Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
by Bill Hines
In Part 1 of this blog it is my hope that I made the point that sobriety, either from a substance (alcohol, other drugs) or an activity (i.e., gambling, pornography, cutting) is not the goal of the command, “don’t get drunk.” The goal of the passage in Ephesians 1:15-21 is that followers of Christ would be filled with the Spirit rather than controlled by something else.
Regarding the word filled The NKJV Study Bible points out: “The tense of the Greek word translated filled indicates that filling is a moment-by-moment, repeatable action. It is something Paul commands the believers at Ephesus to do.”
It is interesting that the repeatable activity for the believer is to be filled with the Spirit moment by moment. Just as someone would have to continually drink an alcoholic substance to “stay” drunk, so followers of Christ are to continually “drink in” or be filled with the Holy Spirit to stay filled. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit includes a heart full of singing songs to and about our God who is faithful. We must be prepared, however, that sometimes being filled with the Holy Spirit in service to the Lord is not associated with upbeat or happy feelings. Sometimes our most profound works of service happen when we are worn out, tired and even persecuted as were the Disciples.
How Are We to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?
I won’t take the time here to give a complete answer to this question but I offer the following as those elements in the life of the Believer that must be present in order to grow into a mature follower of Christ and when entered into by faith will aid in this calling of following Him and being filled with the Spirit.
We must start by affirming that being filled with the Holy Spirit is something only a Christian can experience and only an active follower of Christ can experience in increasing measure (see Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
The following broad categories are seen in Scripture in various ways. Some have tried to express that all followers of Christ must do these things in particular ways such as all study of the Scripture must be done in the morning. What is important is that these things are a consistent part of our lives on an ongoing basis. To use our earlier example, just as one would have to drink in wine on a regular basis a follower of Christ must “drink in” the Holy Spirit regularly to be filled with Him.
In order to be filled with the Spirit I suggest the following must be engaged in by faith:
Consistently offer praise and worship to the Lord both privately and corporately (Psalm 150; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 5:13). God is always there with us. Saying a simple thank you to Him at any time or offering a brief testimony to another person of what He has done for you today are ways to praise Him. When one recipient of demonic deliverance wanted to stay with Jesus he was told to go home and tell of the wonderful things God has done for you (Mark 5:18-20).
Study the Word of God which will make you wise in the things of God (Psalm 19; Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:14-16; 2 Peter 1:2-3). As valuable as devotional books can be, we must also learn to study God’s Word by using scriptural helps like a Bible Dictionary or word study tools or a good work of Systematic Theology. Most important is learning how to study the Word in a systematic way through
- Observation (what does the passage say).
- Interpretation (what does it mean).
- Application, what does the passage have to say to me today.
- Correlation, how does it relate to other parts of the Bible.
Be involved in meaningful relationships with other believers (Hebrews 10:23-25; James 5:13-16; Romans 12:10-13, 15:1-6, 14; Galatians 6:1-2). This includes discussing the Bible, works of service, accountability with mature Christ followers, using the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you to minister to others. This is part of fellowship as well as the next section.
Become involved in ministry to others (Matthew 20:26; Ephesians 4:11-13). Use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you to minister to others (Romans 12:4-8). We are called to use the gifts of teaching and evangelism (for example) with friends and family. We can exercise any of the gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 ; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ; Ephesians 4:11-16 (see the context in each case) yet I agree with many teachers that the Spirit gifts each Believer in special ways bringing the gifts and the skills and experience of the person to bear in ministry to others.
Be certain that you are involved in a meaningful Church relationship. At the minimum this should be a Body where the Word of God is faithfully proclaimed, the sacraments are faithfully administered, and Church discipline is taken seriously (Hebrews 10:23-25; Matthew 18:15-20). In this day of live streaming and recordings we must be careful to not neglect our gathering together (Hebrews 10:23-25). The reason for this is that what is taught is to be shared. If we only listen in private to preaching and singing, we lose the connectedness that we are to enjoy with other Believers.
The calling on the life of a Christ follower is to glorify God by walking with Him as a growing Christian who loves Him with all they are and loves others as themselves (Mark 12:29-31). Staying free of those substances and activities that hold us as captives to this fallen world is only a work of the flesh if it is not replaced with a life of faithful love for God which is evidenced in obedience to our God who saves.
 Nelson, Thomas. NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
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Click here for: Don’t Just Settle for Sobriety – PART 1
Bill Hines is the president of Covenant Ministries, a biblical counseling, education and Christian discipleship ministry in Ft. Worth, Texas. He is the author of Leaving Yesterday Behind and Curing the Heart: A Model for Biblical Counseling (with Dr. Howard Eyrich). He co-authored The Pursuit of Perfection with Dr. Mark Shaw. He edited Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-making Modeled by the Apostle Paul and is a contributing author of three of the chapters.
Covenant Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 121235
Fort Worth, TX 76121-1235