Empowered by God's Spirit, Part III
Jesus said, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!."1
Yesterday we discussed several of the steps we need to take to be filled with and empowered by God's Holy Spirit. These were: desire, faith, commitment, confession of sins, openness, and personal honesty. Today we want to discuss four more steps.
Sixth, removing barriers. Another barrier that blocks God's Spirit can be an unforgiving spirit, which usually has its roots in an impaired relationship or a hurtful experience from the past. To be filled with the Holy Spirit it is essential that, wherever humanly possible, impaired relationships be resolved, hurt and angry feelings resolved, and forgiveness extended to those who we felt have hurt us. If it isn't possible to reconcile the relationship (which takes both parties), we need to at least deal with our side of the conflict, resolve our negative feelings, and forgive the one who hurt us.
Seventh, obedience. Another requirement for the filling of the Holy Spirit is living in harmony with, and obedience to, the will of God. As Peter said, the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God.2
Eighth, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."3
Finally, abiding. As Jesus said: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing."4
Christ's allegory is a good illustration of how to have a fruitful life. As we, the branches, abide in Christ, the vine, by spending time with Him (learning what His Word teaches, praying regularly, and living in obedience to Him by practicing what His Word teaches), so the Holy Spirit flows from Christ through us, the branches. Fruit is the natural outcome.
The good news is that we don't have to struggle to produce God's fruit. We can't anyhow; and if we try to, the fruit is stunted and useless. That's what Christ meant when He said that without Him, we can do nothing. Only His Spirit within can produce His fruit without.
As we commit our lives in full surrender to Jesus Christ, abide in Him, and resolve the barriers in us, the Holy Spirit fills us and the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering—are produced automatically like the grapes on a healthy vine. The vine dresser doesn't put the grapes on the vine from without. The fruit comes from within.
In conclusion, let me add that the evidence of the filling of God's Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit—not the gifts of the Spirit as many claim and are thus confused. "By their fruit you will know them," Jesus said, not "by their gifts."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, again today I surrender the control of my heart and life to You. Help me to live according to the principles as found in Your Word, the Bible, and as I do, please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit will be so evident in my life that others seeing Jesus in me, will want Jesus for themselves. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Luke 11:13 (NIV).
2. Acts 5:32 (NIV).
3. Luke 11:13 (NIV).
4. John 15:5 (NKJV).