There is a reason why many believers are not filled with the Holy Spirit. They are trying to earn it. They are trying to be worthy of Him. Multitudes of sincere people in many religions too are seeking for the forgiveness of their sins in the same way. Why donít they get forgiveness? It is because they are trying to earn it.
How did you receive the forgiveness of your sins? Did you earn it or deserve it? A day came in your life when you realized that you would never deserve Godís forgiveness. You came to Jesus then, not as a Christian, but as a sinner. And your sins were forgiven immediately. We must come in the same way to receive the fullness of the Spirit.
There are many believers today who are fasting and praying and tarrying to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing wrong with doing any of these things. They are all good. But if you do any of these things in order to make yourself worthy to receive the fullness of the Spirit, then you are on the wrong track.
When you donít receive the Spiritís fullness, you may even question God saying, "Lord, I have fasted and prayed and waited. Why havenít you filled me?" But you can never earn or deserve the Holy Spirit, even as you can never earn or deserve the forgiveness of your sins. Both of these are Godís gifts. And you canít pay Him for either. You have to take them free - or you will never get them.
Godís gifts are all free, but man makes the mistake of trying to pay God for them and so he does not receive any of them. If you try to make yourself worthy to receive Godís gifts, you cannot receive them. This could perhaps be the main reason why you have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was on earth, the Pharisees thought they deserved the forgiveness of sins more than anyone else. But they didnít get it - and they went to Hell. On the other hand, notorious sinners like Mary Magdalene received the forgiveness of sins immediately. A thief who had lived a life of crime was forgiven in a moment and went to Paradise the very night he was crucified.
God gives His best gifts to those who donít deserve them. Those who came to work in the vineyard at the eleventh hour, knew that they deserved nothing and so got paid first. But those who had come earlier, who felt they deserved their wages, ended up last.
In the story of the prodigal son, we read that the father had a ring on his hand. One day, he took it off and gave it to his younger son who had wasted all his money. Why didnít he give it to his elder son? It was because the elder son was self-righteous. In manís eyes, it was the elder son who deserved that ring, but the father gave it to his younger son.
Thatís Godís way. He does things like that to humble the pride of man, so that no-one can ever boast in His presence. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.