Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Filled With The Spirit

Speaking to the Ephesian Christians, Paul wrote, "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). Being filled with the Spirit is not a once-for-all experience, but one He intends to be repeated. On the Day of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4). A few days later, in a dramatic prayer meeting, they had such an experience again (Acts 4:31).

The filling of the Spirit implies being given power and boldness for God's service, for strength to meet particular crises, or for everyday Spirit-led living. We experience renewal when we pray, "Lord, fill me today with your Spirit. Keep my eyes on you." The filling of the Spirit is an experience to be repeated as necessary in the life of each believer. The literal thought in Ephesians is "Keep on being filled."

The Holy Spirit is not a package on a string let down from heaven. He is not a liquid, nor are we a cup. He is a person. It follows then, that to "be filled" depends on our relationship to Him. It is not a matter of receiving more of him but of opening more of ourselves to a certain and stronger relationship with Him. It is a matter of desiring Him to more fully occupy, guide, and control every are of our lives. Then, whatever life brings us, His power is more evident in us. His joy and peace control our emotions. Overall, He makes us effectively fruitful for Him.

Our inner thoughts and motives are guided when we are filled with the Spirit. All we are and have is subject to His control. The test as to whether or not you are filled with the Spirit is not "Have you received an external sign or have been given a particular gift of the Spirit?" The test is rather "Have you given yourself wholly and without reservation to God?" (Rom. 12:1) Are you genuinely willing that He should control your life, absolutely and entirely?

Many believers come to a point of utter frustration in their service for the Lord simply because they fail to realize the need to be filled with the Spirit if they are to act in God's power. Just as we cannot save ourselves apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, neither can we live the life of victory or serve the Lord effectively without the Spirit.

When we learn to trust Him fully and allow Him to work through us, He frees us from the frustration of trying to accomplish spiritual and eternal results solely through our human ability- or more properly, inability.

It is the Holy Spirit who delivers us from the power of sin: "Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

Through the Holy Spirit we come to know Christ, and by the Holy Spirit's power we live and grow in Christ, in the service of the King and in the fellowship of His church. Paul gives an illumination summary:
Be filled with the Spirit (keep on being filled).
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:18-20.)

Paul E. Little, Know What You Believe, pg. 90-91

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