian Life, and to help remind myself of its tremendous content, I sat down to reread it. While I love the book as a whole, there was a little section I thought I would share with you for it articulates the utter desperation we must have for the Spirit of God to indwell our lives.
Oh, friends, do not be content with that half Christian life that many of you are living, but say, “God wants it, God commands it; I must be filled with the Spirit.”
And look not only at God’s command, but look at the need of your own soul. You are a parent, and you want your children blessed and converted, and you complain that you haven’t power to bless them. You say, “My home must be filled with God’s Spirit.” You complain of your own soul, of times of darkness and of leanness; you complain of watchlessness and wandering. A young minister once said to me, “Oh, why is it I have such a delight in study and so little delight in prayer?”–And my answer was, “My brother, your heart must get filled with a love for God and Jesus, and then you will delight in prayer.” You complain sometimes that you cannot pray. You pray so short, you do not know what to pray, something drags you back from the closet. It is because you are living a life, trying to live a life, without being filled with the Spirit. Oh, think of the needs of the church around you. You are a Sunday School teacher; you are trying to teach a class of ten or twelve children, not one of them, perhaps, converted, and they go out from under you unconverted; you are trying to do a heavenly work in the power of the flesh and earth. Sunday School teachers, do begin to say, “I must be filled with the Spirit of God, or I must give up the charge of those young souls; I cannot teach them.”
Or, think of the need of the world. If you were to send out missionaries full of the Holy Ghost, what a blessing that would be! Why is it that many a missionary complains in the foreign field, “There I learned how weak and how unfit I am?” It is because the churches from which they go are not filled with the Holy Ghost. Someone said to me in England a few weeks ago, “They talk so much about the volunteer movement and more missionaries; but we want something else, we want missionaries filled with the Holy Ghost.” If the church is to come right, and the mission field is to come right, we must each begin with himself. It must begin with you. Begin with yourself and say, “O God, for Thy sake; O God, for Thy church’s sake; O God, for the sake of the world, help me! I must be filled with the Holy Ghost.”
Taken from The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray, from a chapter called “The Blessing Secured”