“Then you will overflow with confident Hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13b NLT)
While “being filled” is a common expression, when it has reference to the Holy Spirit, the co-equal, co-eternal third member of the triune Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), it has some very far-reaching implications for our lives.
We fill our vehicle tanks with fuel, our glasses with water, our stomachs with ____________ (I’ll let you FILL that one in). The point? The time God gives us is FILLED with all kinds of choices, some to which we give little or no thought. Some things we choose are good – i.e. to love, to serve, to be productive, to attend church etc. But some are not so good.
We have free will, which essentially means, we decide who and how our lives will be filled. Following Jesus is an act of our will, a decision we willfully make. The gift of grace that allows us to be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God is extended to us, but as with every gift we’re offered, we must choose to accept it.
When we choose, by an act of faith, to receive Jesus as Savior (Redeemer/Rescuer) and Lord (Master/Owner), we’re essentially relinquishing the rights to our own life. Our lives which were once filled with ourselves – i.e. our pride, our lusts for the things of this world, our carnal nature – are now filled with God Himself in the person of His Holy Spirit.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (NLT)
But what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? According to Jesus shortly before He ascended back to heaven, in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” But why? He continues: “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)
Since before the beginning of time it has been God’s plan and desire that we would reflect His majestic splendor in and through our lives. Genesis 1:26 reminds us: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…'” (NLT) Paul echoes that thought in Romans 8:29 when he writes: “For those whom He foreknew – of whom He was aware and loved beforehand – He also destined from the beginning…to be molded into the image of His Son (and share inwardly His likeness).” (The Amplified Bible) But how is that possible? Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit!
That’s why we need God’s powerful Spirit to live in us. Jesus said that apart from Him we could do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Being filled with the Holy Spirit means we’re no longer dependent on our own resources and ingenuity, but are energized and empowered to do anything and everything the Lord equips, enables and asks us to do.
Let’s stop here for today and pick it up tomorrow.