Being Filled with the Spirit

When you believe in Jesus and His finished work, you receive his spirit. From then on it’s your choice to be filled with the spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is when you allow the Holy Spirit to come upon you to bear fruit and empower all the gifts. That’s the bottom line, but let’s look a little closer.

After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to over 500 people over a period of 40 days. One appearance was to His closest disciples where he gave them His spirit. “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) Then he tells those same people to wait on the spirit to come upon them so they will be endued with power.

Acts 1:8 But you (same people he breathed on) will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

If they received His Spirit when He breathed on them, did they have His Spirit?
YES! So what did being “filled” with the Spirit mean?

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit

From this context, you see that being filled with the Spirit is like being under the influence of alcohol, you have to choose to drink the alcohol just like you have to choose to yield to the Spirit. God will not violate your will or your authority as a human. Being filled with the Spirit of God is not when you get the Spirit in you, He’s already in you giving you life if you believe in Jesus, being filled with the Spirit is when you choose to yield to His influence from within.

What about the new believers in Acts? Inevitably when you speak about the baptism of the spirit people bring up these passages.

Acts 8:14 NIV When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive (lay hold of or take) the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

There is a slight confusion because verse 17 uses the word received but in verse 16 we see that the Holy Spirit had not yet come ON them. The word receive means to “take” or “lay hold of”. These new believers were born again, they had the Spirit IN them but they had not yet “taken hold” of the Spirit in their heart to allow him to come UPON them. Or they had not yet been FILLED with the spirit. The first disciples knew the importance of being empowered by the Spirit that dwelt within them, that’s where the power to minister comes from.

Here’s how Paul prayed believers would yield to or be filled with the spirit.

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The Apostle Paul is talking to believers, he prays that they strengthened in their inner man so Christ will dwell in their hearts that they will be filled with God. That’s being filled with the Spirit even they already had the Spirit.

This is our problem, we don’t make a regular practice of being filled with the Spirit. We’re waiting for God to send something rather than step forward and take what he’s already given. The strength to change any behavior is already within us, yield to or be filled with His Spirit and take the power. The wisdom you need for that next decision is already within you, yield to his spirit willingly and take hold of the answer. The power to work miracles is in you, get under His influence and let that power flow through you.

Stop waiting on God, you already have within you everything he will ever give you in this life, his Spirit. Cultivate his Spirit so that your heart can allow fruit and gifts to grow and flow.

Walking in the Spirit is natural


The mighty power lines that carry electricity at enormously high voltages from power plants to our homes can deliver up to 750,000 volts! But the appliances in your home only need 110 to 250 volts. If you tried to power a toaster or a TV from an electricity pylon, it would instantly explode! So we reduce high voltage electricity from power plants to our homes with a piece of equipment called a transformer. A transformer reduces or steps down the strength of the power so it can be useful rather than deadly.

The spirit of God is like unlimited or infinitely high voltage power. If humans were exposed to his direct spirit/power, we would instantly die. His power must be stepped down for us to not die from his presence. Much of my teaching is based on the heart, in this illustration you can look at your heart as the transformer that steps down God’s power. Jesus taught this in the parable of the sower. He basically says that you can experience as much of the kingdom as your transformer/heart will allow you to experience. I pray you increase the capacity of your transformer to allow more power to flow!

One day our mortal bodies will be changed into the same kind of eternal body Jesus has and we will forevermore see and live within the unbridled, infinite power of God! Praise God!

Until then we have a limited experience with his power/spirit due to our mortal bodies. But again, our hearts are directly connected to the powerful spirit of God; not just with any old kind of connection, but from within. It’s mind-boggling that think God has placed his life essence, his creative power, his glory, his holiness inside all believers. The reason we can interact with his spirit/power is because he’s made us like him. In essence, the deepest eternal aspect of a believer is like God by nature. He even gave us promises so we can experience that nature.

2 Peter 1: 1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.



“Spirit” is the life animating essence of any living thing. It can also be a reference to the general tone of an entity like “the spirit of America.” Individual living things have a spirit, like the spirit of man or the spirit of God. And of course, God is A spirit. So with those points in place let’s look a little deeper at “spirit.”

First things first, it’s important that you have the spirit of God.  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Romans 8:9

Another important truth from Romans 8:9 is this; the way you know that you’re in the spirit is if God’s spirit is in you. You don’t have to shapeshift and go into the spirit realm, you’re already there if God’s spirit is in you. His spirit actually animates the spirit realm, so you have the source of all life within you.

  • Have you ever felt that God was far away? Not true.
  • Have you ever wanted to walk deeper in the spirit? You already do.
  • Have you wanted to experience more of God’s spirit? Now we’re getting somewhere.

The fact is, you’re already directly connected to the full glory and power of God. That’s not just a doctrinal point or an interesting idea, it’s true. So why don’t we experience him more? Think about your relationships with your spouse or your friends, how do you become “closer” with them? It’s the same with God, invest in the relationship, get to know him better and you’ll experience him more.



John 4:13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water (spirit of God) will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

The short answer is; let it spring up within you and it will be unto you everlasting life. I use the word “yield” often to describe the way to let that water/spirit spring up. To yield is to slow down or stop and let someone go in front of you. Making it a practice to stop your natural reasonings and logic and let God’s promises/logic/instruction go before you in your thinking is the key to drinking of this everlasting water.

The water will do what it’s designed to do, nourish and give life. Acknowledge God and he’ll direct your steps, yield to his power/spirit and you will experience life. You can’t stop the sun from making the grass grow, let the spirit shine brightly within you by focusing your thoughts on him and watch miraculous things happen.

Speaking of miracles, watch this incredible testimony from my friend Jimmie.