Many people confess to believing in God’s existence but have yet to experience a true relationship with Him. Some might have even experienced His power through a miracle or blessing and think that God is with them. The truth is that they have received His blessings but have not yet received Him into their lives.
To believe in God or have His power working in our lives is something very different from having a true and meaningful relationship with Him. Even though blessings are always welcome, they are nothing compared to God living inside us. The baptism in the Holy Spirit enables us to have that level of intimacy with God, which is much more powerful than just receiving His blessings. The blessings become a consequence of a life dedicated to fulfilling His will, but not our reason for doing so.
When the Holy Spirit was poured upon the disciples, it was no coincidence that it happened on the Day of Pentecost – a day when people would traditionally present the first fruits of their harvest (or Tithe) at the Temple, as recognition that God came first in their lives. God wanted to show us that the Holy Spirit is only poured upon those who place Him first in their lives. The disciples who received the Holy Spirit were the ones who risked their lives in obedience to Jesus, who told them to stay in Jerusalem – the most dangerous city in which one could be a follower of Christ at that time. Many abandoned Him in fear of persecution, but the 120 people who remained and sacrificed their will were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
We must bear in mind that there is no favouritism in the Kingdom of God. Everybody has the same chance of establishing a relationship with Him. He cannot simply share a body with a person who wants nothing to do with Him. That is why only those who place Him first in their lives, above everything and everyone, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
It is God’s greatest desire to have a meaningful relationship with us, but He cannot force us to purify ourselves and follow Him. It is our responsibility to do so and He honours us when we take it upon ourselves to place Him high above all.