“Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)
I come to this new blog as someone who is hungry to be filled with the Spirit. I have been walking with God (sometimes stumbling and sometimes being dragged kicking and screaming) for quite a few years now and I have always struggled with this particular command of Scripture. I have moved in circles within which it has always appeared to me that many people are indeed filled with the Spirit of God and were moving in that “filling” in a way that I am not. What do I mean by this? In saying this am I saying that I have always been a person who has doubted faith? No I am not. I fully and firmly believe that in accepting Christ the Holy Spirit was given to me and invoked within me and my life a new birth. At the point of conversion, the Holy Spirit became resident in my heart, body and mind. Of this there is no doubt.
So what am I saying then?
Basically I am tring to point out that in the circles in which I have moved as a Christian, I have noticed that there are folks who seem to have more. The obvious manifestation of this has always been some of these folks speaking in tongues. I say “some” because this has not always been the case. There are those in the Christian church who would say that the proof that a person has been “filled” with the Spirit is that they speak in tongues. I have never agreed with this stance and hope that I never will be in agreement. There are those who speak in tongues and there are those who do not. I have seen those who speak in tongues but I have also seen those who hear God very clearly and seem to be able to speak for him (not in a preaching sense but in a prophetic conversational sense) and I have seen people who are gifted in working miracles of healing or who are gifted as ministers of prayer. I have also been present at gatherings when “spirit-filled” preachers and teachers have brought a messsage which seems to have powerfully impacted the whole group of people gathered. Maybe this is down to charisma and personality but I’m not convinced that I can say that an apparent impact such as that is all about charisma and personality and is nothing to do with the blessing and working of God.
Whatever it is, there has always been something that I have felt was lacking in my journey with God and my experience of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. So to it I come hungry for that filling of the Spirit. Those who know me might say that I am filled with the Spirit. Maybe I am in some ways.
And yet in other ways I feel that something is still missing.
Why is this?
Maybe I have not been willing to let go completely and throw myself on the grace of God. Of course, there were always sins that I held on to: lust, selfishness, greed, pride (to name but a few…) Maybe they got in the way. Is it the case that by holding on to sin God would refuse to “fill” me with his Spirit? I am listening to a sermon at the minute which would suggest that this is indeed the case. He quotes Psalm 66 to support his argument: “those who harbor sin…”. Has the problem been that I have not in fact been fully willing to receive the Spirit of God? I say I want it – but how much do I really want it?
Am I willing to lay down all my sinful desire and hunger in order to have that place filled with God?
Until now, I confess, I have not.
Will this change now?
Simply put, I want more of God.
I don’t know if it is hunger to speak in tongues or hunger to work miracles or hunger to powerfully preach with the anointing of the Spirit. Maybe it is all of the above. But the hunger is there.
I want more of God.
So with the hunger comes the willingness to turn my whole life over to God. This willingness needs to become determined surrender. I cannot just walk through this life and keep on saying that I want more.
Willingness is not enough.
I need to make that turn around and actually walk in the direction of my Father (Luke 15)
Where do I go now?
Firstly, prayer and Scripture reading. Simple acts of devotion which open me (and any other believer) to the working of the Spirit of God. I open myself to that and I will see where it goes from there.
Total surrender is the only way with God. Holding on to things is not in the plan. God has a new life for me and for anyone else who is willing to lay down the life which is holding on to us and which we are desperately holding on to.
I want that life.
I want to surrender.
That is all.
God. Please grant it to me.