The Holy Spirit has been on my mind a lot this year. The main question persists: what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
What led me on this quest?
My church has been studying the book of Acts in great detail so the subject of the Holy Spirit comes up regularly. I belong to Compel, a Christian writing group with Proverbs 31. Compel featured a teaching about the Holy Spirit a few months ago which was timely since the study of Acts was raising some questions. This teaching led me to purchase Suzanne Eller’s recent release, The Spirit-Led Heart.
Although I studied this book, I still have questions so I am going to check out some of the books Eller suggested for further study. Billy Graham’s The Holy Spirit is at the top of my list since Graham made such an impact with his humble yet prominent and respected life.
What is Eller’s book about?
Eller gave examples of how the Holy Spirit helps us. The Spirit helps us to be confident, to be empowered, to be defined by truth, to have direction, and to be bold. The Spirit also helps us to remember that we are advocated and comforted, counseled, given discernment and wisdom, convicted, and gifted.
She reminded me that God wants to work in partnership with us and that His love and acceptance aren’t based on what we do. Since this contradicts the way the world works, it is sometimes difficult to remain in this mindset. As we live life, we empty ourselves and are refilled again and again as we reach out to God. This refilling is what confuses me. I believe she means that as we linger with God, He fills us with what we need to do what He wants us to do.
Eller said we sometimes lack faith or trust and fail to be bold to do what He asks because we know the costs. Spirit-filled people shake things up because miracles happen when we step out in faith. The Holy Spirit helps us to know the truth. As Eller said, when we know the truth, we live the truth. Of course, we know that the truth leads to freedom from believing lies. Who wouldn’t want to know and live the truth and avoid deception?
The following Corrie ten Boom quote really struck me: “Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” That chapter reminded me that God has a plan. That plan will happen when He wants it to so I can just rest. I don’t have to strive or work myself silly. Having a willing heart to go or do something is our part. God will do the rest.
We really can do nothing that matters without God. Eller reminded me that before I can be bold, I need to listen, surrender, obey and be in absolute fellowship with God. If I’m not filled up, I’m running on empty. Working in our own power will leave us feeling tired, discouraged, or afraid. In our busy world, slowing down to be still and listen is difficult. We need to be quiet though so we can listen and hear. If we can’t hear, we can’t obey.
The Holy Spirit is our helper so if we need help, we just need to ask. We don’t have to fight. He will fight for us because we are worth it. He also helps us to know what to do in certain circumstances. If we get all frazzled inside, we won’t be able to know the next step.
Gifts of the Spirit
The final chapter about gifts reminded me that we want the gifts, but seeking the giver of the gifts is far more valuable and wiser. Knowing the Giver is our ultimate goal. The gifts are the blessings, rewards, and perks of having such a close relationship.
The gifts from the Holy Spirit are wisdom, knowledge, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues. (See 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.) God determines when to give these gifts and to whom. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Eller said that it is “the fruit that matters to God.” Eller said that we shouldn’t tell God what to do with our gift. Instead she said she sat in his presence and told him that she longed for it.
What can seekers do?
Maybe I have been making something simple complicated. I simply need to seek the Giver. He will give me the gift I need at the time I need it. As Eller said, I need to be “open to what he desires to give and what he wants” me to do.
That’s what we all need to do.
If you have questions about the Holy Spirit of God, I hope you’ll find a copy of this book. It will educate you, encourage you, and inspire you.