Archive for April, 2011

Filled with the Spirit

April 29, 2011

I have often heard prayers like this prayed, “LORD fill us with your Holy Spirit so we might do mighty works in your name.” The implication this prayer hints at is that somehow the Spirit wasn’t given to us fully at conversion but that throughout our Christian life we need to keep having more Spirit added to us, or, that we received the full Holy Spirit at conversion but keep losing part of him so we need the LORD to keep replacing the lost parts of him.

Author of Spirit of Truth David Jackman makes the ludicrousness of this belief visible. He writes that the Holy Spirit is a person and not a force, so how is it possible to only have a part of him? He compares this to a person entering a house. That person can either be in the house or out of the house. He cannot be partly in the house and partly out of the house. And Christians are the house of God, whom the Spirit fully dwells in. Believers have all of the Holy Spirit at all times and unbelievers have none of the Holy Spirit at all times.

What can the Bible mean when it talks about being filled with the Spirit if it doesn’t mean that there is more Spirit to gain? Ephesians 4 and 5 shed light on this. It talks about following the example of God’s holiness and living a life of good works. It urges us not to be full of wine, which leads to sin but of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Intoxication of wine leads to a loss of control over the body. The wine takes charge and the person who has consumed the wine becomes unable to fully control their actions. The more a person is filled with wine the more it has control over his body.

Sin works in exactly the same way. The more we become filled or consumed with sin the more it takes control over our lives. However, more encouragingly, the more we become filled with the Spirit the more control he has over our lives. So what is it to be filled with the Spirit? It is to give him more control over our lives. We need to let him take control over every aspect of our life. It isn’t that we are in need to be filled with more Spirit, but that he is in need to fill more of our life.