Monday, October 19, 2009
Believers will manifest more or less of the influence of the Holy Ghost in their demeanour and lives in proportion to their degree of yieldedness in daily communion.
Watching and praying. Note the distinction. The former is an exercise of quiet submission, waiting for the input or leading of the Spirit. The latter pertains to verbalized supplication, praise, seeking, thanksgiving and confession.
I have often heard believers of the Pentecostal or Charismatic persuasion suggesting that they are "spirit-filled". They link the experience of Holy Ghost baptism and tongues with this assertion. They refer to a portion of Ephesians 5 in this regard:
17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
The sense of the 18th verse is that we are to be constantly receiving infillings, not that we shall ever arrive at "topped up" this side of Glory. Flesh stops the flow. Spillage comes with sin, fatigue and unbelief. I fear that many people who have not had a personal Acts 2 experience consider our comments as mere pride and vainglory. They shy away from a second work of grace for this very reason. They might even erroneously conclude that Pentecostals consider Spirit baptism as essential to salvation.
I must confess that I have yet to meet an individual who is "filled". I have met some who manifest great sensitivity, patience, meekness, reverence, self-control, courtesy and willingness to give, forgive and serve. They have yielded themselves to a greater measure of the Spirit's influence. They manifest His fruit. (They do not all speak in tongues.) It is a love response which requires some quality choices in the believer.
But let there be no muddying of the waters over this term "spirit-filled".
(See also the post entitled "Tongues Watershed")