And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit DESCENDING, and REMAINING on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. John 1:33.
Receiving the Spirit may be a great experience, but retaining the Spirit is what counts. It may be common for the Spirit to descend, but not so common has been the retention of the Spirit.
John the Baptist was given the crucial sign that was to distinguish the Messiah from the masses who were going to pass through his Ministry in the Jordan River. The sign was this: that upon Him the Spirit would not only descend but alsoremain.
We have had ‘revival’ programmes during which the Spirit has descended; but a week after, there has been little sign left in the lives of the people, of the Holy Spirit that had descended powerfully in that revival. He descended but did not remain,because there had been no altar to receive His fire; no dry land for the feet of the Dove of Heaven (Genesis 8:8-9).
Sometimes He descends so powerfully on a woman that she rolls all over, under the power of His anointing, screaming in tongues. By the next morning, the Holy One has had to flee, smoked out of her life by a flaming tongue. He descends, but never abides.
It is not sufficient to fast and pray and hold revival vigils at which we beg His descent. We have to prepare heart-altars to receive Him when He shall have descended, else all our efforts become a waste, since a week after, we would need to stage another Revival at which to beg Him again to descend.
It makes much news when He descends; but alas the shame when He departs, because He cannot abide!
What will distinguish us gloriously from the mass in Jordan is the same mark that distinguished the Master; not merely the glorious descent of the Spirit, but much more His remanence. Not how often the Spirit descends on a people, with all the glamour that often attends such an experience, but whether He remains at all.
So much effort is put into seeking His descent, but little is done about the preparations of heart that should ensure that He remains. May we have the mark that distinguishes in Jordan! When next He descends, may we ensure that He remains.
“Grieve not the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30). May He not depart once more to return no more.
From The Preacher’s diary.