“Be filled with the Spirit.”
This is not a suggestion or some spiritual advice but an authoritative command addressed to us by an apostle of Jesus Christ writing under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is not optional but necessary for all followers of the Lord Jesus. It is our responsibility to see that our lives are open to the filling of the Spirit of God constantly and consistently. Unless we do we will find that it is ‘the flesh’ that dominates and not the spirit.
Paul is addressing himself to the whole Christian community – made up of each individual. All of us, singly and together, are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This fullness is not something reserved for an elite few but is available to, and required of, every individual.
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
The gift of the Holy Spirit is not a once-off experience but ‘a privilege to be renewed continuously by continuous believing and obedient appropriation.’ We need to be filled with the Spirit and go on being filled every moment of every day. In this way our relationship with the Lord will deepen and develop.
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
We can ask God every day to continue to fill us, we can turn to the Spirit for guidance, wisdom and strength, and we can soak ourselves in the Scriptures – particularly the New Testament. The Spirit cannot be separated from the Word that He inspired and will never act or have us act contrary to that Word. By a regular and prayerful reading of Scripture we open ourselves to God and allow the Spirit to both inform and form us in the process.
The Holy Spirit is God within us – seeking to transform us more and more into the living reality of the children of God. It is He who makes both the Lord Jesus and the Father real to us and affirms within us our identity as the sons and daughters of Almighty God. He enables us to live out and maintain this identity in this world even although we now belong to another.
Ask the Spirit to help you in your prayers –and then open your heart to God in your own words.
Heavenly Father, please fill me and continue to fill me with the wonderful gift of Your Holy Spirit –and help me to recognise and be attentive to Him. Amen.