The Boy Who Is Lord: Be filled with the Spirit

Luke 1:76–80

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. 

There’s only one commandment in the New Testament that tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” John the Baptizer is the embodiment of that. He wasn’t controlled by substances; he was controlled by the Spirit.

When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit regenerates you. You’re born again, and He takes up residence in you and gives you a new heart, a new mind, a new nature, new desires, and a new life. The Bible calls that being baptized or sealed in the Spirit (Acts 1:5; Ephesians 1:13).

Every true Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit in this sense. As we see with Zechariah, Elizabeth, John, and other people in the Bible, however, there can be multiple, unique fillings of the Holy Spirit that occur throughout the course of life. These fillings are empowering experiences for the believer to experience more of God’s power at work in and through them in love, power, service, healing, deliverance, and victory.

Through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will take up residence in you so that you can live a life under the control and power of the Holy Spirit, as John did and as Jesus did during His life on earth.

Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind (John 3:8). Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is always flowing. To be filled with the Holy Spirit simply means that we live our lives like a ship with a sail. When our sail is up, we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, direct our life, and lead us where He wants us to go, to become who He wants us to be, and to do what He wants us to do. Our sail comes down through unrepentant sin, unbelief, clinging to lies rather than truth, foolish doctrine, and bad life decisions, all of which “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Put your sail up. Repent, believe, read your Bible, pray, submit, and be in community with God’s people. In this way, God will fill you, lead you, guide you, and empower you. He is willing, and if we will avail ourselves to His presence and power, He will fill us.

Without the Holy Spirit, Christianity becomes nothing but a list of dos and don’ts. You either live a decent life and become proud as a result, or you fail to measure up and fall into despair. Neither result leads to the kind of humble joy that comes from the Holy Spirit.

John was filled with the Holy Spirit; that’s how he did it. There is no secret. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God’s power enables us to be who we cannot be and do what we cannot do because it’s God power, not ours. The Christian life is a supernatural life of God at work in us and through us.

Is your sail up or down? Do you have a relationship of trust and love with the Holy Spirit? If not, ask for prayer from other Christians. If so, thank the Holy Spirit for His specific work and guidance in your life.

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