What Exactly is the Spirit-filled Life? - # 1
- What Exactly is the Spirit-filled Life # 2
There is much confusion today about the Spirit-filled life. Let the author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, tell you exactly what it is.
There is a very important area area we must consider when seeking the face of God.
Since we are sowing to the Spirit, and reaping from the Spirit, it only follows that we must be Spirit-filled. That phrase, Spirit-filled, means different things to different people, so let us look at the scripture itself to determine what it means to be Spirit-filled.
We are point blank commanded to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 makes this statement, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Can this verse be any clearer? Okay, so we see this, but do we live it? Another verse to consider is James 1:22 – “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” It is one thing to know we are to be Spirit-filled. It is quite another to be Spirit-filled.
Living the Spirit-filled life is to be normal Christianity. I need not tell you that for the most part today, the true Spirit-filled life is not the norm. So often we might think the Spirit is in control, but if you are living in the gutter instead of the mountaintop, know that He is not.
Fruit, Not Fruits
Galatians 5:22-24 describes the fruit of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” If we are to have a bumper crop of Spirit fruit, then this is where we need to start. First things first – notice that we are talking about the fruit of the Spirit, not fruits.
The singular fruit of the Spirit consists of nine ingredients. The fruit of the Spirit is not like an orange with nine separate sections. It is one fruit made up of a mixture of nine elements. If we have possess love, joy, and peace, but do not possess patience, you are not Spirit-filled. Indeed if we possess eight of the characteristics, but yet lack one, we are not Spirit-filled. We are only Spirit-filled when all nine traits are present and being lived out in our lives.
C. H. Spurgeon on Love
We will examine each quality one by one. Love is the first attribute mentioned, and so that is where we will begin. God’s love is so much more supreme than that which man has to offer. Many lessons can be taken away from the following verses, but the focus here is on love. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
Jesus focuses on true Spirit love in these verses. Twice he asks Peter if he loves him using the Greek word agapao. Peter responds by saying, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Agape love is that pure love that comes from the Father. Phileo love is a brotherly love. The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, gets its name from this root. Spirit love is agape love.
Jesus had just been through the most horrific time known to mankind. He had faced six trials. He had been scourged unmercilessly, a crown of thorns forced into His scalp, nailed to a wooden cross, and left to die. It was agape love that allowed Him to proclaim from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” At a word, Jesus could have called 10,000 angels to come and rescue Him, but He did not. He was held to the cross not by nails, but by nothing less than agape love.
We know the crucifixion story – a fact of history that bought our salvation, and we dismiss it lightly never taking the time to consider the depth of God’s love. We must live in Spirit-filled reality. We cannot be Spirit-filled without living with true agape love. Matthew 5:44 tells us, “ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” How are you doing in this area? It could mean the difference between harvesting a bumper crop, and reaping a so-so crop.
C. H. Spurgeon on Joy
Moving on, if we are to be Spirit-filled, we must possess joy. The writer of I John relates to us in I John 1:4 – “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” Jesus mentions in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
It is the intention of the God of the universe that we, His children, own joy. How many times have we seen Christians with long faces? Worry, concern, and anxiety are written all over their countenance. True, at times we cave in under the circumstances, but as the wise saint once said, “You ought to be above the circumstances, not under them.”
Joy is a slippery character, and hard to handle. We lose our grip on joy very easily. That is why Jesus Himself said in John 15:11, “. . . that my joy might remain in you . . . .” You see, it is not your joy. It is His. Joy flows from His being, and if you are to seize pure joy, you must go to the source – Jesus.
The written Word was given that your joy might be full. The Greek word for full in both of these verses is plēroō. The word means, among other things, to satisfy, to complete, to fulfill. God’s ideal for you is that you would overflow with joy. Is that the case? If not, you are not Spirit-filled. That is not to say that you do not love Jesus, nor is it to say that God cannot use you. I am simply making the statement that a Spirit-filled individual will exhibit joy. He will display all nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.
Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” If you called according to His purpose, then what is the problem? Whether you see it or not, God is working out His plan for your life. Please see Paul’s choice of words here. All things work together for good . . . according to his purpose. We forget everything in life is about God. It is His plan, it is His purpose. It is His will. It is His desire. It is His goal. I understand that may be hard to swallow, or perhaps even understand, but the sooner we relinquish our rights, the sooner we will find the face of God.
Peter continues in I Peter 1:6-8 – “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
These early Christians were facing major trials and persecution. Even though they were suffering, they were still rejoicing. The Word used here for rejoice has to do with the idea of jumping for joy. They realized that the trial of their faith was precious in the sight of God, whom they have not seen. Yet they believed which caused them to jump for joy with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In the face of tremendous trials, are you able to join these saints with a joyful heart?
C. H. Spurgeon on Peace
The third ingredient contained in a Spirit-filled individual is peace. If we are to be filled with the Spirit of God, we must possess peace. The Greek word used here for peace is the word eirēnē. It can be translated as quietness, rest, or set at one again. No matter the situation, the Spirit-filled child of God will be at peace, He will be at one again with God resulting in a quietness, and rest of soul.
This is not ordinary peace that man may experience from time to time, but it is an extraordinary sense of peace. It is not what the natural man experiences, but it is a fully supernatural peace. Philippians 4:7 explains this – “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
God’s peace is beyond understanding. The word passeth has to do with the idea of being more excellent, supreme and/or higher. The word understanding deals with the intellect; that is, the mind in thought, feeling, or will. God’s peace is more excellent, supreme, and higher than any person can imagine with their mind. It is a supernatural sense of being at one with God.
Doctor Charles Stanley says this of peace, “What is this peace? It is an inner sense of contentment and quietness, regardless of life’s circumstances. It is steadfast confidence in our ever-faithful, immutable heavenly Father. It is the presence of joy in the midst of unhappiness.”
Do you have God’s love? Do you have God’s joy? Do you have God’s peace? If so, you are well on your way the presence of God.
In Part 2 of this series, we will look at longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. Until then, concentrate on making love, joy, and peace a part of your daily life.