Sunday we talked about resisting temptation through the Holy Spirit's power. If you haven't heard the message yet, you can listen to it here. A question was brought up that I thought may be good to speak to here. It was brought up that the idea of being "Full" of the Holy Spirit while also being called to "continually be filled" with the Holy Spirit is contradictory. "How," I was asked "can one be full of something, yet need to continue to be filled?" This is a very good question and one that I will try to answer below.
1) We leak
We're not perfect, nor are we always focused on what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us. Until the day that we arrive in heaven we, as Christians, are Holy, but not perfectly Holy; New, but still being made new--we are works in progress.Therefore, we can be full of the Holy Spirit, but begin to ignore him and lose some of his presence in our lives. I don't believe the Spirit ever fully leaves, but that overwhelmingly powerful presence can fade if we're not careful.
As I am continually filled more and more with the Spirit I want his presence to run over and soak those around me.
2) We are growing
As I said previously, we are works in progress--new, but still being made new. As we grow closer to God and are conformed more and more to his image, our capacity for the Holy Spirit grows leaving us less-than-full. This necessitates us to be re-filled with the Holy Spirit.
3) The Spirit is an unending source
Even when a cup is full, you can continue to fill it as long as you have more water to pour into it. The Holy Spirit is an unending source of life and he can continually pour into our lives without ever running out of himself to give. Sure, stuff is going to run over, but isn't that the point? As I am continually filled more and more with the Spirit I want his presence to run over and soak those around me. I want people to feel the Holy Spirit when I meet them and interact with them so their lives can be changed and transformed into followers of Jesus.
As we grow closer to God and are conformed more and more to his image, our capacity for the Holy Spirit grows leaving us less-than-full.
Hopefully this dis-ambiguates the concept of being full and still needing to be filled for you. I pray that you will seek more of the Holy Spirit and unleash the power he has for you in your life.
--Pastor Stephen Valcourt
Image of dove, "Holy Spirit 33", by Waiting for the Word. Used according to Creative Commons Licensing