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Be Filled With the Holy Spirit

Living in the fullness of Christ is only possible when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. His presence and power liberate us from the bondage and destruction of life under Law. Have you realized a connection exists between pleasing God and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?Until this connection is made, one cannot become a Father-pleaser and break free from the religious bondage of man-made religion. Consider with me how the Holy Spirit figures into pleasing the Father by first thinking about the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Considering the full doctrine of the Holy Spirit is beyond the scope of this book, however, agreeing upon who the Holy Spirit is may be helpful to living in the fullness of Christ. I’ll try to keep it simple. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, like Jesus is the Son of God–separate, personal, and fully God. When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” The response was, “The son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). When we ask the question, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” We could refer to the Holy Spirit as the Apostle Paul did when he wrote to the Corinthians, “He is ‘the Spirit of the living God’” (2 Cor. 3:3).

 

What is the Holy Spirit?

When we discuss what the Holy Spirit is, we are considering the functions and qualities of the Holy Spirit. We may think of the Holy Spirit as the bond between the Father and the Son expressed and experienced in heaven and earth.

Augustine described the Spirit as the “friendship, the unity of both, the harmony, the consubstantial communion of the Father and Son” (On the Trinity, 6.5.7, 6.9.10, 15, 27, 50). Jonathan Edwards suggested in Early Christian Doctrines, that “the Holy Spirit is the love and fellowship between the Father and the Son” (p. 271). When Jesus introduced His disciples to the Holy Spirit, He told them the Holy Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (John 15:26).

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians communicated the connection between the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Father, the Son, the love of God, and the fullness of God when he wrote,

…That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

When we connect those dots, we have at least one answer to the question, “What is the Holy Spirit?” He is the fullness of God–the loving, totally satisfying relationship between the Father and the Son–that may be experienced and expressed by believers. Now I hope we are ready to see why being filled with the Holy Spirit is essential to living in the fullness of Christ. We need the Holy Spirit to fill us with the knowledge of God’s will.

“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Col. 1:18-19). These verses give Father-pleasers exactly what they are looking for, namely, that it pleases the Father when we derive all fullness inlife from Jesus Christ. Col. 2:10 builds on this fact, “and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”

When Paul wrote these words to the Colossians he was providing the answer to his prayer for them, “That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (1:9-10). They (and we) need to have spiritual (Spirit-led) understanding of God’s will, namely, that Jesus Christ be first place in everything because it pleases the Father that Jesus be the source of all fullness in our lives. Making much of Jesus in everything we do is the only way we can walk in a manner pleasing to the Father!

How can we make much of Jesus in everything we do? Only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who is the filling power of the Father and the Son, can we be Father-pleasers. Did you notice that Paul prayed that they would have spiritual wisdom and understanding? There is no way we can please the Father unless the Holy Spirit not only fills us, but fills us with understanding that the life of Jesus in us pleases Him. The Holy Spirit’s overflowing ministry fills believers with the abundant, powerful life of Jesus, the Son, which provides continual access to the Father in heaven. He is the love of God experienced between the Father and Son pouring into their hearts, crying, “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6). Without this filling, the sons of God feel empty, powerless, and left to themselves, an experience which grieves both God and them greatly. Moreover, without the filling of the Holy Spirit, love for others becomes nothing more than actions done in the flesh. These actions may appear loving and generous, produce good feelings, please others, and result in a good reputation and thus satisfy the man-pleaser. However, Father-pleasers find little comfort or joy in such things. They have learned by experience that their freedom and power to please their Father in heaven comes as they are filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit’s filling is unique to you.

Although the Holy Spirit produces the same fruit of love in the lives of believers, the way He loves through you may be unique and therefore cannot be reduced to a formula. You hold a unique place before God and in His plan. Our God, by nature and essence relates personally. He didn’t create and convert us to live by formulas and rules, but by His Spirit. Rev. Jerry White, Jr. expressed the fulfillment believers find in their relationship with God in a blog post.

In timeless eternity past God existed without you. He did not need you as if He lacked something that you could do for Him. He needed nothing outside of Himself, but for His own pleasure God created all that exists.

He uniquely created you. If He had not purposed for you to exist then there would be no “you”. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He decided what your temperament should be. He gave you your abilities. He chose the purpose for your life as much as He created the sun to provide heat and light. With sovereign choice He called you to be His own forever. No one else can fill the place the Lord created for you; it is singly and only yours. If you are not in that place then no one can be. No one else is like you. No one else can be like you. No one else can fill your place. It is your unique place in all of human history, yea, in all of creation. Almighty God personally created you for this place at this time in His plan. When death takes you from this earth your place will be vacant— vacant for the rest of time. Nothing else can fill it in God’s scheme of things.

The ultimate purpose for this incomprehensible Divine scheme is the glory of God. It is for His pleasure. If you hold on to your life, Jesus said you would lose it. But if you lose your life for His sake you will find true life in Him (Luke 9:24). If you are His by faith in Jesus Christ, then it is your life, but it is your life for His pleasure—created by Him, redeemed by Him, indwelt by Him. As you deliberately abandon yourself to Him daily, actively trust Him with all that you are, and lovingly obey Him in all that you do, you will enjoy the highest fulfillment (italics mine) you can possibly experience.

Your morning confession can be:

“My entire being I submit to You, my Lord, to do only Your will today for Your honor, pleasure and glory” (www.adisciplesnotebook.com, Nov. 17, 2011). Because God is pleased with relationship through His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, your highest fulfillment cannot come from religious adherence to a set of biblical or man-made standards of righteousness. God delights in moving us by His Spirit, living through us as we live through His Son. God made us to enjoy the highest fulfillment when we are filled and led by His Spirit.

 

Let’s pray.

Holy Spirit, fill us so Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, so we may know and express your love to those around us. We want to be filled with the fullness of God, live in the fullness of Christ, be filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit so we can please you, Father, for your glory.

 

Personal application

Review: Who and what is the Holy Spirit?

Read Ephesians 3:16-19 and outline the flow of action from “strengthened” to “fullness of God.” Can you see the sequence of action?

What is the relationship between surrender and being filled with the Spirit?

I encourage you to practice the following morning confession. “My entire being I submit to You, my Lord, to do only Your will today for Your honor, pleasure and glory.” Don’t do this as a formula, but put it in your own words to express your own heart before God.

 

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