Many Christians follow all the "right" rules and carefully live "the Christian life," but inside they are wondering: Is this it? Is this all there is? I experienced that same emptiness in 1976 when as a young Christian I realized that doing the right things brought temporary happiness but not deep, satisfying joy.
In those early days of my walk with God, I could only see Him from a distance. Even though I was doing what I thought He required of me, I still felt that I needed change in my life. I was searching, but I didn't know what I was searching for.
One Friday morning in February, I was driving to work and feeling particularly discouraged. My husband and I had argued before we left home, something that happened quite often. I felt I couldn't go on any longer with the way things were. Out of sheer desperation I called out to God. I remember crying out: "God, something is missing. I don't know what it is, but something is missing."
To my surprise, I heard the audible voice of God that morning in my car. He called my name and spoke to me about patience.
From that moment, I knew with certainty that God was going to do something about my situation. I didn't know what He would do or when, but I knew that He was about to move in my life. Only a few hours later Jesus filled me with the presence of the Holy Spirit in a way that I had never before experienced.
More than likely, you can reflect on an encounter with God that was more satisfying than any other event in your life. But if that moment was years ago, or even yesterday, then you are missing out on the rich pleasure that comes from daily fellowship with the Father through His Holy Spirit. The Lord says, "I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me early and diligently shall find Me" (Prov. 8:17, The Amplified Bible).
There are too many unhappy born-again and so-called Spirit-filled believers who are without knowledge of what to do about their dry, unfulfilled lives. I say "so-called" because to be filled is to remain full of the Spirit of God by acknowledging Him and pursuing His ways daily.
It is possible to fill a glass with water without filling it to full capacity. Likewise, when we are born again we have the Holy Spirit in us, but we may not yet be totally filled with the Spirit. In Acts 1:8 Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will also come upon us, giving us power (ability, efficiency and might) to be Christ's witnesses to the ends of the earth. Acts 4:31 reports that when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke the Word of God "with freedom and boldness and courage."
Before I was immersed in the Holy Spirit, I was very busy doing things for God, yet I did not have enough power in my everyday life to be what God wanted. I desired to be like Jesus, but I had no power to successfully handle the ordinary events of my life. Although I was born again, I needed something more.
It does not please God when people leave Him out of their daily lives and then work religious formulas to try to appease Him. I regret all the years I wasted being religious, just going through the motions, following formulas, and not having the revelation that Jesus was alive in me through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I urge you to begin taking full advantage of your blood-bought relationship with God, through Jesus. Don't tuck God away for emergencies and Sunday mornings. Allow Him to work freely in every area of your life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Above all, don't be afraid of new things--just make sure they are biblical. I believe that God desires to take you to new heights in Him. He is knocking at the door of your heart. Will you open it wide and welcome Him? If you have not been providing a good home for the Holy Spirit, He has been missing you--and whether you know it or not, you have been missing Him.
Joyce Meyer is an internationally recognized minister and author of 54 books, including the best sellers Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind (Warner Faith), and her most recent, Knowing God Intimately: Being as Close to Him as You Want to Be (Warner Faith, 2003). She is the founder of Life In The Word Inc. and the host of Life In The Word radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide.