What comes to mind when you hear a person describe being “filled with the Spirit”? Some people get really excited while other people get rather nervous. The former may get excited because of thoughts of charismatic expressions. The latter may get nervous for the exact same reason. Whether you are the type who gets excited or nervous about the term “filled with the Spirit”, don’t worry because this is not going to be pushing an agenda for or against certain stereotypical “expressions” of the Spirit.
Instead, we are going to look at the power of the Spirit within a person’s life outside of the worship services of Christians. We are going to look at the normal, daily expressions of being filled with the Spirit. The filling that can have a profound effect on our interactions with the people around us at school, work, play, and family. I believe J. Oswald Sanders describes being filled with the Spirit in excellent terms in his book Spiritual Leadership (p 80):
To be filled with the Spirit means that the Christian voluntarily surrenders life and will to the Spirit. Through faith, the believer’s personality is permeated, mastered, and controlled by the Spirit…When we invite the Spirit to fill us, the Spirit’s power grips our lives with this kind of strength and passion…The [Christian’s] mind, emotions, will, and physical strength all become available for the Spirit to guide and use…Through the work of the now ungrieved and unhindered Spirit, all the fruits of the Spirit start to grown in the [Christian’s] life. His witness is more winsome, service more steady, and testimony more powerful. All real Christian service is but the expression of the Spirit power through believers yielded to Him (John 7:37-39).
Sanders’ insight on being filled with the Spirit has several great attributes. First, being filled with the Spirit is not for us to use God to do what we desire but for God to use us according to His desires. Second, the result is a sanctification of our entire person for His use. Third, there is an active openness to willingness to respond to the Spirit’s direction even if we may be uncomfortable with that direction. Fourth, being filled with the Spirit is not primarily for personal enjoyment but for serving others and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Having this mind in regards to being filled with the Spirit should result in Christians becoming the best students they can be, the hardest working employees, the most fair-minded employers, loving husbands, respecting wives, obedient children, and caring parents. The result would be people who love God and love their neighbors. People who seek to meet the temporal and eternal needs of the world. These are but a few examples of living life daily under the control and filling of the Spirit.