Old Testament New Testament Bible Scripture

How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Question: "How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?"

A key verse that discusses the filling of the Holy Spirit in this age is John 14:16, where Jesus promised the Spirit would indwell believers and that the indwelling would be permanent. It is important to distinguish the indwelling and filling of the Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is not for a select few believers, but rather for all believers. There are a number of references in Scripture that supports this conclusion. The first is that the Holy Spirit is a gift given to all believers in Jesus without exception, and no conditions are placed upon this gift except faith in Christ (John 7:37-39). The second is that the Holy Spirit is given at salvation. Ephesians 1:13 indicates that the Holy Spirit is given at the moment of salvation. Galatians 3:2 also emphasizes this same truth, saying that the sealing and indwelling with the Spirit took place at the time of believing. Third, the Holy Spirit indwells believers permanently. The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a down payment, or verification of their future glorification in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30).

This is in contrast to the filling of the Spirit command found in Ephesians 5:18. We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully, and in that sense, fill us. Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 state that He dwells within every believer, but He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit's working and power in and through us. To be filled with the Spirit implies freedom for Him to occupy every part of our lives, guiding and controlling us. His power then can be exerted through us so that what we do is fruitful to God. The filling of the Spirit does not apply to outward acts alone; it also applies to the innermost thoughts and motives of our actions. Psalm 19:14 says, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable to you, O Lord my strength, and my redeemer."

Sin is what separates us from the filling of the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God is how the filling of the Spirit is maintained. Although our focus should be to be filled as Ephesians 5:18 commands, praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit is not what accomplishes the filling of the Spirit. Only our obedience to God's commands allows the Spirit freedom to work within us. Because we are sinful creatures, it is impossible to be filled with the Spirit all of the time. We should immediately deal with sin in our lives, and renew our commitment to being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.

Recommended Resource: The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley.

Related Topics:

Who is the Holy Spirit?

When / How do we receive the Holy Spirit?

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today?

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How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?