I have waterfalls on my mind tonight. A waterfall is formed when a body of water gets so full that it runs out of space and spills over. This phenomenon creates one of the most beautiful sights in the world. It also creates one of the most powerful sources in the world. This waterfall is speaking to me tonight about Holy Spirit and how He fills us.
In the time I have spent around the church and Bible college, I have been exposed to several different thoughts when it comes to being filled with the Holy Spirit. Some believe that you are filled at the point of conversion, while others believe that there is a secondary act in which a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit after conversion. I do not wish to discuss the theology of the baptism of the Holy Spirit here, I’ll save that for another time, but I do want to make this point – I think both groups are wrong on one particular point. Both groups emphasize one moment where a person is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and then seems to forget about it. They then thrust this “filled” person into ministry, never to return to the baptism of the Holy Spirit unless they are trying to get someone else filled with the Holy Spirit, or they are talking about someone who they think is not filled with the Holy Spirit. Of course, this isn’t true for everybody and it certainly isn’t true every time, this has only been my experience. It’s as if this is the pinnacle of your Christian experience. I believe there is a more excellent way.
This way of thinking will only develop people who were once filled, and then went on to become a stagnant pool of stale water. I don’t know about you, but I want to be flowing. I want to bring life. I want to be beautiful and powerful like the waterfall. When we read the book of Acts, the Apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit twice in just the first 4 chapters. You can’t read very far in Acts without the Apostles having yet another encounter with Holy Spirit. They lived a life of continual encounter with God. This is where I want to be. We can’t live off of one encounter. You see, there is absolutely an initial filling, but there is also a continual filling up of the believer. I once heard it taught like this: the only way you can tell if a glass is truly full is if it is overflowing. If it isn’t overflowing, there is still room for more. I want to be overflowing!
We see in Acts 3 where Peter and John were going to the temple at the hour of prayer. Peter is on his way to prayer and his shadow heals a lame man as he passes him by! This is a wonderful picture of what it looks like to be overflowing. This is so fascinating to me. Peter did not have ministry on his mind, he had prayer on his mind. All he was trying to do was get to the place of prayer and he accidentally heals someone. When you seek ministry, you will get burnt out, but when you seek Him first, you can’t help but minister to those around you. If you are overflowing, you can’t help but spill onto those who are around you. Imagine going to the grocery store overflowing, or going to work overflowing. You just focus on seeking Him and out of the overflow of what He is doing in your heart, people begin to encounter the Lord just because of the presence you are carrying. I love this!
This begs the question, how to we get filled? Jesus made it quite simple: spend time with Him. You can only be filled when you begin to open your heart to Him in the secret place. As we saw in Acts 3, Peter is solely focused on getting to the temple. We must make it our single focus of everyday to get alone with Him in the temple. This is the only way to continually be filled. It is only in communion with the Lamb where we begin to drink Him in like wine until we are filled to overflowing.
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