Monday, September 5, 2016

The Holy Spirit's Work In Our Lives

This material on the Holy Spirit is from my book "The Foundations Of Godly Living."

The Practical Implications of Being Filled 
with the Holy Spirit

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be conformed to the image of Christ, and we will develop personal godliness. I have been privileged to have known some of the most godly servants of the Lord over the years. Some of these men and women have been such outstanding Christians and have lived lives that are truly astonishing in their zeal and devotion to Christ. Some of these believers have had to overcome great hardships and handicaps, yet they lived in such a way as to be an amazing testimony and credit to the Lord they loved and adored. What was the secret behind their great devotion to Christ? I can say that without a doubt it has been their deep spirituality that came from the filling and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual people are like Christ. When the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, He goes to great lengths to conform us into the image and likeness of Christ. British scholar and author C. S. Lewis, in his book Screw Tape Letters, allows the Devil to make the point of how God is making His children replicas of Jesus Christ His Son. The Devil sarcastically says:

“One must face the fact…an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own.”7

One of the joys of my own life over the years has been at those times that I have been approached by people outside of the faith who asked me what was it that made me different? What was the secret or the reason for the joy in my life? How thrilling to tell them that the life they see in me is a result of my being born again and having been indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit. Every true Christian should be able to share similar stories of how their life touched the lives of others by their example of love and joy in Christ. If this has never happened to you-ask yourself, “why?”

The reason Paul commands his readers to be filled with the Spirit on a daily and continual basis is that we need God’s strength in order to live spiritual lives. No one is filled with joy, peace, love, kindness, etc. all the time. When we fail to obey this command, we can quickly slip back into the flesh and begin to live lives that are unspiritual. A life dominated by the flesh is a life that is doomed to destruction. You remember what Paul said concerning those who practice the works of the flesh, “… those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:21. Listen carefully, those who live in the flesh will die.

Two verses that speak to the need of living a spiritual life are Romans 15:13, and Psalm 42:1-2. Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The Apostle Paul makes it clear to the church at Rome that joy, hope and peace come from the filling of the Holy Spirit. The Psalmist also gives us his testimony in Psalms 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God When shall I come and appear before God?” This spiritual longing for God comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. Do you have such a longing for God? Would you describe your spiritual life as one of intense and passionate longing for the reality of God in your life? May you search you heart and see if these things are a reality in your life. If you have no     passion for Christ in your life, you should consider whether or not you have really been born again.

Let me summarize the implications of the filling of the Holy Spirit. If we are filled with the Spirit and are under His control, we should be the best husbands, wives, friends, workers, citizens, and people that others  ever meet. The Christian testimony of those who truly know the Lord is that they are characterized by these spiritual fruits that Paul mentions in Galatians 5:22-23. If our lives were characterized by love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control would not the world be amazed by the difference they would see in each of us? The fact that there is so little difference between the professing Christian and the person of the world who is not professing the Christian faith should alarm us. Pastors must realize that perhaps many of the people in their churches may be unsaved believers or they may be living very sub-par lives even though they profess to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In every generation the world needs to see a genuine and consistent Christian testimony from those who are followers of Jesus Christ. When Christian profession and Christian living do not measure up, the result will be a lack of credibility before the watching world. Each professing believer should grieve if they are a part of this problem. 

Steps to Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

  First, what we need to do is realize that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command. This is not just a suggestion. We are commanded to be filled by the Holy Spirit every day of our lives. 

Second, we must have a desire to live a holy and godly life. Jesus taught us in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled

Third, we need to humbly ask the Holy Spirit Who indwells us to fill us and take control of our lives. This means yielding to Him and allowing His presence to empower us.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, to take control of your life, and to enable you to live a godly life. Romans 12:1-2 tells us, “I beseech you  therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” C. H. Spurgeon had this to say about asking God to fill us with His Holy Spirit:

“I want to remind you of those blessed words of the Master, "Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" You see, there is a distinct promise to the children of God, that their heavenly Father will give them the Holy Spirit if they ask for His power; and that promise is made to be exceedingly strong by the instances joined to it. But he says, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" He makes it a stronger case than that of an ordinary parent.”8

Fourth, yield your life moment by moment to the Lord and walk in the Spirit. Obedience to the commandments of God and a desire to live in holiness is essential to a Spirit-filled life.

  Fifth, you must confess any known sin in your life and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the desire and the power to live the Christian life. When you sin, immediately confess it to the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit to enable you to walk with God. 

Sixth, and finally, you must receive the Spirit by faith. Jesus told His disciples that if we ask anything according to His will, He will grant it to us. We know it is the will of God that we are filled, controlled, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a godly life. Therefore, we can have full assurance that the Lord is delighted to grant us this filling with His Spirit, for this is His will for our lives.
One Christian leader pleaded with his people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

“…be filled with the Spirit. Seek to be more and more under His blessed influence. Strive to have every thought, and word, and action, and habit, brought under obedience to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Grieve Him not by inconsistencies and conformity to the world. Quench Him not by trifling with little infirmities and small besetting sins. Seek rather to have Him ruling and reigning more completely over you every week that you live. Pray that you may yearly grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ. This is the way to do good to the world. An eminent Christian is a light-house—seen far and wide by others, and doing good to myriads, whom he never knows. This is the way to enjoy much inward comfort in this world, to have bright assurance in death, to leave broad evidences behind us, and at last to receive a great crown.”9

Let us all strive to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day of our lives. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is one of the foundational truths of godly living. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live a godly life.

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