There are a number of aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit in life. These aspects are indicated at times by the use of prepositions. The Holy Spirit is “with” people prior to their conversion as He convicts them of their sinfulness and leads them to Jesus as Savior (John 14:17a; 16:8-11). Rejecting the Spirit’s overtures in this regard is the only unforgiveable sin (Mat. 12:31; Mark 3:28-29). When a person responds to the Spirit admits their sin, turns from their sins trusting Jesus as Savior, God forgives them and gives them eternal life as the Holy Spirit comes to dwell “in” the new believer (John 14:17b; 20:22; Rom. 5:5; 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). As the new believer grows in their faith they have a desire to do things for their Lord. In their own strength they will be frustrated in their attempts to do anything for the Lord (e.g. Rom 7). That is why believers need a subsequent work of the Spirit in their lives which is when the Holy Spirit comes “upon” them in power (Acts 1:8; 2; 8:16, 24; 10:44; 11:15; 19:6). When the Holy Spirit comes upon the believer he empowers the believer with the ability to do.
In addition to the indwelling of the Spirit at conversion and the empowering of the Spirit when He comes upon the believer, there are subsequent fillings or refreshings of the believer by the Spirit. The Bible uses the phrase “filled with the Spirit” to describe the daily renewal and refreshing the believer needs (e.g. Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9). There are subsequent re-fillings and refreshing by the Spirit in the believer’s life. The sense of this ongoing work is found in Paul’s inspired letter to the Ephesians when he states:
Instead we are to be “filled with the Spirit.” The word “filled” is translated from the Greek term pleroo meaning ”to make replete, . . .to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), . . . to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify . . . accomplish, . . . complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfill, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.” In addition to this definition, the grammatical form of the term “filled” (Present/Passive/Imperative) conveys the thought of an ongoing and constant (Present tense) work that the believer receives or has done to them (Passive voice) that is absolutely essential (Imperative mood). Therefore, to “be filled with the Spirit” means to be constantly, regularly, daily filled up, satisfied, furnished and supplied with the Spirit for one’s daily needs and God-ordained plans.
The impact of such a daily filling is conveyed in the book of Acts where those who had experienced the empowerment of the Spirit at Pentecost again pray for this ongoing empowerment and refreshing. In Acts it reads:
Acts 4:31 - “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Do you want to be filled with the Spirit? Some will answer immediately without thinking and say “Yes!” but to be filled with the Spirit will cost you. Before there can be a resurrection, there has to be a crucifixion. Jesus said if anyone was going to come after Him they must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). To be filled with the Spirit you’ll have to fully surrender to the Lord. You’ll have to trust the Lord enough to give Him control of everything in your life. That means if you are single, have a hard to live with spouse, bad job, illness or any other problem, god may choose to keep you in that situation to show the sufficiency of His grace (2 Cor. 12:9-10). He may not, but He may. Are you willing to trust Him that much?
The 4 Evidentiary Effects of the Spirit Filled Believer.
Ephesians 5:19-21 - 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
First the Spirit filled believer will talk differently (5:19a). Paul says, “speaking to one another.” The Spirit filled believer will talk differently. They will speak the truth in love (4:15). They won’t speak unwholesome words but their words will be gracious and edifying (4:29). The Spirit filled believer will talk in a pure and holy way.
Secondly, the Spirit filled believer will have a song in their heart (5:19b). The Spirit filled believer will have a song in their heart. They will have a psalm in their heart or a prayerful song. They will have hymns in their heart or songs that communicate the truths of scripture. They will have a heart of worship toward the Lord.
Fourthly, the Spirit filled believer will live in mutual submission toward others (5:21). The Spirit filled believer does away with the spirit of competition and instead esteems others better than themselves. The Spirit filled believer will live by “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The desire and priority of the Spirit filled believer will be for God to be glorified. If God uses someone else to bring glory to His name then the Spirit filled believer will rejoice that God is glorified. The spirit of competition that leads to jealousy, resentment and conflict will be defeated for those living in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit filled believer knows God has the right to exalt or bring low His servants as he sees fit (Rom. 14:7-13). God has the right to reward His servants as he sees fit (Mat. 20:1-16).