“Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18b (NIV)
The concept of being filled is not a one-time thing. We require daily fillings. Paul says this filling is especially necessary in these evil dark days, to help us not be foolish, to understand what God’s will is. He warns us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and not to be drunk (or filled) with alcohol (Ephesians 5:15-18). The Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for us to be victorious in this hour! The Holy Spirit is our power source, yet so much of the church has either denied Him or severely limited what He is allowed to do!
Nathan French recently pointed out that the greatest dividing factor today isn’t the jab, or the political extremes, or the color of skin, or even abortion. He said the greatest division today is between those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and those who are not! Ouch! I was saved into a cessation believing church, proclaiming that tongues were of the devil! Yes, I have repented since then, but sadly that divide is stronger than ever. And what I have found is those without the Holy Spirit empowering them are adamantly closed and aggressive against those who are walking in the Spirit. I have experienced it here in Athens. But as a Spirit-filled follower and lover of Jesus Christ, I am not to disassociate, cancel, or rebuke those who say what I am experiencing is simply emotionalism, or worst demonic! We must keep praying, and keep loving our brothers and sisters.
The reality is, the coming move of God will probably be strongly attacked by those who refuse to embrace the Holy Spirit, after all, revivals are about the Holy Spirit. Many call the manifestations of the Holy Spirit evil, but let me ask, what is the fruit of it. We are told to judge by one’s fruit. The Holy Spirit will bear fruit like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit also releases gifts for those who believe in Jesus. These gifts include (but are not limited to) tongues, healing, wisdom, miracles, teaching, giving, and more. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth, who leads us into truth (John 15:26 & 16:13). He is our Comforter (John 14:26 KJV) and Counselor (John 15:26 & 16:7). He convicts us when we stray or sin. When the Holy Spirit moves upon a place it can literally shake as He fills people with things like boldness to proclaim the gospel (Acts 4:31). When Jesus was teaching on prayer, He told His disciples to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit and the Father will give Him (Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit is meant to be a vital part of our walk with God!
The Holy Spirit has not been canceled, nor is He a junior partner of the trinity. Many, like I had been, believe there’s a Holy Spirit, but limit Him. We are afraid of a loss of control, which is what happens when He comes in power. The religious spirit, which is so prevalent in the church today, literally will not tolerate the Holy Spirit operating. If your church does not allow the full manifestation of the Holy Spirit, please fervently pursue God whether you are supposed to be there in this crucial hour!
I realize this is a very strong word. As such please spend much time in prayer. Paul says, as “we live in the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Galatians 5:25-26).
Ask God to show you any place of spiritual pride, whether thinking your church is the better than other churches, or that you have something others don’t. Repent of it as He reveals anything. Ask the Lord to forgive you of any place you have grieved the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30,) or have quenched Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Ask God for a greater grace for humility, and deeper love for the full body of Christ! Pray for your pastor to be completely submitted to the Holy Spirit, to listen and obey as He leads, and to allow the Holy Spirit full access to everything the church does, including interrupting and changing the Sunday services. Pray that your pastor and leadership would allow the Holy Spirit to permeate throughout the congregation and every activity and group. Pray that your church would prepare a place for the Holy Spirit in the growing revival that is upon us! Cry out for other churches in our city to stop resisting the Holy Spirit and to allow Him to unify Christ’s body across Athens! Thank the Father for giving us the Holy Spirit without limit (John 3:34)!