Christians are distinguished from non-Christians as those who have been born again, who have received eternal life, who are baptized into the body of Christ, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and who are sealed by the Holy Spirit. These works of the Spirit are evident in any true Christian.
It is obvious, however, that all Christians do not have the same degree of spirituality, or wisdom, or yieldedness to the Lord. Accordingly, the Scriptures speak of those who are spiritual and those who are fleshly, living in the power and direction of the sin nature. The Corinthians who were addressed in 1 Corinthians 1:2 as “those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours” are nevertheless classified as either spiritual or worldly. First Corinthians 3:1 states, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ.” How can one define the difference between a Christian who is spiritual and one who is not?
The difference is related to the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart. Every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit, but every Christian does not heed the direction and instruction of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, those who listen to the world rather than to the Holy Spirit are worldly, or fleshly, and those who are guided by the Holy Spirit can be spiritually minded and enjoy the things of God. Those who are spiritual “live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), that is, they walk, or live their life, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christians who have been saved for a long period of time often achieve spiritual maturity when they have grown in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18). Spiritual growth toward maturity is revealed in Ephesians 4:11-16:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Spiritual maturity, however, is not measured by the length of time that one is a Christian, but rather by the extent a Christian grows in the knowledge and fellowship of the Lord. It is possible even for a new Christian to be filled with the Spirit, as illustrated a number of times in Scripture.
- The Holy Spirit knows the exact requirements necessary to help you become a great leader. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” (Matt. 20; 26,27)
Application: Ask the Lord to reveal more of the qualities, concepts and duties required of a servant leader through the Spirit’s illumination.
- The Holy Spirit guides you to Godly leaders who will serve as great examples for you. David wrote, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psa. 32:8)
Application: Ask the Lord to guide you to the best Pastors who can model the character qualities, skills and thinking of a great leader for your instruction.
- The Holy Spirit transforms you into a great leader as you endure hardships for Christ’s sake. Paul wrote, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:8)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you endure the hardships, sufferings and setbacks involved with learning to become a great leader.
- The Holy Spirit refines you into Christlikeness as you practice what is preached in the Bible. Paul wrote, “To be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:16)
Ask the Lord to use the Spirit in whatever way He chooses to free you from all impurities.
- The Holy Spirit helps you not take criticism personally or become bitter from it. The Spirit of God helps us develop a greater emotional maturity so that we can let criticism bounce off our spiritual armor of faith, truth, and righteousness. Paul wrote, “Take put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” (Eph. 6:13)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you turn negative criticisms into positive motivations to trust God as your shield and defender.
- The Holy Spirit strengthens you when you are fatigued. Isaiah wrote, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)
Application: Ask the Lord to give you the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual strength to accomplish all He desires in your personal life, relationships and ministries.
- The Holy Spirit gives you the knowledge, wisdom and understanding to deal with any problem. Paul prayed, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” (Eph. 1:17)
Application: Ask the Lord to give you all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that you need to make the best decisions to solve a whole range of problems in your organization.
- The Holy Spirit gives you a special sense of His reassuring companionship when you are feeling lonely and depressed. David wrote, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psa. 16:11)
Application: Ask the Lord to be your ever-present friend
- The Holy Spirit fills you with His confidence when you or your ideas are rejected. David wrote, “You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the confidence of all the ends of the earth.” (Psa. 65:5)
Application: Ask the Lord to fill you with His confidence whenever you are feeling rejected.
- The Holy Spirit gives you assurance of future rewards when you wonder if your efforts are worth it. Paul wrote, “Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Cor. 15:58)
Application: Ask the Lord to give you special assurance that everything done for Christ and His kingdom will reap a huge result for God’s glory.
- The Holy Spirit helps you identify, associate and relate well with the key people in your organization. Paul knew something about how the Holy Spirit gave Him supernatural ability to identify with a wide range of people. Paul wrote, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor. 9:22)
Application: Ask the Lord to give you greater abilities to relate well with all kinds of key people in your organization for God’s purposes.
- The Holy Spirit helps you to make difficult decisions when it seems everyone is against you. Paul wrote, “We pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” (2 Cor. 13:7-10)
Application: Ask the Lord for the courage, grace and love to make difficult decisions.
