Isn’t it enough to be saved? Do I need more than Jesus? No, but you need the same Spirit that empowered the Man Jesus to empower you. John the Baptist tied the work of the cross to the pouring out of the Spirit. When he saw Jesus, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Later he said, “He on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, he it is who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Passion and Pentecost form one inseparable whole; we need to be saved and sent. Salvation is not a matter of just getting us rescued from hell and going to heaven. We have a job to do! Jesus was the Father’s rep on earth. He left. Now we are. Ask the Spirit to enable you.
Why do we need to be filled? Because we cannot live the Christian life or carry out that assignment in our strength. It is not difficult, just impossible. God’s plan is for you is to look like Jesus and do what Jesus did. That’s not going to happen by grit but by the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit (meaning only the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, etc.) is the character of Jesus. The gifts are the ministry of Jesus. And you get them! Really cool.
How are we filled with the Spirit?
We remove obstacles. Clogged pipes keep the water of the Spirit from flowing through us. That includes wounds not healed, like father wounds, and strongholds we have not dismantled, like unforgiveness, anxiety, or immorality. It also includes fears: of emotions, of failure, of people. A wrong picture of God (angry, passive, distant—like Dad?) can also hinder us. We acknowledge our brokenness and ask for healing. It works!
We confess our sins. The Spirit fills empty vessels. Get empty to get full. Confess sins of the heart as well as sins of commission and omission—pride, insensitivity, indifference. Be specific.
We ask in faith to be filled. And we keep on asking until we are confident that God did what He promised. Jesus said to ask…seek…knock! There is an initial filling and ongoing fillings. It is a good idea to ask someone to pray for you. We all need the Spirit—today!
The disciples did not look like world-changers in the Upper Room. All that changed when the Spirit came. They turned their world on its head. Jesus said, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13). So we ask.
Should we expect feelings? You would if you stuck you finger in an electric socket. But sometimes love comes gently, like the Father affirming His Son when He was filled.
What results can we expect? In Peter’s Pentecost sermon, he quoted from Joel: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). Gifts of the Spirit, especially tongues and prophecy, often accompany the Spirit’s filling.
Is speaking in tongues included? When people ask me if they need to speak in tongues, I respond, “No, but you may.” Open your mouth in faith and begin to speak, but not in your native tongue. A language of praise will be there. How cool is that! Keep using it and it opens you up to other gifts.