Yesterday I preached a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. You can check it out on our YouTube page. Today, I thought I’d share some distinctions on what it means to be filled with the Spirit and how we can be filled.
This reality of being filled is not to be confused with being “baptized” with the Holy Spirit. My biblical understanding of “baptism” in the Holy Spirit is when a non-believer becomes saved and is given new life in Christ. When this happens, the new believer is “baptized” with the Spirit. God’s Spirit comes and lives in the person. Therefore, all believers have been “baptized” with the Spirit at the moment they are saved.
Being filled is different. Let’s look at what it means to be “filled”:
First, being “filled” with the Spirit does not make you a Super-Christian. There are not two separate categories for Christians. There does not exist anywhere in the New Testament separate categories for “ordinary” and “super” Christians. The only two categories that the Bible differentiates between is lost and saved. But, as sinful people, we love to create categories and distinctions. This way of thinking ultimately leads to jealousy, pride, and divisiveness.
Second, we are all in the process of growing closer to Christ. This is called sanctification. We are all getting closer and closer to Jesus as we grow in Him. Yes, some are closer than others. Yes, some experience a oneness and closeness with Jesus that others have not yet felt. But there is no categorical distinction. Also, different believers can grow in different ways. For instance, one can grow in knowledge but not in holiness. Another can grow in holiness but not in knowledge. Another may grow in their fellowship with God but not their knowledge of Scripture. Additionally, there are single experiences which may accelerate our growth in Christ. These experiences are typically found in conjunction with bible study, prayer, and worship. They are all essential aspects of growth.
Paul tells the Ephesians: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” 5:18
The literal translation of this phrase is, “Be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.” It is a present-imperative (command) that Paul says that we should constantly be doing. This is an event that can, and often does, happen over and over in a person’s life. Stephen, a deacon, was characterized as a man “full of the Spirit and wisdom.” He always seemed to be this way. It was his character.
So…How do we become filled with the Spirit?
(1) Ask the Father to forgive your sin – We are sinners both by nature and choice. We sin all the time. Even though Jesus has covered our sin by his death and resurrection, we still need to confess our sin daily so that we can ‘reset’ our walk. When we don’t, we have a barrier that stands between us and Christ that we have erected. We need to daily confess our sins in order to be able to be filled with the Spirit.
(2) Ask Him to give you the desire to love him and do his will – We will not always desire to know God. We just won’t. We are sinners and we will have emotions and feelings in our lives and days where we just won’t have a desire to love him. It is in these dark days that we must beg and plead to for Him to give us this desire.
(3) Wait for him to fill you with His spirit – This often comes through prayer times and scripture reading times. When you’re done you feel “closer” to him. You are being filled up during these times.
The good news is that all of us can be filled with the Spirit is we desire it. And if we don’t desire it, we can ask and He’ll give it. What a deal!