If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” – Jesus (John 7:37-38)
Jesus used the term living water in John 4:10 to symbolize eternal life. Living water in 7:38 (above) refers to the Holy Spirit. Wherever the Holy Spirit is accepted, Jesus brings eternal life. (Related post: Thirsty?)
This summary caps my final review of the Spirit’s filling, taken from the following key verse:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery [wickedness]. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:18
The Apostle Paul contrasts the effects of alcohol here—associated with selfish desires and the old way of life—as a temporary high to being controlled by The Holy Spirit, which results in lasting joy.
Although I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in church services and in my own life, I haven’t dwelt on the following question until recently.
God’s ways can’t be pinned down to formulas, but He doesn’t leave us clueless either. Tony Evans suggests that Paul’s following remarks in Ephesians 5:19-21 explain the process of the Spirit’s filling:
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord: always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
(Paul also urges us to hold our own private worship services, Romans 12:1.)
How does this practically relate to Christians?
I don’t know about you, but in comparison to an inflated balloon when filled by the Holy Spirit, I admit—I rapidly deflate at times—spinning wildly before crashing to the ground (especially before my morning cup of coffee, or after too many cups!) Maybe that’s why we’re told to consistently meet together and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25). I for one need this!
In Christ—when controlled by the Holy Spirit—we have a higher and longer lasting remedy to depression, tension, or boredom. When filled, we benefit from the following results:
The Spirit’s filling brings peace and life (Galations 5:16-23). The quantity and frequency of submitting ourselves to the Spirit’s control directly relates to our spiritual growth. (Related post: Training or Trying)
God loves you! Come to Him right where you are . . . . I was blessed by Steve Rebus’ testimony. Here is a link to his page: http://steverebus.com/about/.
This is why it said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:14-17
Paul continues: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery [wickedness]. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” – vs. 18
A synonym for filling is control. Paul is contrasting the negative influence/control of alcohol to the positive influence/control of the Holy Spirit.
(Source: Tony Evans, The Promise)
Can you think of a time when you were spiritually asleep, drifting through life? What woke you up?
I’m learning a lot from this study and hope you are too. Next week I will explore the process of being filled and share an inspiring testimony from a brother blogger. So stay tuned!
Be blessed. Be filled . . . Rather, be filled and you will be blessed! 🙂
If you haven’t watched Billy Graham’s recent message, I encourage you to view it. His consistent, faithful witness is admirable.
“The Holy Spirit can be in you, and yet you can know very little of His power and influence. The issue we always have to deal with is not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, because we [Christians/believers] all have Him. The issue is how much He has of us . . . . The filling is crucial to experiencing the Spirit’s benefits . . . . The absence of this is spiritual defeat and, ultimately, disaster.” – Tony Evans
It is impossible to live the Christian life on our own (John 15:5).
When we were saved, we did not lose our sinful desires. (If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you know this is true.) I used to think: If I just try harder, then I will succeed in my Christian walk.
Self-improvement programs don’t work long-term (Romans 7:18-21). The only solution for the “flesh” (sinful desires) is crucifixion with Christ (Galations 2:20). Because the Christian life is a supernatural life, we need supernatural help. This is why God gave us the Holy Spirit—“He who is in you” (1 John 4:4).
Tony Evans writes: “The Spirit’s filling is for every believer . . . . We have to appropriate or claim it because it is not automatic. Every Christian has been baptized into the body of Christ, and every believer is indwelt by the Spirit. But not every Christian is filled with the Spirit. If we were, a command to be filled would not be needed.”
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit . . . .” – Ephesians 5:18
When filled with the Spirit, He enables us to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). He also empowers us to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).
I love Ephesians 1:18-21: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
How can a believer know he/she is filled with the Holy Spirit?
Next week—part 2—I will explore the meaning of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Have a great week!
I love the changes fall brings. Farmers’ Markets boast fresh produce. Traces of winter wheat peek their green blades through fertile fields. Bright pumpkins adorn porches. Sweet plum jam, pear cobbler, and wafts of cinnamon spiced cider linger in the kitchen. The extra hour of sleep is also nice. 🙂
But perhaps fall’s crowning splendor is the glowing foliage. It seems an oxymoron that these color-dyed leaves peak in beauty while simultaneously dying (fading away).
Likewise, when the believer dies by saying “no” to sin and instead follows God’s leading, the Holy Spirit’s beauty is released in that person’s life.
Like the wind, the Holy Spirit—the third Person of the Trinity—is invisible and intangible. Spirit in the Hebrew and Greek means “wind, breath.” He is the very wind, breath of God who exerts incredible power (Ephesians 3:16-20). But, unlike the wind, He is more than a powerful force just to be used. He is the invisible presence of the perfect loving God—whom we can know and relate to—residing in the believer. (Source: The Promise and Scripture)
The Holy Spirit isn’t here to bring attention to Himself, or to ourselves, but to glorify Christ (John 14:16). He desires to glorify God through our words and actions.
One role of the Spirit is to progressively conform the believer into Christ’s character (sanctification) from the inside-out. He’s in the business of disciplining, refining, and removing sin’s impurities. He prepares us for service here and for living eternally with Him. How does He do this? Tony Evans writes: “God will deal with us in a way that cracks open the hard shell of our sin-scarred soul to release our spirits to live under the control of His Holy Spirit.”
Ouch! But it’s for our own good. And, we have access to . . .
Trials are exhausting, but we can be encouraged because He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). But if we want the Spirit’s help maneuvering through life’s obstacle courses, we need to prioritize glorifying Christ since this is the Spirit’s main objective. The Spirit’s presence in the believer is ongoing. He is the source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23). He is in the business of change—changing our sin hardened hearts into an oasis of abundant life and freedom in Christ. Verses 23b-24 state: “Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – vs. 25
Is anything holding you back from experiencing the Holy Spirit’s release in your life?