Be Filled

Baptism in the Spirit is just the beginning. We are also called to walk in the Spirit. In Eph 5:18, we are told to keep on being filled with the Spirit. The tense is Continuous Imperative, so God is telling us that we must keep on being filled with the Spirit, over and over again. Why?

The common answer is that "we leak", but the real reason is found in John 7:37-39:

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Jesus told us to drink of the Spirit and he will be like a stream of living water. He then said something surprising: the Spirit flows out of us. We want the Spirit to flow in, but Jesus says that he will flow out.

The reason is that the Holy Spirit loves the world and will aways flow out to touch those in need that he meets. We are his channel into the world, but we cannot hold him. He is always wanting to move out to needy people and if we do not go with him, he will go without us. We are his entry point into the world, but we cannot quench his flow into world.

Jesus was aware of this flow of the Spirit. When the woman with a haemorrhage was healed, he knew the "power had gone out from him" (Mark 5:30). The Holy Spirit saw the women in need and flowed out to her, before Jesus was even aware of her. The same thing will happen to us, as the Holy Spirit will always flow to the greatest need.

This is a challenge for us, if the Holy Spirit keeps flowing out of us, we will soon become empty. To prevent this happening, we must keep on being filled. Because the Holy Sprit is always flowing out of us, we must keep on being filled to avoid becomeing empty.

How are we filled?

The answer is simple. We just ask.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 11:11-13)

Being filled with the Spirit is easy. We must ask Father and he will keep the Spirit flowing into us. We must keep on being on filled, so he can keep on flowing out to those in need.

The intersting question is how often we should ask. We feel embarrased about asking too often, but we should look at Jesus examples to see the answer. Children ask their parents for food all the time. "Mum, I'm hungry" is their cry. In fact, a mother will start to worry that something is wrong, if her children stop asking for food. We are God's children. Because the Holy Spirit is always flowing out of us, we need to ask every day, so that we can stay filled with the Spirit.

Peter and John are a great example. They had been baptised in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But in Acts 4:31, they were filled again. That is amazing: men who were present at Pentecost had to be filled again. The reason is that the Holy Spirit had been flowing out of them into the lame man and the other people who heard their preaching. Although they had seen Jesus and received the Spirit in power, they still needed to keep on being filled with the Spirit.

Receiving the Spirit at baptism is important, but it does not set us up for life. He will flow out of us into the world, so we need to keep on being filled. "Did you receive the Spirit when you were baptised" is a good question, but "Have you been filled with the Spirit today" is a more important one. We cannot live on past experience. Receiving the Spirit at baptism is important, but it will not last for a life time. We need to be filled every day. And the way to be filled is to ask.

Lets Get Personal

The Holy Spirit is a person. He has thoughts, feeling, a will and emotions. He speaks (Luke 8:29) comforts (John 14:16) teaches (John 14:25) reveals (Luke 2:26) and decides (Acts 10:6,7). The Holy Spirit is a moral person (Acts 15:28). He experiences joy (Luke 10:21).

To really experience the fullness of the Spirit, we must develop a relationship with him We must get to know him (John 14:17). The blessing that Paul prayed for the Corinthian church was that they would experince the "fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). Fellowship is a word that is not used much today, so we do not understand what it means. The Message Bible translates fellowship as "intimate friendship". Got wants us to have intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit.

The key way to become the intimate friend of the Holy Spirit is by talking to him and listening to what he says. Imagine two friends that never spoke to each other: what a weird friendship. To develop our friendship, we should ask him what he is thinking and what he is feeling. We should tell him about what we are feeling and thank him for what he does.

We should learn to be aware of his presence. In some places or times, he is present more intensely than in others (Luke 5:17). As we develop his friendship, we should experience his life and presence more fully.

We should also learn to recognise his absence. Because he is a person, we must be careful not to grieve him (Eph 4:30). If we do grieve him, we should put things right immediately and restore our friendship.

Every time I go out, I grab my wallet and keys. I go nowhere without them. If I am on may way out and I realise that I have left them at home, I will go home and get them. I should have the same attitude to the Spirit of God. If I have gone out without him, I should feel lonely. I should rush home and wait there till I find out why he has is not with me.

Thirst

The only limit on how much we can receive of the Spirit is our thirst. If we are thirsty for the Spirit, we can drink of him every day. God has more to give than we can receive and he has a never ending supply.

How thirsty are you?

Baptism