- The Holy Spirit keeps you from falling into many temptations of leadership. Paul wrote, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (I Cor. 10:13)
Chapter 6: The Holy Spirit Fills You
The seeker after God must be sure that the experience of being filled is actually possible… that being filled is a part of the total plan of God in redemption: that it is nothing added or extra, nothing strange or queer, but a proper and spiritual operation of God, based upon and growing out of the work of Christ in atonement. He must believe that the whole thing is normal and right. Until he is so convinced I recommend that he take time out to fast and pray and meditate upon the Scriptures. Faith comes from the Word of God.
After a man is convinced that he can be filled with the Spirit, he must desire to be. To the interested inquirer I ask: Are you sure that you want to be possessed by a Spirit who, while He is pure and gentle and wise and loving, will yet insist upon being Lord of your life? Are you sure you want your personality to be taken over by One who will require obedience to the written Word? Who will not tolerate any of the self-sins in your life: self-love, self-indulgence? Who will not permit you to strut or boast or show off? Who will take the direction of your life away from you and will reserve the sovereign right to test you and discipline you? Who will strip away from you many loved objects which secretly harm your soul? Unless you can answer an eager “Yes” to these questions, you do not want to be filled. You may want the thrill or the victory or the power, but you do not really want to be filled with the Spirit.
Condensed from Keys to the Deeper Life, by A. W. Tozer of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. © 1957 by Sunday Magazine, Inc. Zondervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Used by permission.
Others Are Being Filled
The Holy Spirit Within Us
Did you know that God is “pouring out His Holy Spirit upon all men,” now even more than on the Day of Pentecost? Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled in part then and in a greater measure now.
“This is what I will do in the last days, God says: I will pour out my Spirit upon all men” (Acts 2:17).
Between 300 A.D. and 1900 A.D. some individuals and groups continued to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Augustine, Xavier, the Waldenses, Zinzendorf, Finney, and many of the early Methodists and Quakers had the Pentecostal experience and power.
In 1900 God began pouring out His Spirit on His children all around the world. From then on the Pentecostal revival has grown. Adherents in all Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have been estimated at more than half a billion people (David A. Barrett, World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001, p 16-18). Many thousands have been filled with the Spirit in Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and other churches.
Who are being filled with the Holy Spirit? Those who hunger and thirst for God. Many go without some meals in order to spend more time in prayer. Hunger of the soul has become more important than that of the body.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:2).
Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice: “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, streams of living water will pour out from his heart.” Jesus said this about the Spirit which those who believed in him were about to receive (John 7:37.39).
The Holy Spirit is filling those who want Him to take control of their lives. They surrender mind, emotions, will and body so God can use them in any way He chooses.
Make the Holy Spirit Welcome
Making the Spirit Welcome
What do you do when you learn that a dear friend is coming to visit you? You clean the house and get ready to welcome him. Your Friend the Holy Spirit wants to come in and fill you. General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wrote:
Before we go to our knees to receive the Baptism of Fire, … see to it that your souls are in harmony with the will and purpose of the Holy Spirit whom you seek. See to it that the channel of communication, by which the baptism of the Holy Spirit must be received, be kept open.
I heard of some people … who could not get any water. They turned the tap repeatedly, but no water came. … Plenty of water in the reservoir; pipes, taps and connections all right, but no water. At last they pulled up the pipe and found a mouse in it. It is no use turning the tap, praying, singing or even believing, if there is something you are holding back or refusing to do — some idol, something about which you feel condemned, but which you refuse to give up, something in the pipe. … Out with it; give it no rest; give it up. Destroy your idols and hindrances and stoppages, with an everlasting destruction. Let there be free communication between you and God. Let all go, and you shall be flooded before you rise from your knees; the world shall feel the power of it, and God shall have all the glory.
Believe and Receive
You receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit like you received salvation: by faith. That is, you just believe God’s promise and accept the gift that He offers you. Here are some of the promises that will help you believe and receive. They are for you. Memorize them and say them over and over to yourself. As you realize the truth of them it will be easy for you to accept God’s gift for you.
“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. . . . Would any one of you fathers give his son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, the Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9, 11-13).
Believe God. Don’t be afraid to ask. And don’t be afraid when the power of the Holy Spirit comes on you. God loves you. You are His child. He won’t give you a snake for a fish!
Turn away from your sins, each one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit. For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away — all whom the Lord our God calls to himself (Acts 2:38-39).
“The Holy Spirit … is God’s gift to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32).
To receive a gift you just believe that it is for you, thank the giver, and put out your hand to receive it. You take hold of it and make it yours. In the same way, you believe God’s promise. You go to Him and ask Him for the gift He has offered. You thank God for it and accept it as your own. You believe that the Holy Spirit comes in to fill you. You surrender to Him your will, your desires and ambitions, and let Him take first place in your life. As you do, He will fill you. And you will know it.
