Paul said to you: “Be filled with the Spirit of God!” (Ephesians 5:18)
Christianity offers the Spirit of God. The Spirit is not just power, like plugging in your mobile device. It is not mystical thoughts emanating from the great beyond that teaches one thing to you and something else to the person standing next to you.
Being filled with God’s Spirit is a relationship. If you lived during the times of the Old Testament, God related to you through the Law and the Prophets. If you lived during the time of Jesus, you would see great miracles.
Jesus said that it was better that He leave so that you could have the Spirit.
You can be filled with the Holy Spirit because you have been forgiven of sin. God is holy and He can’t dwell in an unholy vessel. Because of the blood of Christ, you have been forgiven.
You can now be filled with the Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit has nothing to do with how good you are or what great deed you have performed – you have been made holy by grace.
Paul does write: “Be filled!” You decide whether or not you want to be filled. You are saved, the Spirit of God is in you, but have you decided to be filled with God’s Spirit?
There is a difference between receiving the gift of the Spirit and being filled. I have a gift sitting on my desk right now that I never use. I also have a gift on my desk that I drink coffee out of every morning.
Being filled with God’s Spirit is an active engagement in a relationship with God that manifests in the five symptoms below:
- You have a growing sense of your errant/sinful thoughts and actions, and at the same time have a sense of peace in the forgiveness of God. The Apostle Paul said at the end of his life that he was the worst of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
- You argue for God and not against God. This is subtle. Paul writes at the end of his life that he fought the good fight and kept his faith. Walking with Jesus means challenge, questions, and sometimes defeat. Being filled with the Spirit is an active faith undergirded and strengthened through difficulty.
- You delight in God. Prayer becomes your favorite food. This food doesn’t have calories, but prayer will keep the weight of life from encumbering hope.
- You are a witness for the goodness and greatness of God. Trials do not create discord in your soul; they elevate you to possibility.
- You forgive yourself and others. The mark of fullness in the Spirit is forgiving self and others. Laying aside self-condemnation and other-condemnation is a “fullness” symptom.
Ask to be filled with the Spirit. In the Greek, “Be filled with the Spirit” is continuous action. I often ask God to fill me with His Spirit – after prayer, before I speak, during a conversation, and while riding my bike.
Consider that you have one million dollars. You don’t carry it around in your pocket. Sometimes you go to the bank for cash, you may use a debit card, a charge card or PayPal. You have constant withdrawals based upon the fullness of your account.
With God you have an unlimited balance.