Are you living the abundant Christian life the way that God intended? Or do you feel defeated much of the time in your Christian walk? Do you struggle with areas and question if you’ll ever be able to gain victory over them? Are you growing as a Christian, or do you feel a bit stagnant?
I was not living the abundant Christian life in college until Bonnie explained to me about the Spirit-filled life. Once I began to understand the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, it completely changed my life.
After I take someone through assurance of salvation and assurance of forgiveness, the next thing I cover is the Spirit-filled life. I usually take several weeks on this, so I will address the Spirit-filled life over several posts on my blog.
We are commanded in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” We are to be filled with the Spirit, but what exactly does that mean?
Let me begin by addressing what it does not mean.
1. It does not mean speaking in tongues.
There are groups today who believe that if you are truly filled with the Holy Spirit, that you will speak in tongues as evidence of your filling. They base this on Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit filled them at Pentecost and they spoke in tongues. But nowhere in Scripture does it say that speaking in tongues is necessary to prove that you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
2. It does not mean filling up an empty vessel with more of the Spirit.
We don’t receive more of the Spirit, but the Spirit gets more of us as we yield areas to His control and influence.
So what exactly does it mean?
- Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) gives this definition:—to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- Dr. Stanley Toussaint, my professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, gave us this definition:—to come under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit.When Paul said, “Do not get drunk with wine,” he was implying, do not come under the control or influence of alcohol, but of the Holy Spirit.
- J. Oswald Sanders, in his book Spiritual Leadership, defines it this way:“To be filled with the Spirit means simply that the Christian voluntarily surrenders life and will to the Spirit.”
You yield each area of your life to Him and live in conscious dependence on Him and His power, not your own strength.
Before Bonnie discipled me as a junior at LSU, I didn’t realize that I had the Holy Spirit living inside of me. I was trying to live the Christian life on my own strength, instead of tapping into the power source living within me, the Holy Spirit. Once I understood the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life, I was never the same.
When did you first understand that the Holy Spirit indwells you and gives you the power to live the Christian life?