We often speak about the person of God the Father and the person of God the Son, but we often shy away from speaking openly about the person of God the Holy Spirit. Why is that?
As I honestly pose that question to myself, the honest answer is that there are so many different views on the Holy Spirit. Some say we are granted the Holy Spirit at the point of conversion. Some say we must also have a filling of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the speaking in tongues. Some say we must have a specific moment of that filling as a one-time event, while others say we need to be filled as often as possible.
Some say we do not need a second filling beyond the impartation of the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation while the other side of that coin says you must be filled and speak in tongues to be truly filled with the Holy Spirit. I say the enemy will use anything - even our views on the Holy Spirit - to bring division to the body of Christ.
I have been asked by non-charismatics if I speak in tongues. I have been asked by charismatics if I speak in tongues. Both want to draw a line in the sand that says basically, “If you do speak in tongues, we have no basis for true fellowship” while the other side says, “If you do not speak in tongues, we have no basis of fellowship.” I love responding to both views with “It’s none of your business whether I do or whether I don’t if it is going to lead to division.”
My personal belief is that we are granted the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation…and that I need to be filled with the Spirit as often as I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Is salvation a one-time moment or are we being saved each and every day? Do we have need of the Bread of Life one time, or do we need to partake of the Bread of Life every day? Do we need Living Water one time, or do we need to be drinking in the Living Water of Jesus Christ every day? I needed the power of the Holy Spirit at the very instance of my salvation…and I have discovered that I pour out that Spirit to others every day - and that, as a result, I need to be filled again and again and again!
Whether I speak in tongues is not the issue. The true evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit is the fruit that filling bears and produces in and through my life:
[Galatians 5:19-26 NASB] 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. [Galatians 5:19-26 NASB]
How can we tell if someone is filled with the Holy Spirit? We simply observe whether or not we see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives…but whether we see that fruit or not, we are not released from the greatest commandment of all: to love our neighbor. We are commanded to love. We are not commanded to agree!
Personally, I know many people who do not speak in tongues but whom I consider full of the Holy Spirit. Conversely, I know many people who speak in tongues who are full of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I have met people who say they are filled with the Holy Spirit who show no such fruit…in both camps!
In all honesty, I do not understand how I ever lived without the belief in the power of the Holy Spirit before I was born again! His Spirit is life to me…Bread of Life and Living Water to me…filling me as often as necessary with strength for that next hard step. He is with me through storm and through fiery trial…through pain and suffering…always pouring out grace to my heart and mind. He is as real as Father God and as real as Jesus Christ…and is as near as I will allow Him to be. All I know is He is both mystery and wonder and that I need Him desperately.
The more we know of the Holy Spirit and the more we communicate with Him, the more we will realize that we need Him very desperately. I also believe that Holy Spirit is always with us – which means that I welcome Him to come to me…whether I know I need Him in a given moment or not. He is God. I am not.
Try to imagine what the first day of that Pentecost in the upper room must have sounded like…felt like…looked like…smelled like…when the power of the Holy Spirit burst upon those gathered there! I WANT that power! I NEED that power! I need my heart to be full of that mighty rushing Wind to blow out the chaff of this world!
[Act 2:1-4 NASB] 1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Act 2:1-4 NASB]
I do not fully understand the full power of the Holy Spirit…and I do not fully understand all His manifestations - but I know as I empty myself out, He is the only One Who can truly fill me again and again as often as necessary. Let us cry out to Him and allow Him to fill any empty places in our hearts and minds each and every day of our lives!
[Zechariah 4:6 NASB] 6 Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. [Zechariah 4:6 NASB]
It is futility for us to think we can live abundant, overcoming lives apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us not be afraid to seek Him and to be filled with His refreshing presence. After all, He is always with us. We might as well enjoy and take advantage of that reality. It’s called relationship! Welcome the Holy Spirit of God into your life today and be refreshed…as often as needed!
Be filled with love.
Be filled with joy.
Be filled with peace.
Be filled with patience.
Be filled with kindness.
Be filled with goodness.
Be filled with faithfulness.
Be filled with gentleness.
Be filled with self-control.
Just be filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit…I don’t care whether you speak in tongues or not!
To listen to a podcast on the Holy Spirit, go to http://podcast.dennisjernigan.com/e/holy-spirit-come-1548861430/
Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/illustrations/fire-heart-heart-fire-love-symbol-961194/