<<controlled by the Holy Spirit>>

This term is sometimes used of those Christians who are living God-honouring and divinely directed lives who are making a vital contribution to the Kingdom of God (Act 11:24). In contrast those living for themselves and not fully submitted or yielded to

Can you see the Spirit of God at work in the lives                                                of your fellow believers?

the Lord can be described as believers who have the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit may not have all of them.

All true believers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at salvation (Rom 8:9-11; 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19). It is up to the individual Christian to walk or live ‘in the Spirit’, being obedient to His direction by replacing the old sinful nature with the new (2 Cor 7:1; Gal 5:25; Eph 4:22-24). Unfortunately, many continue to walk under the dominance of their own soul without any concerted effort to submit to and obey the Holy Spirit, thus they are living carnally – ‘in the flesh’ – and not enjoying the abundant life of fellowship with Jesus that the Holy Spirit wants to develop – hence Spirit-filled (Jn 6:63, 10:10, 16:13; Rom 8:2,6,10; 2 Cor 3:6; Gal 6:8). We can’t have a close relationship with the divine and continue entrenched in the ways of Satan (2 Cor 6:14; Col 2:20). It is our responsibility to actively co-operate to remove from our lives what is self-directed and not pleasing to Him, so there is room for more of Him. If we are full of self, there isn't much room available for Him nor can we be subject to two masters at the same time (Mt 6:24). Through humble submission we should continually be monitoring our lives so “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn 3:30; Jas 4:7). The ‘fullness’ of the Holy Spirit is not something different from knowing Christ or additional to knowing Christ. The Holy Spirit will not give more than Christ, but will give more of Christ. Each is a manifestation of the Godhead.

Being filled with the Spirit is not a mystical or emotional occurrence. Rather it comes from a regular encounter with the Holy Spirit. The effect will be outworked and observable in one’s character and life choices. It is not a physical

Judging by my surrender to the Lord and lifestyle                                 can I be described as Spirit-filled?

manifestation that draws attention to the individual, but is a God-centred and God exalting love for others; a vibrant Christian witness, and worship of Him. When the Holy Spirit came on the believers on the day of Pentecost it was for empowering and sending out in mission, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Act 1:8). Mistakenly some think being filled with the Spirit is just for their own benefit – to enhance their personal relationship with God, but it should be the energizing drive to “Go and make disciples…” (Mt 28:19,20).

Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him” (Lk 11:13). Many times in the book of Acts, before God moved in a powerful way, Scripture records that certain people “were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Act 4:8,31, 7:55, 9:17). The message of Scripture is “Be filled with the Spirit” as an ongoing reality (Eph 5:18). In humility and dependency we must realise that we are only the channel through whom God accomplishes His purposes – for “I can of myself do nothing” – and so give all the glory to Him (Jn 5:30). It is “Not by [human] might but by His Spirit” that we are privileged to help bring about His objectives (Zech 4:6).

The filling of the Spirit leading to empowerment is a precursor to accomplishing a task. Examples include Samson, when the Spirit came on him enabling him to defeat the Philistines; Mary’s overshadowing, when she became pregnant with Jesus; and the early Christians’ boldness to speak forthrightly, yet with the focus being on God, not the human channel (Jdg 14:6,19; Lk 1:35; Act 3:12, 4:8,31). Do you crave His enabling in your life by entering into the fullness of what is available? Our heart’s longing for such impact is dependent on righteous living and surrender to His purposes. This added dimension is often accompanied by the manifestation of a charismatic gift (that emphasizes the ministry of the Holy Spirit) such as speaking in a language unknown to the speaker (Act 2:4, 10:44-46, 19:6; 1 Cor 14:2ff). However, Satan may also imitate this and other legitimate experiences creating all sorts of ungodly displays of exhibitionism in the life of a zealous but immature believer that discredits the genuine expressions of the Holy Spirit. Do not attempt to use hype or emotional striving to gain any experience in God. Our focus should always be on God, not any manifestation.

In contrast to the early Christians who had been infused with the power of the living Christ and turned the world upside down, those whose lives make little impact for the Kingdom of God have only a “form of godliness, but deny its power” (Act 4:13, 17:6; 2 Tim 3:5). His dynamic power is still available

Regularly take time to ‘listen to’ the Holy                       Spirit and follow His directives

with life-changing ministry flowing from such encounters, yet remember the more obedient and cleaner the vessel, the greater the anointing and effectiveness.  We can quench or hinder the work of God’s Spirit by sinful actions, remedied by repentance and seeking after Him, by committing our lives afresh so He can occupy every part of our lives. By continuing in submission and obedience to Him allows the Spirit to work through us, with the evidence of being filled with the Spirit is our character becoming more like that of Jesus as we outwork the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23; Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19). This obviously affects how we interact with others (Eph 5:19-22,25, 6:1,4,5,9).

There have been numerous reported and validated accounts of preachers and intercessors who have been mightily impacted by significant divine encounters that have taken their ministries to a much greater level in God. Servants of the Lord such as Rees Howells the intercessor, evangelists D L Moody, Evan Roberts, George Whitefield, John G Lake, William Seymour, Charles Finney, Smith Wigglesworth and others had ‘successful’ ministries before experiencing specific power encounters. However, after being profoundly touched, when these ‘heavenly-charged’ people came into a room of unsaved people, even without a single word being spoken, there were often people falling to their knees under the conviction of their sin and crying out to be saved. Powerful ministries flow out from the place of intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Recognising we need the power the Holy Spirit to help us be effective witnesses for Jesus we must open ourselves up to more of this divine enablement, not to use this power for ourselves but for His glory (Act 1:8, 2:38, 4:31). 

See also: baptism (Holy Spirit), carnal, flesh, Holy Spirit, manifestations, obedience, Pentecost.

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