"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38)
The second step is also found in the word "repent", a change of mind from that attitude that loves sin and indulges in sin, to that attitude that renounces sin. This is the second step toward the baptism with the Holy Spirit: renounce all sin. Here we touch upon one of the most vital obstacles to receiving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and we must make a clean-cut choice between the Holy Spirit and unholy sin. We cannot have both. It is at this point that many people fail of the blessing. They hold on to something in their inmost hearts that they more or less know is not pleasing to God.
If we are to receive the Holy Spirit, there must be a very honest and thoroughly heart searching. We cannot do satisfactory searching ourselves; God must do it. If we wish to receive the Holy Spirit, we should go alone to God and ask Him to search us thoroughly and bring to light anything that displeases Him (Psalm 139:23-24). Then we should wait for Him to do it. Oftentimes it is what we are pleased to call a "small sin" that shuts us out of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In reality there are no small sins. There are sins about small things, but every sin is an act of rebellion against God, no matter how small it seems.
If there is anything that always comes up when you get nearest to God, that is the thing that should be put away at once. Many of us do things that we have persuaded ourselves are perfectly right, but that every time when we get nearest to God, these things come up to trouble our conscience. These must be dealt wit in the light of God.
If, after patient and honest waiting, nothing is brought to light, we may conclude there is nothing of this kind in the way, and proceed to the next steps. But we should not conclude this too quickly. The sin that hinders often appears very small and insignificant.
Spirit of God, You search the depths of God and You search my heart as well. I ask You to bring to light anything in my life that hinders Your fullness, no matter how small it may seem to me. I will stay before the throne of God and listen for Your voice. Amen.
~R. A. Torrey~