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FIRST-PERSON: The Spirit-filled life

PLANO, Texas (BP)–I remember when I was a little boy living in Arkansas, there was a small rock church on the other side of town. I heard adults whispering about all the things that went on in that church — people rolling in the aisles, shouting and hollering, speaking in strange languages, and even some rumors that they handled snakes.

Nobody wanted anything to do with that church or the people that attended. As a result, it seems that some people built up a resistance to the Holy Spirit.

Christians have almost been afraid of the Holy Spirit for quite some time and have even forgotten that He is still a vital part of the Trinity. We certainly talk about God the Father and God the Son, but we don’t want anyone to think that we’re out on a limb somewhere by going overboard in our beliefs or thoughts about the Holy Spirit. Because we don’t want to be out on that limb, most of us have never even climbed up the tree. We’re so afraid of going overboard that we haven’t even gotten in the boat.

For generations, Christians have missed the blessing of walking completely in the Spirit. As someone once said, “We don’t have to fry in fanaticism or freeze in formalism,” but we can certainly walk in the Spirit. And that’s not at all excessive.

Jesus Christ was the most Spirit-filled individual who ever walked the face of this earth — yet He was gentle in His nature. He was not out of control, but rather under control. The Spirit-filled life will put you under control and make you more like Jesus Christ.

Certainly we want to be careful about any movement that has the Holy Spirit as the figurehead, because the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not to call attention to Himself. Instead, He always points people toward Jesus and makes them more like Him.

Instruction on living the Spirit-filled life is found all throughout Scripture. Ephesians 5:17-18 says, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit….”

God has promised a wonderful, abundant and victorious life for every Christian. The answer for this kind of life is not education, activity, emotionalism, legalism or ritualism. Instead, it is walking in the Spirit of God. Understand it. This isn’t just for the preachers, missionaries or full-time Christian workers. It is your right and privilege as a child of God.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? It means to possess the Spirit personally. The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” I’ve even heard people refer to the Spirit as some kind of influence or power. The Holy Spirit is a person. Don’t forget that.

Jesus said in John 14:16, “I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide in you forever.”

We are to yield to the Holy Spirit completely by submitting ourselves to His work within us. We don’t need more of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit needs more of us. We need to give our lives and abandon ourselves to Him so that the Spirit of God can take priority in our lives.

Finally, we are to walk in the Spirit daily. This means the Spirit of God will control us continually. Get up every day and say, “Lord, I yield myself to You this day. Think through me. Live through me. Minister through me. Make me like You, Lord.”

The problem with us is that we often “leak” because of our disobedience and departure from God’s will, so we must seek to be filled with the Spirit every day. You can be filled with the Spirit if you desire Him, yield yourself to Him, and believe and receive Him by faith.

The Scripture says that “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And we know that if He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we’ve asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Is it God’s will that we be Spirit-filled? Absolutely! When we pray, we are assured that He will hear us and will grant our petitions. The Spirit-filled life will empower us to be the kind of parent, neighbor, friend and witness for Jesus that we want to be. Isn’t it about time we stopped trying to live the Christian life on our own and started trusting and walking in the flow of the Spirit of God?
For more information on Jack Graham, visit www.jackgraham.org. The website contains Graham’s sermons in audio and video format, as well as an online store with resources. Visitors also can sign up for “A Daily Word from Pastor Graham.”

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  • Jack Graham