As Christians, we are indeed indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but is the Holy Spirit completely permeating our being? Or is He crowded into a small corner of our lives?
Christians know about the Holy Spirit and the reality that after Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to His followers. But how much do we really know about the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us when we are saved? The one basic thing we know about Him is that He is a real Person of the Godhead -Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples these instructions:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you …” (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV)
This statement clearly demonstrates that the Holy Spirit belongs in the Godhead, which is known in Christianese as “The Trinity.” But what does He do in the life of the born-again Christian, though?
When Jesus promised His disciples, during the Last Supper, that He would send them the Holy Spirit, He described some of the work that the Holy Spirit would do in their lives. He described the Holy Spirit as a Helper and a Teacher.
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:25-26, NKJV)
So, how do we let the Holy Spirit permeate us for our growth in Christ? Here are some suggestions that may help you to be further filled with the Holy Spirit and experience more joy:
1. Our Greatest Priority–Is God First in Your Life?
If we want the Holy Spirit to permeate our lives and lead us, it is important that He has plenty of room in our hearts and in our lives. We all live in the world and contend with its many demands - parenting, making a living, maintaining order in our homes - well, the list goes on. But what place does God take in our life? Do we have a special time set aside every day for prayer and time in God’s Word (more about that later), no matter how short or long it is?
We place God first in our lives by doing our best to make sure a day does not end without spending quality time focused on Him. So, we should be realistic about how to make sure that happens. Some people feel that if they don’t do it first thing when they wake up, it won’t happen at all; while others may look forward to a sweet time of respite in the Lord to unwind with Him at the end of a busy, exhausting day, or any other time between waking and sleeping. Just make sure it’s doable and it happens.
2. Music of Praise to the Lord
It is easy for even the most devoted believer in Christ to get worn down by worldly troubles, but one very soothing and encouraging strategy for getting in tune with the Spirit is listening and even singing along with Christian music. An article by Charisma News focused on this one principle directly from the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians:
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord …” (Ephesians 5:18-19, NKJV)
The Charisma News article describes psalms as “scriptural lyrics set to music,” and the Charismatic Renewal of the 1960s and 1970s encouraged new believers to memorize these lyrics in musical form to inculcate scriptural truths into their lives. Many people have found that singing Scripture really can cement God’s truth in our hearts and minds. One great example of this phenomenon is the musical rendition of “Psalm 23” by Keith Green. One cannot help but sense joy from the Holy Spirit in this piece.
The article also defined hymns as “humanly inspired lyrical melodies, which are expressed to or about God or members of the Godhead, individually.” They can also be described as “gospel songs” that testify to the power and glory of God. They are intended as worship and can also be a witness to non-believers and, in some cases, possibly even bring about deliverance from a difficult situation.
One such instance is the story of Paul’s and Silas’ deliverance from the Philippian prison. Scripture tells us that, while in chains, Paul and Silas “were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (For the full amazing story, see Acts 16:25-34.) We would have to assume that this response to being thrown into prison was definitely a work of the Holy Spirit in Paul and Silas.
The Charisma article had a unique definition for spiritual songs: “spontaneous, rhythmic lyrics given by the Holy Spirit in one’s own language, or in a ‘prayer language,’ which is an unlearned language or ‘other tongue.’” This definition appears to be part of Paul’s discourse regarding the use of “other tongues’ in the church.
Paul arrives at a very important conclusion in 1 Corinthians 14:15 (NKJV). He writes this regarding his own Spirit-induced singing and praying:
“What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
It appears that Paul is saying here that when one sings spiritual songs, whatever language they are in, they must be understood by the person singing them. Thus, spiritual songs that are not understood by the singer or listener have no effect on deepening a relationship with God through His Holy Spirit.
3. Know and Understand Jesus Better
An article by Pastor Bruce Edwards says that God wants His people to know “the deeper truths, mysteries, and revelations of [Him] and the Kingdom.” Edwards supported this statement with more of Jesus’ words, spoken at the Last Supper, regarding what the Holy Spirit would do for His disciples:
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
Getting to know Jesus better can be easily done by studying the four Gospels carefully, focusing heavily on the actions and words of Jesus. Edwards writes, “There are many voices in the world, but when you really know Jesus, you will hear His voice louder than any other voice in your life.” Indeed, there are many voices in the world, and too many of them are deceptive. Even people who call themselves Christian can misrepresent Jesus, so the best source for knowing Jesus always comes back to studying the Gospels. If you don’t understand something Jesus has said, ask a trusted pastor or church elder to help you sort it out.
The first chapter of John’s Gospel describes Jesus so perfectly when it says He was “full of grace and truth.” So you can’t go wrong by delving into the character of Jesus.
4. Immerse Yourself in God’s Word
When one considers that the entire Word of God was inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can’t go wrong when we immerse ourselves in God’s Word daily. In fact, the Bible is standard equipment for all believers. We really cannot live a Spirit-filled life without it.
We may have only small blocks of time in a day when all we can manage is a short devotional time. There is no shortage of devotionals that can focus on a verse or passage from God’s Word and provide a brief summary of how we might apply that passage to our lives. However, if we really want the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will be hungry for as much of God’s Word as we can get.
There are many plans available for reading through the Bible, and there are many approaches to it as well. Some people, especially new believers, may want to follow a plan to read through the Bible in a year and get an overview of what God has to say. Others may want to read through the Bible at a much slower and deliberate pace, soaking in as much as they can of what God has to say to them. There is no right or wrong way to read the Bible as long as you’re making an effort to understand it and take it into your life as much as possible. One bit of advice - before you embark on your daily devotion or Bible study, ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit to bring you an understanding of what you will read.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV)
Edwards aptly observed in his article, “If you don’t know the truth it becomes very difficult to hear and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.”
5. Ask God to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
An article in Cru simply states that it is God’s will that His people be filled with the Holy Spirit. This principle is demonstrated time and again throughout the New Testament, including Jesus’ own words.
With this principle in mind, the Apostle John encourages us to ask God that His will be done in our lives. As Christians, we are indeed indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but is the Holy Spirit completely permeating our being? Or is He crowded into a small corner of our lives?
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15, NKJV)
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Cathy Wentz lives with her husband, Brian, in Cedar City, UT, and has been a believer in Jesus Christ for more than 30 years. She has two grown children and four grandchildren, all who live in Cedar City. Her writing experience includes working as a newspaper reporter for eight years, and she currently serves as a public relations assistant for a local orthopaedic surgeon, which involves writing blogs, social media posts and other web content.
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Hearing Jesus is a devotional journey through the gospels, where we explore the teachings of Jesus chapter by chapter. If you're seeking to live a life that reflects God's, this podcast is for you.
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