How to Be a Spirit-Filled Christian
by Pastor Dan Delzell
So you got saved. Welcome to the family. But now what? Before you are tempted to go out and try to imitate other Christians who are living a good life, I have a better idea for you to consider. Forget “imitation.” Think “impartation.” Think filling. Think fullness.
The key to your salvation is the blood of Jesus. The key to your abundant life of discipleship is the power and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The blood washes away the sins of those who trust Christ to do it. The power of God fills the believers who daily long for and receive an impartation of power from on high. He already lives inside of you as a believer. (1 Cor. 6:19) But now He wants more of you….so that you can live everyday filled with His love and holy affections.
“But I thought I had to have the gift of speaking in tongues to be filled with the Spirit.” Who taught you that? Do you realize that there have been many believers over the centuries who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet have not claimed to have the gift of tongues? If the Holy Spirit decides to give you that particular gift, receive it and use it wisely. But you don’t need to ever confuse the gifts of the Spirit with the fullness of the Spirit.
Some Christians who have this gift or that gift are not living a Spirit-filled life. They are grieving the Holy Spirit by sinful choices they are making on a consistent basis. God has not taken away their spiritual gift, but they simply are not flowing in His power at the moment. That happens to all of us Christians whenever we choose to think or behave in a manner that goes against the truth and against the will of God. Therefore, the Word of God says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (Ephesians 4:30) In other words, don’t offend Him. By God’s grace, stay away from sinful thoughts….sinful words….and sinful behavior.
You and I will not be filled with the Holy Spirit until we are first emptied of anything that stands in the way of His fullness. Do you have such an issue in your life….perhaps a “secret sin” which you seem to give into over and over again? God is going to drill down deep until He gets to the very root of that thing. He will keep his finger on that issue in your life until it has been put to death in you by refusing to feed it….refusing to give into it….refusing to coddle it. It must die….and then you will be a step closer to the fullness.
D.L. Moody said, “We are leaky vessels, and have to keep right under the fountain all the time in order to stay full.” How true it is. Yesterday’s filling will not be enough for today. It’s like the manna the Israelites received from God everyday in the wilderness. We must wait on God….and watch for His blessing….and depend only upon Him to be our provision. When our soul becomes that hungry for God, we are in a position to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Your religious pedigree does not guarantee your filling. It’s not about your label….it’s about the desires of your heart. If you desire to be filled with the Spirit more than anything else in life, stay on that train….ride it all the way into the station. Whenever your flesh rises up with desires which threaten your fullness, ask Jesus to cover those enemies of your soul with His blood.
A Spirit-filled life will always result in a life that is filled with the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) If you have the gift of tongues, but have not His fruit….you are not living a Spirit-filled life. If you have been gifted by God to preach the Word, but have not His fruit….you are not living a Spirit-filled life. If you are a Bible scholar, but have not His fruit….you are not living a Spirit-filled life. Gifts, knowledge, and experience are no substitute for His fruit.
This is why even a person who has lived as a mature Christian for decades can enter a period where he or she is not Spirit-filled. It might last a day, or an hour, or a year. It all depends on today’s manna from heaven. Am I hungry and ready to receive? Or am I distracted by the desires of my flesh….and feeding those desires by choosing to dwell on them and give into them?
Some say that “happiness is a choice.” I would say that “a Spirit-filled life is a choice.” And it’s pretty hard to argue against that premise if you just take God at His Word.
So Christian….here’s the drill: Saying ‘no’ to sin….meditating on Scripture….praying everyday….doing what God says to do….singing in your heart to the Lord….Christian fellowship with other believers….utilizing your spiritual gifts to His glory….sincerely praying for those who get under your skin….hungering and thirsting to be Spirit-filled today….and then riding the wave….and staying out of the way of what God is doing.
As a believer, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13) You will need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit if you are going to live this day as a Spirit-filled Christian. Your job….don’t feed your sinful desires….and then hunger for today’s impartation. His work….provide a wellspring of living water and a daily impartation of His Spirit.
It’s not like God has hidden the blueprint from us. It’s right out there in the open for anyone who desires this experience in their Christian life. The Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to explain it this way: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-20)
Jesus said, “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) Do you want to live a Spirit-filled life? I mean with all of your heart? If you do….and it’s not just a passing fad….then go for it. Do the drill. Do your part. Ask God to do what only He can do. And then wait….in faith….and expectation….and desire. And then repeat it tomorrow, and everyday for the rest of your life on earth.
You may be very close to “entering the zone” so to speak. There is more power available than you have known up until now….this could be your breakthrough. Hey believer….Jesus did not die on the cross for no reason. Likewise, He did not send the Holy Spirit at Pentecost for no reason. Once you figure out why He came, then figure out how you plan to become filled with this One our Lord called “the Comforter.” (John 14:26)
You can empty yourself today….and receive a filling. When tomorrow comes….empty yourself again….and receive another filling. It’s like the Israelites and the manna all over again. Only this time, the Presence of God is dwelling within His people. Hallelujah! Are you getting hungry and thirsty yet for God?
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1,2) Let me tell this you my friend….the minute you begin to experience that reality and that desire from the bottom of your heart, you will be on the verge of His fullness. So don’t give up….today could be your day to enter a whole new dimension of Christian experience.
By the way….when you get to that edge….and you are so thirsty you can taste it….as God begins to pour out more of His grace upon you….stay in that place….on the edge….hungering….thirsting…..giving….serving…..singing…. praying….loving…..receiving an ongoing outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon you.
That my friend, is the place where all of us who know Christ really want to live. Nothing this world has to offer can touch it! Let’s get to that place every morning and hang out under His waterfall all day….there is glory there in that marvelous place of worship, thankfulness, and praise! God’s presence and filling truly brings the fullness of joy, the power to serve others, and spiritual insights you could never even come close to understanding by your own wisdom.
So go for it! There really is a solution for any believer who feels bored with his Christian life, or distracted by the cares or temptations of this world. Do you think the early Christians were ever bored in the book of Acts? Think again. That book began with Pentecost. You may be in need today of a “personal Pentecost” in your own life. If so, just remember….the Comforter has never left the world since He was first sent here 2000 years ago. He has been filling Christians around the world for all of these centuries. He is still doing it today. In fact, He is either filling you right now, or He isn’t.
This might be the perfect time for you and Him to have a little alone time. He is a gentleman and will typically not fill anyone unless He has first been given an invitation to do so. How strongly do you as a disciple of our Lord desire the Holy Spirit’s fullness in your life? Your answer to that question will explain a lot about your current experience as a Christian.