The Empowered Life: Practical Ways to Demonstrate a Naturally Supernatural Lifestyle
By Alex & Hanna Absalom
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is such an extraordinary thing to consider. Imagine this: God the all-powerful and everywhere-present creator and sustainer of the universe lets you and me invite Him to come and live inside of us.
“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” Ephesians 1:13, 14 makes clear that every disciple of Jesus receives the Holy Spirit at salvation.
Yet, the book of Acts speaks of people being saved who hadn’t yet heard of the Holy Spirit or been filled with Him.
For instance, in Acts 8:14-17 the apostles heard of Philip’s ministry in Samaria, where many people were becoming Christians. Peter and John were sent to visit Samaria, where they prayed for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:1-6 records Paul’s visit to the believers in Ephesus, where he discovered that they hadn’t yet heard of the Holy Spirit. “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). In this passage the filling of the Spirit is also tied to water baptism, but not in a totally linear way.
At other times God pours out His Holy Spirit upon those who had already received the Spirit, in what can best be described as an additional measure.
Keep on Being Filled
Paul reflects on these experiences through his instruction in Ephesians 5:18. “Be filled with the Spirit.” The Greek verb that we translate as ‘be filled’ is technically a present, passive, imperative command. In other words, it is ongoing (present tense), done to us by God (passive), and an imperative (we are to seek out and welcome this ongoing filling). Thus it could be translated as, “Keep on allowing yourself to be filled with the Spirit.”
The Bible seems to teach that while every Christian has the Holy Spirit, not every Christian is filled with as much Holy Spirit as is possible. God wants us to be filled up with the Holy Spirit. As we serve others, heal the sick, share about Jesus, teach from the Bible, we find ourselves giving out and in need of refreshment and fresh filling. As we follow Jesus into new experiences, places, and conversations, we need more of the Holy Spirit. As we grow and mature, we need more fruits, gifts, and anointing of the Spirit.
How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
Really, all you need to pray is, “Come Holy Spirit.” But oftentimes it’s helpful to unpack things a little, especially if you want to identify an area where you or the person you’re praying with has become stuck. We’re going to suggest a simple 5-step process, inspired by Luke 11:5-13.
Step 1. Eagerly desire
“The one who seeks finds” (Luke 11:9). Would you like more of the Spirit? This is important because you receive by faith.
Step 2. Ask God
“How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11: 13) Don’t put God in a box. Often we can only imagine him doing this much—the amount that fits in the box. Ask, “Am I missing out on something, God?” Ask to experience everything God has for us as believers.
Step 3. Cooperate
“To the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9).
In practice this means we pray and ask, confess sin, spend time in worship, and invite the laying on of hands from other believers.
Step 4. Believe
He is not tricking us with snakes and scorpions. (Luke 11:11, 12)
Believe that He is a good Father who truly wants the best for you, including filling you with His empowering presence.
Step 5. Persevere
“Because of your shameless audacity . . .” (Luke 11:8).
You didn’t develop your closest relationships in one day. It takes a lifetime to grow into our fullness in Christ.
Take some time by yourself and ask God to fill you afresh with His Holy Spirit. Ask someone else to pray for you. And look for opportunities to pray for others to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit too. Maybe it’s during a one-on-one or maybe during a weekend service.
Simply record what happens and what your experience was in each situation. Don’t measure it by external manifestations or even feelings. There are no expectations of you beyond asking God for more of His Spirit.
We desperately need more of the Spirit in our lives. Come, Holy Spirit.
This article is an excerpt from Empowered Life, by Alex and Hannah Absalom available today as a download at Exponential.org.
Alex and Hannah lead Dandelion Resourcing.