The older I’m getting, the more I enjoy and count on a slower-paced routine. The last couple of weeks have been a bit frazzled, so I thought it might be a good time to get caught up on a few of these short, Spotlight on Scripture booklets from John MacArthur that I’ve accumulated over the last several months rather than dive into another thick book in the queue.
What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?
Spotlight on Scripture
By John MacArthur
Grace to You, 2016, 11 pp.
I enjoyed this short booklet, which expounds on the meaning of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Of course, our Pentecostal and charismatic brethren have built an entire belief system based on the experiential “gifts of the spirit” (glossolalia, healing, prophecy). MacArthur is an outspoken cessationist when it comes to questions about the apostolic gifts, but he only briefly alludes to that controversy in this booklet.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-21
MacArthur states that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a conscious choice on the believer’s part to yield moment by moment to the leading of the indwelling Spirit (p. 3) and that this involves three facets:
Pressure – Illustrated by wind billowing the sails of a ship, a yielding believer allows the Holy Spirit to move/carry him/her in the proper directions.
Permeation – A yielding Christian allows the Spirit to work in all aspects of their being like an Alka Seltzer tablet completely permeates a glass of water. The more we study and prayerfully reflect on God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit can make the Word a part of us.
Domination – A Spirit-filled Christian allows the Spirit to control and direct every emotion, thought, and act of the will.
Practical consequences of being Spirit-filled as stated in our passage and discussed in the booklet include:
- Singing to the Lord
- Giving thanks to the Lord
- Submitting to other believers
This excellent, little booklet challenges us to abandon our claim to control over our life and begin to submit to the filling of the Holy Spirit. You can read the entire booklet for free at Grace to You, here.
Postscript: One thing I’ve learned over the years is the more we know the Lord, the more we are humbled by His holiness and grateful for His grace. The proud, judgmental Christian who believes they’re filled with the Spirit may need the genuine filling of the Spirit most of all.