The general belief (among Christians) is that the Holy Spirit comes and remains in the Christian at the moment of belief. However, as I’ve read more about the Holy Spirit’s presence and work throughout the Bible, I’ve found that it’s more complex than that.
Acts 5:32 adds to the layer of complexity involved in the Holy Spirit’s work and presence in the life of a Christian. It reads: We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
In Acts, we find that there is a contingency. God gives the Holy Spirit – but He gives to a specific group of people – those who obey Him.
Just by logic, we can conclude that people who are disobedient to God do not have the Holy Spirit. And what is obedience? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s listening to and following Him. It’s keeping His commandments and honoring Him.
We have to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit, is well, HOLY! The Holy Spirit isn’t going to dwell and live in just anyone or anywhere. Conditions must be met, and one of those conditions is obedience to God.
David was a man after God’s own heart, and yet in his disobedience, he prayed something so profound, he says “God, please do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”
David was no stranger to the power of the Holy Spirit, and he was also not a stranger to the absence of the Holy Spirit either, He had watched Saul fall into complete disarray – tormented by an evil spirit when God’s Holy Spirit was removed. Saul hadn’t always been that way. Before being crowned king of Israel, the Holy Spirit fell on him with such power that people asked the question, “Is Saul among the prophets?” But Saul wasn’t obedient to the commands of God and as a result suffered the consequences.
Let us not take the Holy Spirit for granted. Let us not assume that the presence of God will remain with us despite how we live, think, or speak. Let us not grieve His Spirit and resist Him through disobedience, but instead, let us run our race with endurance, trusting God, loving Him, obeying Him, and honoring (with reverence) the privilege of the Holy Spirit’s presence.