This is first in my series on being filled with the Holy Sprit. If Christians wish to operate under the power of the Holy Spirit, they must be filled with the Spirit. I am going to tell you 4 steps to being filled with the Holy Spirit. This will not be a theological lesson on the difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit versus the filling of the Holy Spirit. If you need a theological explanation of the filling of the Holy Spirit, then check out this post “How Can I Be Filled by the Holy Spirit” by S. Michael Houdman. I have heard several sermons on this topic where the preachers explain the difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit, yet they sometimes skip the “How to” part. I will give you the simple “How to”, however, the steps are not simple if you are not willing to yield to the Holy Spirit. Many churches in America are suffering from spiritual anemia because of the lack of power from the Holy Spirit. If we wish to have Revival and Spiritual Awakening in America, more pastors and lay people must be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I was first introduced to the concept of the filling of the Holy Spirit by reading the book How the Spirit Filled My Life by Miss Bertha Smith. She was a Southern Baptist Missionary to China during the Great Shantung Revival. The secret to this great revival was prayer and the filling of the Holy Spirit. According to Miss Bertha, “Christ is in every believer, but that does not mean that all believers are living holy lives. Many are completely defeated. Why? Because the Christ in us does not force himself over our wills to do anything for us. He waits for us to will that he shall control us. Holy living presupposes death to self-our constantly choosing that position from the old sinful nature. This is necessary before we enthrone Christ. Living in that position is necessary for holy living. We are never holy if we rebel against Holy God. When we permit the old self to rise up and express itself, or even want to, we grieve the One who wants to live his holiness out in us and through us” (p. 48).
1. Confess every known sin to the Lord. (Psalms 66:18)
You may wish to print out a copy of my Sin List from A-Z for this process. Pray and ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you every sin in your heart. Confess each sin, individually to the Lord. If the sin is against the Lord, then confess it only to him. If the sin is against another person, then according to Matthew 5:23-24 you must go to that person and make it right. Remember that the Lord will not fill a dirty vessel because He is holy.
2. Deny your flesh and surrender completely to the leading of the Holy Spirit or as Miss Bertha says, “Enthrone Christ”. This means that the “Big I” must die or kick the bucket. If you feel the Holy Spirit nudge you to do something, then you must immediately yield to His leading. To refuse to do so quenches the Holy Spirit. Many believers are walking around with a grieved Holy Spirit in their hearts because of their refusal to allow Him to lead. If you want to know if you are surrendered to the Holy Spirit, then ask yourself the following question, “Is my answer ‘yes’ to Jesus before He asks the question?” If your answer is, no, to this question then you have not yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. Enthrone Christ. After we have kicked the bucket so to speak, we must give the Holy Sprit permission to fill us. He will not force Himself on you. Miss Bertha says, “If He sees that we are clean, and that he is in complete possession of us, then he will fill us just as he filled the tabernacle and the temple when they were dedicated to Him” (54).
4. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.
After you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you should have some evidence in your life that you are being filled. If you have to guess whether or not you are filled, then you have not been filled. Miss Bertha says, “When filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes your very life – All nine fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life” (p. 54). You will also have courage and boldness to witness. After you are filled the Holy Spirit will guide your steps as well as your prayers. He will tell you who to witness to, as well as who to pray for. Here are some verses about the filling of the Holy Spirit:
Acts 1:8 (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
John 7:38 (NASB)
38 “He who believes in Me, as the
Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living
John 4:13-14 (NASB)
answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this
water will thirst again;
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will
give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in
him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Ephesians 5:18-19 (KJV)
be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the
Does this sound like your Christian walk? Do you have power? Are you walking around singing and making melody in your heart? Do you have a well of water springing up in your soul? Many people are afraid to surrender to the Lord because they are afraid of what the Lord may ask them to do. My response to this dilemma is to remember the apostle Paul. Was Paul totally surrendered to the Lord when he was called to preach? No, he was on the road to Damascus to kill Christians. His calling had nothing to do with his surrender. If the Lord is going to call you to do something, he will call whether you are surrendered or not. Don’t be afraid to surrender to the Lord who knows your past, present and future. I can think of no one better to be in control of my life. After you are filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time, you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. By the way, you will never lose the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which occurs at salvation. However, you can lose the filling of the Holy Spirit so these steps need to be done often.
I hope this helps you.
Smith, Bertha. (2008) How the Spirit Filled My Life. Bertha Smith Ministries.
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