How to Be Filled with God's Holy Spirit

On one occasion the late evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, holding up an empty drinking glass, asked one of his audiences: “Tell me, how can I get the air out of this glass?” One man said, “Suck it out with a pump.” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After many impossible suggestions, Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to show that victory in the Christian life is not by sucking out a sin here and there, but rather by being filled with the Spirit of God.1

As genuine Christians if we are to live a successful Christian life—one that empowers us to overcome sinful ways, gives us a sense of inner peace, and empowers us to live a fruitful life that glorifies God—it is essential that we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit.

In fact it is God’s will that every Christian “be filled with the Spirit,”2 the evidence of which is P-O-W-E-R. As Jesus said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."3 So the question is: How can we be filled with God’s Holy Spirit? Following are five key steps:

P Present your life to Jesus Christ
O Obey God on every issue
W Want sincerely to be filled
E Entreat or ask God to be filled
R Receive the filling by faith

1. Present your life to Jesus Christ. To be filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit for fruitful and dynamic living, it is essential that we daily present, commit and trust our life to Jesus Christ in unconditional surrender—in deed and not just in word. The Bible says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”4  

Like the laws of the land, all
of God’s laws are for our benefit,
protection and well-being.

2. Obey God on every issue. The second step to being filled with God’s Spirit is obedience; that is, obedience to every command and direction of God as found in his Word, the Bible. His Word says, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given to those who obey him.”5

We need to realize that, like the laws of the land, all of God’s laws are for our benefit, protection and well-being. They are not to keep us bound in rigid, false-religion legalism. Thus it is imperative to search the Scriptures daily to learn what is essential for living in harmony with all that God’s Word teaches.
Realize, too, that disobedience to God’s laws is sin and this grieves the Holy Spirit which, in turn, breaks communion and fellowship with God.6 Thus all sin needs to be confessed and forgiveness received from God, which God always gives to those who confess their sins to him.7 Should you fall down, get up immediately, confess, ask God for forgiveness, and go on.8

3. Want sincerely to be filled. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst [strongly desire] for righteousness, for they will be filled.”9 This principle also applies to being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. As Jesus also stated, “‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”10

And as Jesus said to the lame man lying by the pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years, “Do you want to get well?”11  He didn’t say, “Do you wish to get well?” He said, Do you want to get well?” So we, too, to be filled with God’s Spirit need to want this with all of our heart and be willing to meet the requirements that God says are needed to be filled.

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5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.

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