Being Filled with the Holy Spirit; October 20, 2020


Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

This is a famous and vitally important incident in the life of the early Church. They were getting their first taste of official, organized persecution, and their response to it made all the difference. Rather than cowering (which is what the officials hoped for) they prayed for boldness, and got it. This is the second record of a group-infilling of the Holy Spirit, after the first at Pentecost. It had been less than a year, but they needed it again! The thing is, we aren’t intended to be cisterns of the Holy Spirit, but rather conduits, or even fountains. There is an unlimited supply of the Holy Spirit, (John 3:34) so we must not have a poverty mentality, so to speak. If we try to keep the Holy spirit bottled up inside us, we will quickly discover that He is very little in evidence. Rather, the more we let Him flow through us, the fuller we become, pushing out all the undesirable things that are otherwise so persistent. It is no accident that it is right after this that it says, “All the believers were one in heart and mind.” (verse 32) There is no greater tool of unity than to be filled with the one Spirit! Likewise, the generosity and unselfishness of the early Church came from the Holy Spirit, just as it does today. The world is amazed at the generosity of believers, but when you’re filled with the Source of everything, it comes with the package! It is by the Holy Spirit that we understand, as Paul said, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) You could say that being filled with the Holy Spirit is the answer to every issue in Christian life, and God stands ready to pour His Spirit out on all who will open their hearts to Him in truth.

This is of course as true for me as it is for anyone else. I too need to remember that the instructions are to “[keep on being] filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) The Greek tense there is continuous, and I must never think I have “enough.” I have had many distinct times of being filled, including one in which I asked the Lord to hold off, because one more drop and my physical body would have given up, but none of those were “enough” to carry me through to the end. I need always to be hungry for more! Just as eating a delicious feast won’t carry me for more than a day or so at the most, I am to keep taking in the Word of the Lord on a daily basis, opening myself up to His Spirit as I do so. I am to seek to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me in every interaction I have, because it is only as He is flowing that I am genuinely filled. It has been said that we leak, but we were never created to be holding tanks, and I must never forget that.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for the opportunities I have to allow Your Spirit to flow through me today. I pray that my students would have hearts and ears to receive what You want to pour through me. I pray that my interactions this afternoon would likewise be opportunities for You to use me. And I pray that I would be a consistent, unstinting supply to my wife, so that together we may be all that You desire of us, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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