Filled With the Spirit or Full of the Spirit?

In our most recent class on the Holy Spirit, we learned that there is a distinction between being filled with the Spirit and being full of the Spirit.

The Bible tells us that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  For example, Paul tells the Corinthians:

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? “1 Corinthians 3:16
He also reminds Timothy:
“Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure that has been entrusted to you.”  1 Timothy 1:14
If you are a Christian, you have been filled with the Spirit, who is with you at all times, to guide, enlighten and comfort.  However, there are also times when the Holy Spirit fills us in a temporary way in order to fulfill a particular task.  This occurs in both the Old and New Testament.
One example is when Samuel anoints David as king:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.” 1 Samuel 16:13-14
Another is when Mary is told by the Angel Gabriel, that she will bear God’s Son:
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
When Peter gave his famous sermon in chapter 4 of Acts, he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8).  In 2 Peter, chapter 1 we are told that all the prophets were “carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  Of course, Jesus Himself was filled by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. (Luke 3:22), when he begins His public ministry.
Maybe you, too, have felt this filling of the Spirit when you were called to take on a task or project that seemed beyond your abilities.  The Spirit is always with us.  He will guide us, enlighten us and empower us to do the things God calls us to do.



When Times are Uncertain — Stand Firm

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to lose focus and be swayed by what seems expedient in the moment.  We’re stressed — we need to make a decision — we give in to worldly pressure even when we know it’s wrong.  That happened to King Saul in the book of 1 Samuel.  In chapter 13, Saul and his army are waiting for the priest, Samuel to arrive and offer a sacrifice to the Lord before going into battle.  Samuel did not arrive in the time expected;  the soldiers were getting restless;  the enemies had mustered;  Saul, in a panic makes the sacrifice himself.  He knew it wasn’t God’s will — but he did it anyway.  He didn’t know what might happen next, so he decided to take control of the situation himself.  In the end, he is punished by losing his kingship.

We’re all capable of making bad decisions like this.  It’s always hard to wait, and waiting when the situation seems volatile is even more difficult.  Those are the times when we need to take a breath, and stand firm.  Maybe that means waiting for God’s direction;  maybe it means doing what seems counterintuitive;  maybe it means going against the way of the world.  Here’s what Paul says in the book of Ephesians:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:10-12

Satan loves to make us uncertain.  He whispered lies in Eve’s ear (“Did God really say, you must not eat of any fruit in the garden?” Genesis 3:1) and he does the same to us.  He sows doubt.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

For more on the armor of God see these posts:

The World, The Flesh and … oh yes, THE DEVIL

A New Suit of Clothes