Fill ‘er up.
When I graduated from high school, my dad - a lifelong General Motors employee, bought me a brand-new Pontiac Firebird, right off the assembly line; yeah, I was pretty cool back then, sometimes a little spoiled, the youngest of four very spread-out in age children. That Firebird only had one problem--the driver, who simply hated to go buy gasoline. And yes, as a result, I ran out of gas numerous times. My dad would get so mad at me because he would say, ‘that is so foolish’, ‘that is so unnecessary’ and ‘for a girl your age, running out of gas is unsafe!’ He also said something that I have never verified as truth: the car runs better when it has a good amount of gas in it.
The point? Just as your vehicle requires gasoline (or a charge or something!), and is designed to run on gas, so too is your heart and soul meant to be fueled by the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Jesus made an outlandish statement to the disciples the night he told them he would be leaving them: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you1 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you.2
In the last couple briefings, I have discussed that when you decide to follow Jesus as your leader, believing he is indeed the Son of God who died for you, the Holy Spirit is given to you as your forever gift from God--this may be best understood as an indwelling. (roughly, he is the perfect houseguest!). Missed the last briefing on Keeping your tank full? Read or listen-
‘Okay, okay, that’s so good!’ she responded, smiling. ‘Yes, best news ever… Jesus + a free gift? The Holy Spirit in me--to comfort, bring peace, render the hope of God to my heart and mind, lead, guide . . . all that?’
‘Yes, yes, that it,’ I smiled back, so thankful she was clearly understanding.’
‘But then, do I have to do something else--I mean, you said something yesterday about ‘keeping on being filled’ . . . and I was like, ‘what in the world does that mean?’ I guess you can’t get the Valley out of the girl, even if she moves to like, North Carolina.
This dialogue brings up a very valid question--if I am given the Holy Spirit as a gift--and it is an indwelling, why do I then have to ask to be refilled? Because there is a difference. I found an explanation that is so good I wish to share it:
- This indwelling occurs when we first believe. It does not occur twenty years later but rather when you are born again. (Rom. 5:5, 2 Tim. 2:4)
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurs one time. It is once for all. When Jesus Christ comes into your life as your Lord and Savior, His Spirit takes up permanent residence in you.
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is for all believers. Simply claiming to be a Christian does not necessarily mean you are a Christian (Matt. 7:21).3
BUT. . . to have an active relationship with God--that is, a daily thing ~ we have to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Go back to my Firebird-- putting gas in the car when I first got it was great, but I had to maintain gasoline in it to keep it running down the highway.
For you and I to be maintain our faith, hope, strength and power in the Lord, we have to ask God to refill us. FACT: daily life sucks the awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives right out of us, as do heavy trials that cause us to fear or worry, going our own way, instead of God’s way . . . too much intake of social media and too little of God, too much Fox or CNN and not enough time saying ‘Thank you, God, for the gift of life today! Thank you for Nature around me…thank you, God, for…’.
There you have it. Following Jesus you have the gift of the Holy Spirit within you . . . and to stay full of him, you gotta desire Him, pull in, look up and say FILL ME UP, Lord! You gotta choose him daily, Friend. Remember the song Oceans? Hmmm, yes.
Let’s endeavor to keep our tanks full of the Holy Spirit!
Let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit!
1 - John 16.7
2 - John 14.17
3 - from a great article called What is the Difference between the Indwelling of the Spirit and Being Filled by the Spirit? Kerry Skinner, 6.15.21, https://thinklifechange.com