Within the last couple of months, I have been doing a lot of personal study on the Holy Spirit. I have been reading tons of blogs, articles, books, and watching hours of YouTube videos—I have been consuming content at an incredible rate. I have realized that there are a lot of things that I affirm about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, but I haven’t really desired to see manifested in my own life. I hope to blog more about this in the coming days, but for now I want to share about a little book that has helped me tremendously in my studies. And I only just read it last night!
The book is called How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer. It is a very short read as it is only about 60 pages or so, but it is filled with truths about the Third Person of the Trinity. Tozer writes plainly, yet powerfully. He is one of those theologians who can explain deep, theological truths to any Christian, irrespective of age or maturity. I truly love that about his works. I still think that The Knowledge of the Holy is one of the greatest books I have ever read as a Christian. Tozer helped explain the attributes of God in such a way that they moved from my head and into my heart. Through Tozer’s teaching, I began to see how the attributes of God actually shape the way we live as Christians. Likewise, in this book on the Holy Spirit, Tozer helps explain the implications of living a life completely surrendered to the Spirit.
He also is careful to explain who and what is the Holy Spirit. I think many Christians focus almost entirely on the work of the Holy Spirit and fail to know and appreciate His Person. After all, the Holy Spirit is just as much God as the Father and the Son. Tozer really challenged me to think harder about the person of the Holy Spirit according to the Word of God. I especially liked what he said about about the creeds in reference to the Holy Spirit:
If there were any divergence from the teachings of the Word of God I would not teach the creed; I would teach the Book, for the Book is the source of all authentic information. However, our fathers did a mighty good job of going into the Bible, finding out what it taught, and then formulating the creeds for us (page 14).
In other words, we need to be careful to not simply take someone’s word about what the Bible teaches. We need to study it ourselves like the Bereans did to see if what they teach is true. If it is, then great! Praise God! But if it isn’t, then the teaching must be rejected and those teachers need to be lovingly corrected and called to repentance. There are a lot of so-called “preachers” and “televangelists” out there making big claims about the Holy Spirit. I am not saying they are all bad or “of the devil,” but I think many of them are calling things “the work of the Holy Spirit” that simply aren’t. I think reading this book will help you to become more discerning of what you hear and read. It may even call into question some of the things you attribute to God, but are not from Him.
Friend, if you are serious about pursuing a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit then this book is a great place to start. But be warned; this pursuit will mean total surrender to Him. I’ll close my recommendation with a warning from Tozer himself:
Are you sure you want to be possessed by a spirit other than your own? Even though that spirit be the pure Spirit of God? Even though He be the very gentle essence of the gentle Jesus? Even though He be wisdom personified, wisdom Himself? Even though He be as loving as the heart of God (page 46)?