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The Filling of the Holy Spirit

Is the cup half empty or half full?  Doesn’t that argument get old?  However, when it comes to serving God, and living in this world, shouldn’t we all want to be full?  The Bible teaches us that those who feed on the Lord Jesus Christ will never hunger or thirst (Matthew 5:6, John 7:37-39).  In fact, Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” What does that mean?  John gives the answer saying, “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

There is something about the Holy Spirit that is “filling” to our soul.  We have a spiritual thirst for communion with God. We may not thirst to deny ourselves, take up our cross, follow Jesus, make disciples, become a servant, or worship in spirit and in truth… but we ought to have a thirst for a relationship with God.  There is an old Christian music song that puts it like this: “There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us and a restless soul that’s searching.”

If you are not a Christian, don’t you feel an aching in your chest?  Can’t you feel that something’s missing?  Before I became a Christian I felt something wasn’t right.  I knew I needed to follow God with my whole heart.  I needed to surrender to His will so I could commune with Him fully.  There was an emptiness inside me that was longing for fulfillment.  Therefore, I followed the pattern of the New Testament church and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2, 8, 9, 10, 16, 18, 19, etc.).  After that I was reminded regularly, through my own personal study and through other Christians, that my life had meaning and I was compelled to tell others about Christ.  Where did that longing come from and why did I receive it?

If you are a child of God, then you have already found that only God alone can satisfy this longing for communion.  This is why He sent His Holy Spirit so that we would never have to be alone or empty (John 14:15-31, 16:5-15).  When I feed upon the word of God, when I pray regularly, when I fellowship with other Christians, and when I worship God in spirit and in truth, I am literally spiritually filled to the brim.  David may have said it best when he said, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).  The sons of Korah rightly sang, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for You, O Lord” (Psalm 42:1).

If we want the Holy Spirit to fill us, calm us, strengthen us, and empower us… then we have to seek out that true fellowship of God.  We have to surrender to Him.  There is no replacement for this “God-shaped hole” except God himself.   This was part of His design and plan from the beginning.  We are given the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38, Romans 8, John 3:5-8) but that initial “fill-up” is just the beginning.  Do not quench the Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19).  Essentially Paul is saying don’t put the fire out!  Keep a full tank, because in this world of darkness you will need it!

We might choose to focus on the positive things like salvation and sanctification (Galatians 5:22-23, John 15:1-5, Romans 8:4, I John 3:1-3).  However, we are not inside Heaven’s gates yet and we still have to live in a world of sin.  We are being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2) to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  The Holy Spirit will spend the rest of our lifetime attempting to train us (I Corinthians 2:9-3:2, I John 2:27), guide us (Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:18), and giving us assurance (Romans 8:16, Galatians 4:6, I John 3:24, 4:13) to overcome the world just like Jesus.  In order for us to enjoy those blessings we cannot run on an empty tank!  We need the Holy Spirit to fill us up!

We have already noted in this series that we are told to “walk in the Spirit” (Romans 6:4, 8:1-4, Galatians 5:16-25, Ephesians 2:10, 4:2, 5:15-18) because a Christian who tries to resist the Spirit will not be successful, like kicking against the goads.  We must not “grieve” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30, Psalm 51), meaning we must not try to cast Him out of our lives.  It is a terrific responsibility to bear the seal of God inside of us.  After all, as Christians, we are now the temple of God (I Corinthians 6:19-20). 

With all of this in mind we must know that having the Holy Spirit of God living inside us has some unavoidable consequences.  Satan will attack us.  The world will discourage us.  Immature Christians will disappoint us.  Our own sin will entangle us.  But in all of this we must NEVER give up because God is with us!  In fact, He is in us!  Let’s stay full of the Holy Spirit of God!  Have a great week!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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