Did you receive God’s Spirit by doing … or by hearing and believing the gospel? … We, through faith … receive the Spirit promised by God (Galatians 3:2, 14).
Surrender to the Holy Spirit
You want the Holy Spirit to fill you so that He can lead you, pray through you, give you the words to say when you witness, give you faith to believe for His miracle-working power. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is your initiation into this kind of life. You experience some of all this work of the Holy Spirit in the baptism. It is like a door through which you enter into the Spirit–filled, Spirit-directed life. As you enter, you surrender completely to the Holy Spirit your: Mind, Emotions, Will and Body.
Often those praying to be filled raise their hands in a sign of surrender and invitation to the Holy Spirit to take control. Some receive while singing songs of surrender.
Surrender Your Mind
The Holy Spirit comes in so that He can help you pray and witness. So you can expect Him to impress on your mind certain things to pray for or to thank God for. Obey the Holy Spirit. As you do, He will pray through you in your own language or in the one that He chooses.
Surrender Your Emotions
Your emotional nature is part of you; surrender it to the Holy Spirit. If you feel like crying when you are praying, don’t hold back the tears. Let the Holy Spirit break up all the hardness, self-will, pride, doubt and resistance to God that He may have found in you. Let Him convict you, cleanse you and make you what He wants you to be. Weep for your friends and loved ones lost in sin, or for the millions who have never heard the gospel. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in you for the salvation of souls.
When the Holy Spirit fills you, He may give you such love that you will just worship God and praise Him with your whole soul. Or you may be so happy that you feel like laughing for joy. Go ahead and express this love and joy from the Holy Spirit.
You rejoice with a great and glorious joy, which words cannot express (1 Peter 1:8).
For God’s Kingdom is … righteousness and peace and joy that the Holy Spirit gives (Romans 14:17).
Remember, however, that God’s blessings come to different persons in different ways. Some people just don’t feel any great emotion when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. So don’t worry about it or try to work yourself up into an emotional state. Benjamin A. Bauer says:
The power of the Holy Spirit upon you cannot be accurately measured by the amount of feeling you possess, but rather by the faith that abides within. The power of the Holy Ghost may be working through you mightily without producing a particle of emotion in your physical man. But a man or woman filled with the Spirit will always be full of faith and love.
Surrender Your Will
You have invited the Holy Spirit in to take full control of your life. Don’t start arguing with Him over how He is to do it. Don’t insist on an experience just like someone else had. Accept what He has for you. Some people resist the power of God because they are afraid it will make them look foolish. What if people do criticize you? They called Jesus and Paul crazy and said the Spirit-filled believers at Pentecost were drunk. Let go of self-will and let God have His way.
Surrender Your Body
The Holy Spirit will fill your body as well as your mind and emotional nature. You have prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit; He may let you feel that power so that you will know that it is real.
People respond physically to the power of the Holy Spirit in different ways, much as they did in Bible times. Moses trembled greatly. Daniel fell down as if he were dead. David danced for joy before the ark. The lame man jumped for joy after he was healed. And the 120 on the Day of Pentecost spoke in other languages as the Spirit took control of their tongues and gave them the words to speak.
The Bible says that the tongue is the hardest to control of all our members. We are quick to say things we shouldn’t, and slow to say what we should. So we surrender our tongues to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help us use them for the glory of God. He lets us know that He has accepted them by taking control and giving us a new language with which to pray and praise God.
People receive this work of the Holy Spirit in several ways. Some suddenly begin to speak fluently in another language without problems, struggles, or doubts. They just yield their vocal organs to the Holy Spirit.
Others yield little by little to the power of the Spirit. Some stammer and struggle to keep speaking clearly in their own language. Some are like children learning to talk as they repeat over and over one or two syllables or words that the Holy Spirit gives them. But as they learn to yield to the Spirit each time they pray, He takes control of their tongues and speaks fluently through them.
Still others feel a strong impression from the Holy Spirit to speak a certain word or words that they do not understand. In faith they accept this leading of the Spirit and speak the words. As they do, the Holy Spirit enables the person to speak in another language — no longer in words that pass through their mind but in direct, supernatural power.
