RUNNING ON EMPTY
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do
not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit...
When I was in high school, gas was about 75 cents a gallon. Wow. Those were the days!! Even at 75 cents, I used to have trouble scrapping together gas money. I would put in one or two dollars at a time, and I was, therefore, always running on empty. It seemed kind of cool and dangerous to live on the "E"... until I ran out of gas and had to push the car home one day. Running on empty lost its appeal after that.
Do you ever feel like you are running on empty spiritually? Does it seem like you always run out of love, joy, patience, and peace? Are you more often than not pushing your Christianity around with your sweat and toil rather than experiencing the awesome power of the Holy Spirit?
God's plan for His children has NEVER been for us to run on empty, pushing around our Christianity day after day. It has ALWAYS been for us to run on full, living life filled with the Spirit. But what exactly does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
The key to understanding the Spirit-filled life is in the context of getting drunk. Paul tells us not to get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. You see, a person who is drunk is controlled by the alcohol. Drunks talk differently, walk differently and act differently because they are under the influence and the control of the alcohol. So it is with the Spirit. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, you are under His control.
Sometimes we get the erroneous idea that some Christians have more of the Holy Spirit than do others. That is simply not true (see 1 Cor. 12:13, Eph. 1:13-14). What is true is that some people have more of themselves abandoned to the Holy Spirit than do others.
A GUEST IN YOUR HOME?
Years ago, I heard Adrian Rogers share an illustration about the Spirit-filled life that I thought was classic. Here it is. Most of us can relate to having a guest in our home at some time or another. We show the person to his/her room and try to make him/her feel at home. "Make yourself at home. Our home is your home," we often say.
Well suppose you come home from work and find your guest in your private office, rummaging through your personal papers... looking at your past income tax returns. I suppose the conversation might go something like this:
"UHMM... excuse me... what in the world do you think you are you doing!?" you ask.
"Oh, just nosing through a few thinks," your guest nonchalantly answers.
"Well... you have NO BUSINESS in my personal things," you angrily reply.
"Oh? I thought I was entitled. After all, you said that your home was my home," your guest retorts.
"Yes... but I did not mean that you could go in ALL the rooms. Here is your room, your closet, your bathroom. You need to stay in your place!!" you say.
We so often do that same thing with the Holy Spirit. We want Him resident in our lives, just not president of our lives. We want Him present, just not preeminent in all things. But to be filled and controlled with the Holy Spirit, you and I MUST give the Holy Spirit every key to every room - your business room, social room, family room, private room... every room! Your heart and life MUST BE COMPLETELY SURRENDERED to the Holy Spirit of God.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO?
If you will fully surrender to the Lord who loves you and died for you on the cross, you will experience a full tank - power from on high! Like a drunk, it will affect the way you walk and talk, act and react. People will see Jesus in you! Your life will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Being Spirit-filled does not mean that you will not encounter trials, hardships, heartache and heartbreak; but it does mean you will be able to meet the problems of this life with a song in your heart (see Eph. 5:19).
WHAT TO PRAY?
Since God tells us that it is His will for us to be filled, you and I can pray with confidence for that very thing (1 John 5:14-15). Join me in this prayer:
Lord, I have asked you to come and live inside of me... and I believe you did that the day I got saved. Now I ask you to take total control of me. Live through me, Holy Spirit. I yield the throne of my life to you. I want my life to glorify Jesus Christ in everything I say and do. Have you way for I surrender my all, my every room to you. In Jesus Name, Amen!
If you will pray that and mean it, the Lord will take control... and your life will take off!
I know... because it has happened and is happening in me.
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast. Click here to become a ministry partner.