Do you feel something’s missing in your Christian life? Paul arrived in Ephesus and met some disciples. I don’t know how long he spent with them before he noticed the Holy Spirit was missing from their lives.
‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit’” (Acts 19:2 NASB 1995)
If Paul had met me early in my Christian life, he would have noticed something missing in my life too.
I invited Christ into my life in a quaint chapel at a church retreat for middle schoolers. I returned home on an emotional high. My sins were forgiven, and God loved me. But my joy soon faded. I couldn’t sustain that loving feeling.
Irritation surfaced when Mama told me to clean my room or my sister got into my stuff. Before receiving Christ, I’d felt justified when I was irritable. Now I felt bad. Every night I promised myself and God I’d do better. Every day I failed. Knowing Jesus, guaranteed heaven when I died, but it didn’t make a practical difference in my daily life.
Paul and the Disciples in Ephesus
Paul had just left Apollos, another disciple baptized by John the Baptist who hadn’t heard of Jesus. When Paul met the group in Ephesus he asked, “‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus’” (Acts 19:3-4 NASB 1995).
Today, we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus. But, like these men, lack of knowledge about the Holy Spirit limits us.
I was a Christian for many years before I heard of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If I’d met Paul during that time, he would have asked if I knew about the Spirit.
What You Need to Know about the Holy Spirit
- Believers are sealed in the Holy Spirt the moment they receive Christ (Ephes. 1:13). He guarantees the other riches promised to believers.
- Every believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9).
- The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we belong to God (Rom. 8:16).
- The Spirit helps us understand the Bible and provides spiritual insight (1 Cor. 2:9-10, 14).
- The Spirit gives us the power to resist sin (Gal. 5:16).
- We can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephes. 4:30).
- The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11). Many associate the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. Paul said not everyone speaks in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). Speaking in tongues doesn’t make you more or less spiritual.
- The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
- The Bible commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephes. 5:18-21).
How to Be Filled with the Spirit.
While every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are not automatically filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ (Ephes. 5:18-21 GW).
Ephesians contrasts being drunk with wine with being filled with the Spirit. Too much alcohol negatively affects a person’s speech, reactions, perspective, and treatment of others. The Holy Spirit affects those areas too—in a positive way.
What fills us controls us. Would you rather meet someone filled with rage or filled with love? To be filled with the Spirit means the Holy Spirit governs your mind, will, and emotions.What fills us controls us. Would you rather meet someone filled with rage or filled with love? #HolySpirit, #RefreshingFaith Click To Tweet
The ministry of the Holy Spirit filled the void in my life. The Bible began to make sense. The joy of my salvation returned. My desire to please God grew.
You Can Be Filled with the Spirit
Let me adapt Paul’s question. Have you experienced the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
If you lack joy, spiritual power, or interest in or understanding of the Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to fill and empower you. Cru introduced me to the following prayer when I was in college. Adopt it to express your desire to God.
Dear Father, I need you and acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this is the name of Jesus. I now thank you for filling me with the Holy Spirit and directing my life.
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