"He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."
Galatians 3:14 (NIV)
As we move from Easter towards Pentecost, we don’t want to give people information about God, but the opportunity to have a relationship with Him. Jesus rose from the dead; our God is living. When Jesus left earth, He sent us the Holy Spirit to live within us. Just as Jesus said “streams of living water” could flow from His followers, so the Holy Spirit can fill us (John 7:38). God is alive and He wants to empower us.
The Holy Spirit is a person. You can have a relationship with a person and spend time in their physical presence. He is not a program or set of steps. The Holy Spirit is also the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), meaning He is God. Having a relationship with God is not predictable and many religious people prefer to think that there are lists to follow to make God happy. But if you ignore the person of the Holy Spirit, ignore GOD, how can that make Him happy?
We read about the Holy Spirit in Acts at the first Pentecost (Acts 1:8). He filled Peter and the other disciples. Peter had been nervous about acknowledging Jesus in public when we see him on the night Jesus was taken. Peter denies Jesus more than once. But after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter is completely transformed. In Acts 2 we see him boldly preaching to the crowds and thousands of people coming to follow Jesus.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will be with us and will be our helper (John 14:16). He advocates for us when we don’t know what to pray (Romans 8:26). The New Testament is full of scriptures depicting and illustrating the impact that a life filled with the Spirit can bring. Just like those first disciples, He empowers us to live for Christ, bring power, boldness, wisdom, faith and direction.
Every Spirit filled believer has a different story of how they were first filled with the Spirit. If you have not yet been filled then begin with a hunger for God. God is not a casual acquaintance. Choosing to worship God, to open your heart and spend time in His presence by singing His praises helps to wash away all of the things that hinder our relationship with God. We are making time in our services in these coming weeks to worship, to welcome the Spirit and pray for those who want to be filled.
An important thing to remember is that being filled with the Spirit is not a single event. The disciples in Acts were filled many times and so can we. We are instructed not to grieve the Spirit. Sometimes we become bitter, sour or even abusive. When King David realized how far he’d strayed from God’s ways, he repented and begged God not to remove the Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11). Maybe you need to repent and be filled with God’s Spirit again.
We are also instructed not to quench the Spirit, like refusing to do what He asks us to do or say. This can be challenging and sometimes we need to resubmit ourselves to His Lordship and be filled with His empowering Spirit again. No program or book could ever be a substitute for the person of the Holy Spirit. Let’s all make time to be filled once again so that we can be empowered disciples.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Share if you are comfortable, any experiences of being filled with the Spirit and how it changed things: your Ghost Stories.
- Consider the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 as well as the boldness and leading we see in Acts. What do you need more of in your life?
- If you are attending services in person, is there something holding you back from asking to be filled with the Spirit/again?
- The Spirit gives us boldness and help in talking to people about Jesus. Pray for His help in any situations you are finding it difficult to share.