“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NKJV
“You will do better, be better, and live better when you live by the power of the Spirit.”
My thoughts today are about “your minimum daily requirement.”
So you’re a Christ-follower; shouldn’t everyday life be getting easier? Shouldn’t you be further along than you are? Shouldn’t you be winning new battles instead of fighting so many of the same ones as in the past? Salvation did not solve all of your problems – just the eternal destiny one!
Remember when you finally realized that you could not save yourself by your good works. Yet it is disarmingly easy to still assume that now you can take it from here. You can no more live the Christian life on your own best behavior now than you could save yourself then.
You know what the problem is? Your new faith did not erase your old nature. See Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV. You remain vulnerable to the relentless pull of desires incompatible with your confession and spiritual convictions. And when that happens, feelings of guilt return and doubts cloud your confidence about salvation. You thought that battle was in the past, didn’t you?
Here’s the good news! “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NAS. I would suggest to you that you cannot consistently and successfully walk in the power of the Spirit unless and until you realize that you have been filled with the Spirit. God Himself dwells within you by His Spirit to save you from your old nature, much the same as He redeemed you from your sin by Jesus Christ. See Galatians 2:20 NIV.
I have heard this wonderful progression of spiritual life and growth explained this way. At salvation, you were saved from the penalty of sin. In the ongoing process of sanctification, you are being saved from the power of sin. And in eternity you will be saved from the presence of sin. The old nature will then be eradicated forever; never again will you contend with its inclination toward sin.
There is both an indwelling and an infilling of the Spirit. The indwelling is constant and occurs when the Spirit baptizes you into the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV. The infilling occurs at your invitation – anywhere, any time, every time – as Jesus baptizes you with His Spirit. The Bible says, “because the days are evil . . be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:16/18 NAS. The Greek word that is translated “filled” does not refer so much to a quantity of something, but instead describes influence – as when a boat’s sails are so filled with the wind that it moves under the direction and influence of that wind.
“When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us . . “Galatians 5:22 NLT. You need to live full of the Spirit; He gives you power you need: to forgive, to be patient in trials, to be loving when mistreated, to trust and obey, to break habits – to live for God as your heart desires to do.
The infilling of the Spirit will not give you more of the Spirit than you already have as a child of God; your invitation to the Spirit is your yielding more of yourself to live within His authority and influence for righteousness. See Galatians 5:24-25 NIV. That’s how you are to live everyday, in and by the power and influence of the Spirit of God. That’s your minimum daily requirement.
My prayer for you is to know the power of God’s Spirit every moment.