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BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT (Part 1)
By Robert Wurtz II
All Are Filled With Something
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18, 19)
When reading Ephesians 5:18 we have both a negative and a positive commandment. We are not to be drunk with wine wherein is excess, this is the negative command; but rather are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for filled is pleroo (play-ro'-o) and it means to cram a net, to fill a void, or to furnish an office. There is a void in our soul and spirit that has to be filled. Everyones void is filled with something. There is a house that Christ has swept and garnished and it needs to be furnished. There is a net that we cast seeking to fill ourselves with cares and pleasures that can only be filled with the Holy Ghost. Whether with wine or the Spirit of God or something else (that leads to excess), everyone is filled with something. Everyone has something that influences them, captures their love and zeal, and provides the very fuel for their behavior. The word excess is translated in the NKJV as dissipation- which is reckless gratification of the senses. Herein is the key to understanding one of the great reasons you must be filled with the Spirit; what fills you controls you. If we are to walk in the Spirit we must be filled with the Spirit. The proportion of our fullness will dictate our proportion of walking in the Spirit.
All May Be Filled With The Spirit
Every genuine born again believer may be filled with the Spirit. Not because God is somehow forced to give you His Spirit because of our goodness, etc., but because He has promised to give it to those that ask. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13). If you ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God has promised to give Him to you. Moreover, God has commanded you to be filled with Him. He says in Ephesians 5:18, "Be filled with the Spirit." When God commands us to do something, it is the highest possible evidence that we can do it. God has no way righteously to command something, unless we have ability to obey. What tyranny would be leveled upon a God that commanded things that were impossible to obey? Nay! Everyone may be filled with the Spirit; else God had not commanded it.
When we speak of being filled with the Spirit we are not merely talking about speaking in tongues. Tongues are the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and provides a person with the means of praying in tongues and being filled with the Holy Ghost perpetually by the use of that means; but the manifestation of tongues is not necessarily evidence of fullness. A person who is genuinely filled with the Spirit lives a victorious life over sin and walks in communion with God almost continually.
Additional means of fullness is the reading of Gods word (which His words are Spirit and life) and prayer with unutterable groanings in the Spirit. Prayer in which the Spirit of God comes upon the person to the point of great anguish and travail goes a long way towards refilling that person with the fullness of the Spirit of God. Singing to yourselves in psalms and hymns which glorify God is also a means of inviting the Holy Ghost. Add these means to praying in the Holy Ghost (tongues) and you have a recipe for being FULL of the Holy Ghost and power continually if you exercise them.
Why Many Are Not Filled
Staying full of the Holy Ghost takes serious continuous effort. It takes surrender to God. It is impossible to live an insincere Christian life and expect God to fill you with His Holy Spirit (in reality, in this state you have no desire to be filled anyway due to the implications of that fullness). God knows when you are sincerely seeking Him and you will find Him when you search with all of your heart. He also knows when you are willing to give up all for Him. You have to get serious if you want to be full of the Holy Ghost. Many have so much levity that the Spirit will not dwell with them. The Spirit of God is often solemn, and serious, and will not dwell long with those who give way to thoughtless levity (frivolity) and foolishness. There is a difference between joy and frivolity and the Spirit of God leads us into a life of joy- yet ever conscious of the seriousness of life. This generation is the most frivolous in history. Everything has to be lighthearted and shallow; yet, this is not the way of the Holy Ghost. Deep calls unto deep when you are filled with the Spirit. Others are so proud that they cannot have the fullness of the Spirit. Many are more concerned with the opinions of men than God and fall into all manor of things that grieve the Holy Ghost away. People call these things little sins or gray areas, but God will not call them little and the evidence is their lack of the Spirit. And yet such persons will pretend to be at a loss to know why it is that they do not know the fullness of God.
Can Two Walk Together Except They Be Agreed?
Many will not agree with God concerning their sins and are resisting conviction- yet are trying to be full of the Spirit? Charles Finney in his lecture titled, On Being Filled With The Spirit states, Others do not fully confess and forsake their sins, and so cannot enjoy the Spirit's presence. They will confess their sins in general terms, perhaps, and are ready always to acknowledge that they are sinners. Or they will confess partially some particular sins. But they do it reservedly, proudly, guardedly, as if they were afraid they should say a little more than is necessary; that is, when they confess to men the injuries done to them. They do it in a way which shows that, instead of bursting forth from an ingenuous heart, the confession is wrung from them, by the hand of conscience gripping them. If they have injured any one, they will make a partial recantation, which is hard-hearted, cruel, and hypocritical, and then they will ask, "Now, brother, are you satisfied?" And you know it would be very difficult for a person to say that he was not satisfied, even if the confession is cold and heartless. But I tell you God is not satisfied. He knows whether you have gone the full length of honest confession, and taken all the blame that belongs to you. If your confessions have been constrained and wrung from you, do you suppose you can cheat God? "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh shall find mercy." "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Unless you come quite down, and confess your sins honestly, and remunerate where you have done injury, you have no right to expect the spirit of prayer. This all goes back to being obedient to the Holy Spirit. Nothing grieves the Holy Ghost away any faster than to quench His conviction of sin. When God tells you to do something- do it!- or dont expect His fullness. If He warns you to turn from something- turn from it! - or dont expect His fullness. The Spirit of God is grieved away when we refuse to cooperate with Him in His working in our lives.
Has the Holy Spirit dealt with you to do something and you have refused to do it? Confession of sin is one area where the Holy Ghost does not rule in many Christians lives. Many are too concerned with looking spiritual than being spiritual. This is a major hang-up caused by pride. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He demands that we walk in truth in humility. Are we misrepresenting reality? Any misrepresentation of reality is a lie. If we pretend to be something we are not we lie. We falsely represent the reality of our true state.
If you have neglected the clear prompting of the Holy Spirit you must yield and obey first. God has a controversy with you. You must be obedient! You can be filled with the Spirit. You can be as full of the Holy Spirit as you are willing to be. God desires for us to be filled and even commands it. In our next lesson we will look at the ramification of NOT being filled with the Spirit.