Here is a condensation of Robert W. Cummings’ experience when he was a Presbyterian missionary in India:
I was praising God and saying, “Glory be to Thee, O God.” Suddenly … He seemed to say, “You really are not praising me and praying for My glory, because you are anxious for My Glory, but because you want your Baptism.” I returned to the meeting … and began at once to pray as He had taught me. … O God! be Thou exalted and glorified here, in this meeting, in each of Thy children, in me.”
As I prayed thus with all sincerity, a very powerful spirit of sorrow laid hold of me. … In a spirit that I recognized as not my own I wept my heart out because God was not loved and glorified when He was so worthy.
After the spirit of jealous, burning desire for God’s glory, came a sense of wonderful and supreme joy and freedom. I felt as if I were in the heart of God’s love and freed from all that bound me. I laughed with the joy of it — laughed at my doubts and fears, laughed at the enemies of my soul, and laughed with the joy of triumph over every worry that had attacked me.
For a long time the Spirit taught me to praise Him for His holiness, for His justice, for His righteousness, and for His goodness. Next He taught me the passion of the desire of His heart that His kingdom come. Oh! if we only knew how the Spirit yearns that Christ be crowned King.
The next lesson He taught me was God’s jealous desire that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He began to deal with me personally. He showed me that all my members, my whole body, had been made for His glory.
All this while tremendous Power had been upon my body. … Power that was intelligent. … Power that was infinite, yet stopping before my will and refusing to accomplish its desires except as my will would cooperate.
Then He made it very plain to me that He expected me to use my speech to glorify Christ. He wanted me to give my life to glorify Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world … the Healer … the One who baptizes in Spirit and in fire … the coming King.
Then He let me know that He wanted my tongue to speak through it as He gave utterance. As I yielded it to Him He spoke through me in a language which I did not know or understand. Why? I cannot say. I only know that He made me feel that He, the Holy Spirit, had used my tongue to speak mysteries to God, and that it was eminently fitting that He should seal the flooding and filling of His temple by taking the tongue and worshipping God as He gave utterance, in a language I by my own power could not speak.
God, who makes no two leaves exactly alike, will fill you with the Holy Spirit in the way He chooses. Some are filled with the Holy Spirit right away after their conversion. Others pray a long time before receiving. Some are kneeling at an altar when they are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Others are sitting or standing. Some are in a prayer group in a home. Others are singing, reading the Bible, or going about their work when suddenly a great love for God wells up in them and they burst out praising Him and are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you have been filled but are not as full of the Spirit now as you would like to be. Do what the early Christians did: let Him fill you again to overflowing. “Keep being filled with the Spirit.”
As you see how others are being filled with the Holy Spirit, you realize that God has no favorites. What He is doing for others. He will do for you too. How long you have been converted, where you are, and what you are doing are not important. What is important is your attitude, your hunger and thirst for God, your willingness to obey Him, and your faith that He will keep His promise. Surrender to Him and let Him fill you now right where you are.
God bless you as you put into practice what you have learned. We pray this for you:
We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants, and always do what pleases him. Your lives will be fruitful in all kinds of good works, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious might (Colossians 1:9-11).
You have now completed this important study on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. If you are in need of prayer or other personal ministry assistance, our “WHATSHOTN” Prayer Counseling Center is available to you 24-hours-a-day online.
One Final Word
1. You need a Savior. Read Romans 3:23, Ezekiel 18:20.
2. You cannot save yourself. Read I Timothy 2:5, John 14:6.
3. God desires that the world should be saved. Read John 3:16-17.
4. God sent Jesus who gave His life to save all those who believe in Him. Read Galatians 4:4-5, 1 Peter 3:18.
5. The Bible shows us the way of salvation and teaches how to grow in the Christian life. Read
John 15:5. John 10:10, 2 Peter 3:18.
6. You decide your eternal destiny. Read Luke 13:1-5. Matthew 10:32-33, John 3:35-36.
What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. We would love to talk with you and help you begin your walk with the Lord.
Take the quiz
Now test your knowledge with this short quiz.
1. According to Acts 2:17 what did God say He would do in the last days?
a) judge the wicked
b) pour out His spirit on all men
c) do more miracles
2. According to Acts 2:38 what should someone do before being filled with the Holy Spirit. Choose all that are true
b) be baptized
c) join a church
3. What things must we surrender to the Holy Spirit in order to let Him have His way in our lives? Choose all that are true.
4. God fills believers with the Holy Spirit: (Choose all that are true.)
a) when they accept Jesus as Lord
b) when they ask
c) only in church