The Filling Of The Holy SpiritHandbook 1: Article 54 - The Holy Spirit And The Gifts

Satan has done no work among us more effectively than to convince dedicated disciples that the filling of the Holy Spirit is weird and foreign, something to be avoided with fear and trembling. Scripture clearly states: "Be filled with the Spirit." Luke tells us that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. The disciples were filled at Pentecost.

Where does this reluctance come from? Usually from association with others who claim to be filled. The results that we see in their lives are arrogance and critical spirits. They are puffed up by the experience and want the Christian world to bow at their feet in recognition. They claim to have a corner on God. These are the vocal ones. They may be faking it, misusing it, or be possessed by some other spirit. But their reaction is no excuse for any believer to ignore the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

If we really want to know how to be filled, sooner or later we will meet a Christian who is different -- when he speaks, we hear God speaking; when he prays, God answers; when we are with him, we are encouraged, strengthened, challenged. If we ask him what his secret is, he will probably say that he has been filled with the Spirit. And we will yearn to be filled also.

This happened to me. I met a Christian couple who were different. Only in passing they mentioned that God had filled them with His Spirit. They said nothing else about it. (They did not attempt to "get" me filled.) But I knew what was different about them and I prayed that God would fill me.

But it wasn't at all what I expected. First He turned my world upside down. I learned that before I could be filled with the Holy Spirit, I must be emptied of myself. This was a very difficult time in my life. But you and I are aware of the negatives that stand between God and man so I won't go into those experiences here. Instead I want to share with you the positive things that happened to me because of my prayer:

I began to seek to decrease that He might increase. I sought to learn how to discern what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do. I began to seek to be like Jesus. I studied the Scriptures in earnest and faithfully. I was eager to know everything a human being could know about God. In everyday situations I asked God to tell me in His Word if I had been pleasing to Him in thought, word, and deed. In spite of my fear I began to stand alone on things He taught me. I began to experience that God was my vital need. I began to hunger and thirst after righteousness. I learned that every inner urging was not necessarily from the Holy Spirit and so I asked Him to confirm Himself through the scripture where I was reading during my daily devotions. In this way I began to recognize His voice and to learn what within me prompted actions contrary to God's will for me. I began to desire to speak only the Holy Spirit's words. Here I also received much insight from my own inner motivation for the things that I said. I asked God to show me the depth of my sin. And believe me, He did. I believed what the Holy Spirit taught me. I asked God to make certain that I heard His voice and understood His orders no matter what drastic measures were necessary in my life. I wanted to be a good and faithful servant, an over-comer. I began to desire His glory. I longed to be God's friend like Abraham was. I longed to live and move and have my being in Him.

The day came when God filled me with His Spirit. I thank God for those two Christians who were obedient to the command of God to be filled with the Spirit. And I also thank Him for loving me and rebuking me when I was so overwhelmed by this experience that I became puffed up, critical, and thought I had my own private corner on God. Because I recovered from that, asked for forgiveness, and moved on.

MC

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