“ I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49
To know God and to make Him known, you must know the Holy Spirit and experience the fullness of His power. To be controlled by the Holy Spirit is a foundational principle in the Christian life. A Spirit-filled life is not optional. It is a must for all Christians to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
It is therefore important to understand the difference of being indwelt of the Holy Spirit and be in filled by the Holy Spirit.
We receive the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit both by God’s grace. The filling of the Holy Spirit happens when we surrender our lives to Christ by faith. Indwelling comes only once. The Holy Spirit never leaves us. But even if the Holy Spirit is permanently with us, the filling of the Spirit is a decision we have to make moment by moment.
Much like a sailboat, many Christians opt to sail without hoisting the sail. It is only by the power of the wind that a sailboat can accomplish what it was designed for. Similarly, Christians without the power of the Holy Spirit cannot accomplish what we are designed for. We then end up living defeated lives because of our ignorance and refusal to avail of God’s power through the Holy Spirit.
Some people might think that a normal Christian life is about going to church on Sundays or praying to God when they feel like it. That’s not the case.
You have been bought with a price. Therefore you must do what is honorable and pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20). To do so requires the moment-by-moment enabling of the Holy Spirit.
If Christ is not in your life, you are a natural man. You are seated on the chair of your life. If you received Christ in your life but are still seated on the chair, you are a carnal Christian. You are still living in the flesh.
A normal Christian has Christ in seated on the chair. He surrenders everything to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
A Spirit-filled Christian allows the Holy Spirit to take control of the car, we will be directed in the way where we can grow in Christ-likeness. But if we insist of being in control, our life will continue to be difficult and hopeless.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). This is a command. We are told to walk in sync with the Holy Spirit and in obedience. When we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, it will be difficult for us to avoid the lusts of the flesh. You may still struggle with sin but do not be discouraged. The moment the Holy Spirit convicts you, confess and repent at once (John 1:9). When you are tempted, pause for three minutes to pray and ask God to be the one to control your response through His Spirit.
Whatever fills you controls you (Ephesians 5:18). If you are filled with wine, you are controlled by the spirit of wine. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are controlled by the Spirit of God. If the Holy Spirit is not controlling you, then something else is. Some are controlled by fear, shame, pleasure, wealth or social status. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command given to Christians for our good. It allows us to experience and enjoy the fullness of life.
How to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Everyday there are two natures fighting inside us. To overcome the sinful nature, we must choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Bear in mind that the nature you feed will ultimately win. You will constantly struggle with your old self but that should not stop you from choosing to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading. We must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and we must continually ask in faith to be filled. Galatians 2:20 reminds us that we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
So together, let us offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is the true and proper worship. To not to be conformed to the world, but to be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we will be able to prove what is God’s perfect will for us. (Romans 12:1-2)