Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:17 KJV)
Let me share a simple but critical truth regarding the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I will encourage every one of us to personally study the things I will mention here because space will not permit me to elaborate. The essence of being filled with the Spirit as a process is receiving the Spirit, just as a container receives water until it overflows.
There are at least three distinct dimensions of being filled with the Spirit. If you would recognize this simple truth, it will resolve many problems we are having with this concept. Being filled with the Spirit is not referring to one thing in the scriptures. It is our responsibility to know what God is talking about when He uses “filled with the Spirit”.
The first encounter every child of God has with the Holy Spirit is at salvation. We all receive the Holy Spirit or are filled with the Spirit at salvation. This is not a process that occurs over time. It is a definite event. As a matter of fact, the Christ that we receive into our hearts at salvation is the Holy Spirit!
After salvation, another distinct, definite encounter with the Holy Spirit results in an infilling. This is where there is a tremendous degree of confusion. It is still receiving the Holy Spirit but mostly in the dimension of His power and presence overshadowing a person and becoming more tangible and practical, especially with spiritual gifts. This has been traditionally called the “baptism of the Spirit”. It is typically ministered through the laying on of hands as in Acts 8:17. If you read commentaries on this verse, you will immediately recognize the theological difficulties and problems. The Apostles laid their hands on the disciples and they received a fresh infilling of the Spirit. This is not referring to the infilling of the Spirit at salvation. You do not lay hands on people to be saved!
Matters become more complicated, though, easy to understanding if you can grasp what I am sharing here. On Pentecost, something unusual happened. The 120 disciples had the two dimensions noted above happened at the same time!
The third dimension of infilling is also mentioned in Acts chapter 4. This is after the Apostles had experienced the two previous infillings discussed above. Acts 4: 31 says “And when they had prayed….and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 KJV). They prayed, there was another infilling–again and the immediate manifestation was boldness. This third infilling is what repeatedly occurs as I discussed in yesterday’s devotional. You get filled when you pray. You become filled as you feed on the Word. When you become filled, you discover that it becomes easier for you to speak God’s Word or even love people, etc. This is the dimension of manifestation that can go up and down; you can be full or empty. You need to keep drinking again and again of the Spirit to remain filled!
If you can understand the three dimensions I have shared, many things will make sense regarding being filled with the Spirit. You will understand why we can say we have been filled yet we are still hungry for more. The secret is to learn to divide the Word, understand what is what and avoid mixing things up. You have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Keep being filled daily to stay full of the Spirit at all times!
Can you explain in your own words the three dimensions of infilling described above?
APPLY THE WORD
You now understand what the Lord means when He says we should be filled with the Spirit or grow to the fullness. Your turn, keep your hunger and thirst for His presence and power burning and stay in the Word, prayer and fellowship to remain full of the Spirit at all times!
Ask the Father to help you stay full of Him from the practical perspective, as mentioned above.