Spirit Filled Ministry
John Telgren

"…be filled with the Spirit." - Eph 5:18

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How are we to be filled with the Holy Spirit? I have found that there is no "formula" for being filled with the Spirit. What I do find are plenty of descriptions of what being filled with the Spirit looks like and how it manifests itself.

To begin with, when we are baptized, we receive the "gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), who goes to work on us by "renewing" us (Titus 3:5). That renewal is sometimes portrayed as putting to death the old self and putting on the new self (Rom 6, Col. 3). It is sometimes spoken of as no longer living and thinking according to the flesh, but living and thinking according to the Spirit (Rom 8). This new way of thinking and living is a radical change from the typical self-centered, utilitarian view of the world. We change the way we love (Gal 5:22, 1 Cor 13), we change the way we forgive (Matt 18:21f), we change our ambitions (2 Cor 5:9), and we change the source of our joy (Phil 4:4). We become bold as the early disciples did (Acts 4:31; 9:28; et al.). Curiously, our boldness does not come from pride because pride is part of what we have crucified and put to death. We have no pride left because we recognized just how messed up we are, and humbled ourselves by coming to Christ as a sinner in need of a Savior. Our boldness comes from love, loyalty, and faith, but not pride. If it were from pride, we might be easily threatened by challenges. However, since pride is dead, there is nothing that can threaten us. We display humility, love, patience, joy, gentleness, and whatever reflects the character of Christ. Being filled with the Spirit, we encourage each other (Eph 5:18), we "submit" to one another (Eph 5:21) without concern for our dead pride or our "rights." We are no longer slaves to sin (Rom 6:7). We have been freed from that old, cruel, slave master - sin. We have been joined to a loving, benevolent master, Jesus Christ.

In order to be filled with the Spirit, I have to empty myself of self. Doing as Jesus did and going out to the desert - or going to a mountaintop and spending time with God, even if I can't think of anything to say to him. Maybe He wants to communicate something to me. Filled with the Spirit, I can come out of the desert, or off the mountain top, and minister in the power of God to others.