And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)
Over the last couple of weeks, we have discussed the context of the verse above in light of the passage in which it was written, and we have studied the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us conclude this study with the prerequisites we need to be filled with the Spirit.
The Conditions of the Filling of the Holy Spirit
We should take special note of these conditions. We need Holy Spirit filling in our lives, our homes, our families, our churches, our jobs, and most importantly, for the glory and honor of our Saviour. Christ is honored and glorified most from the life of a Spirit-filled Christian. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in this world is to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. If we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, our lives will magnify the Lord.
People, in general, are full of themselves. Sin creates a lot of self-centeredness and pride in the heart of the individual. Some of the most difficult battles fought are the battles fought in the lives of the ablest people. Many churches have talented singers who can sing beautifully, but because those singers are not Spirit-filled, their songs have no lasting influence on the lives of those to whom they should be ministering…nor do they bring God any glory. God cannot use even the most talented preachers to make a difference in others’ lives if they are not filled with the Spirit.
In God’s Word, we see three conditions of Holy Spirit filling:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)
In this passage, we clearly see from verse 39 that Jesus is speaking of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Notice the word “thirst.” Christ said, “If any man thirst…” The word thirst speaks of desire. We must have a longing to be filled with the Spirit. We must thirst for the Lord.
A great preacher once said that the secret to the filling of the Holy Spirit is absolute and total surrender to Jesus Christ, and anything the Spirit points out in your life that needs to be given to Him, at that moment, you give it to Him.
All of us have come to the altar and said, “Lord, I surrender all.” Then months later, we come again before the Lord and say, “Lord, here is another area in my life I want to surrender.” It is not just a life we live; it is a war we fight, a war against the forces of Hell. The battles are without and within. We are losing the fight without the aid of the Holy Spirit of God.
It is easy to become complacent when we know we are saved and going to heaven. We will safely make it there, but many of us will arrive ragged and torn instead of victorious because we failed to live with the filling of the Holy Spirit. Some people at this moment are about to be crushed underneath a heavy load that does not need to be crushing them; they could live victoriously despite their circumstances if they were only filled with the Holy Spirit.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)
How is it that we thirst after God? Most of us do not know what it is to be truly thirsty—to desire or crave nothing more than a drink. We are to seek after God with a true thirst. Jesus Christ cried out, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.“ This filling of the Spirit begins with desire. Can we honestly say that our souls pant after God? Are we that thirsty for the Holy Spirit’s filling?
The second condition for Holy Spirit filling is a strong belief in Christ. Let’s look at John 7:38 again:
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
If we come and believe God for this promise to be filled with the Spirit, we will serve God with more liberty and freedom. We will know in our hearts something of the nearness of Christ that we have not known. God will give us peace that we have not had to believe that He is in control and that all will be well.
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? (Luke 11:11-13)
Finally, the third condition needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit is asking. We need but simply ask for Him to fill us. Remember, the Holy Spirit is not a substance; He is a Person. Being filled with the Spirit is not like receiving a blood transfusion. He is a Person, and we must ask Him to fill us. He already dwells inside of us; it’s time we gave Him control over us.
If we want to hold onto our lives and live the way we want to live, we will never be filled with the Holy Spirit, but if we hunger and thirst after Him, and believe that He wants to fill us and will fill us, and if we ask Him to do it, we have God’s promise that His Holy Spirit will fill us. But are we asking? Are we believing? Do we even desire it in the first place? How many of us will come to the Lord and say, “Lord, fill me”?
The Holy Spirit cannot fill you if He has never indwelt you. The Bible assures us that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within a person at the moment he receives Christ as Saviour. To learn more about receiving Christ as Saviour, click here for the Bible Way to Heaven.
To read more about what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, click here.