Tag Archives: Galatians 5:16

Be Filled With the Spirit

filled-with-the-spirit

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit.  Romans 8:5

Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18

Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

In our women’s Sunday school class, we are studying the book by JD Greear, Jesus Continued…Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You (Zondervan 2014).  Greear is writing to people who, like him, come from a background where the Holy Spirit has been more of a doctrine than a person of the Trinity.  One of his quotes is:

“Many Christians might have heard of the Holy Spirit in a doctrinal sense but they have no real interaction with or dependence on Him.  Functionally they live in ways ‘unaware’ that there is a living, moving Holy Spirit.  They have all but excised the Holy Spirit from the Trinity; instead they functionally believe in the Father, Son, and the Holy Bible.”

I lead the Sunday school class, and one woman’s question was kind of challenging his doctrinal position, wondering if Greear believed that we receive the Holy Spirit at new birth from another quote: “So, are you speaking the Word of God to others?  If not, can you really claim to be filled with the Spirit of God?”

My short answer was that from everything else that JD Greear has written in his book, I believe that he is orthodox, most likely believing that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we become Christians.  However, most people do not walk in the realization of the fullness of the Spirit, and that is what this book is about.

When it says in Acts 6:5 that they picked Stephen to help serve the widows, Luke noted that he was ‘full of the Holy Spirit.’  That must have meant that others weren’t as full of the Spirit.  ‘What makes someone full of the Spirit, or more filled with the Spirit than others?’ was my question to the group.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about this during the week.   Paul spent considerable time writing about walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), setting our minds on things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5), not grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), not quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), and praying at all times in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).  This tells me that this tendency to set our minds on things of the flesh and live as if the Christian life depends on us is not new.

Paul battled this when he wrote the book of Galatians.  He questioned in Gal. 3:3, “Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?”  Why don’t we talk about the work of the Holy Spirit more?  Why do we rely on the flesh instead?

It’s kind of like a friend of mine.  We were at a meeting together, in the middle of a cold winter.  We both had the same model and year of vehicles.  I pointed my key fob out of the window with my remote starter and started my vehicle to warm it up.  She said, “I wish mine could do that.”  I looked at her and said, “I’m sure you can.  Give me your fob.”  She did and she just about flipped when I started her car too.  She had a remote starter for two years and didn’t know it.

Isn’t that how it is with the Holy Spirit?  He lives within us and is ready to fight the flesh battle for us if we would just call on Him.  He is ready to speak to us, empower us, lead us and do great things through us.  Do you just need to know that you have Him waiting to be called upon?

In some ways, it’s not about whether  we have the Spirit or not, it’s about whether the Spirit has us.  Are we willing to surrender to Him, wait for His voice, draw near and go where He tells us to go?

Check out this song by Casting Crowns, “Spirit Wind,” from You Tube:

Spirit Wind

 

 


Touched by the Spirit

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

gifts-holy-spirit

This is the secret of the Christian life, right here.  Walk by the Spirit.  Let me tell you a bit of my testimony about God showing me that “secret.”  I became a Christian through a Vacation Bible School ministry when I was young.  I grew up in a non Christian setting and didn’t attend a Bible teaching church.  I didn’t have Christian friends and really didn’t know any other Christians in my high school my last two years.

But Jesus had a hold of me and He grew my faith in that wilderness.  When I got to college I was then able to attend a Bible teaching church and have Christian friends. But I had a lot of rough edges from growing up in the spiritual “wild.”  I had a heart for God, for His Word, and God was faithful in sanding off those rough edges.

After my third year of college I went to be a counselor at a camp north of Toronto.  It was a great place, but I was totally out of my comfort zone.  I was used to relying on what I could do for my self confidence.  But there in a different country with people I didn’t know was a stretch.  I then  separated my shoulder the first day the kids were there.  And one of the kids that I was counselor of had extreme behavior issues.  And it was there that I met Jesus in a whole different way, one that changed me deeply.

The director of the camp was a gifted Bible teacher and leader and God used her tremendously to speak into my life.  Combined with that, each morning I woke up long before anyone in the camp of over 300 people.  I desperately needed Jesus and He met me each morning as I watched the fish jump in the still morning lake, sitting with my Bible and communing with God.  The whole summer was like a honeymoon with Jesus.  It was there that the Holy Spirit got a hold of my life.  I came back to college a different person.  I had a boldness in sharing my faith and a new self discipline in reading and meditating on the Bible.  Before that my time with God was sporadic and I couldn’t get to being the kind of Christian I knew God wanted me to be.

I had a couple more experiences like that in my early twenties, and what it taught me was that if I relied on God, He would do His work in me and through me.  I didn’t realize it was the Holy Spirit leading me, giving me a bold faith and taking me to all kinds of exciting places to serve Him.  But looking back, I see that I learned from God what many Christians haven’t learned and need to learn.  For me, being touched by the Spirit didn’t involve tongues or visions of some sort.  It was getting radically changed on the inside and walking with a whole different confidence that I knew was God working in and through me.

God showed me if I kept that intimate relationship with Him that He would keep doing things in and through me.  Walking in the Spirit means all kinds of things, but one of the things it means is just letting God lead and obeying what He tells you to do.  The Spirit will fight the flesh battle, giving you the victory you wouldn’t have on your own.   It doesn’t mean that you will automatically win every battle, but you can quickly return to the victory that is in Jesus.  You won’t find it striving on your own to follow God’s commands or striving to be a “good Christian.”

What God did for me was purely His grace visiting me.  What He keeps doing for me knocks my socks off.  May God visit you with His grace, touching you with the Holy Spirit in a way that changes you forever.  Luke 11:13 says, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”