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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Filled with the Spirit

Are you “filled with the Spirit”? What does this mean? How does it happen? (Serendipity Bible 10th anniversary edition, page 1203).

God is love and Jesus taught that we are to love one another. Paul writes of the fruit of the Spirit. Love has intellectual, emotional, behavioral, and perceptual implications. In one sense being filled with the Spirit is commitment to a code of virtues and values of the Christian faith. But at the heart of the Spirit lies creativity that enables expression within new and unprecedented situations in which codes, virtues, and values must be applied by Spirit not by letter. Jesus taught that it is not enough to follow the “letter of the law” we must also live most importantly by the “spirit of the law” that embodies the disciplines of love and that testify to the presence of God in our lives.

Since we are not in control of perception, our being filled with the Spirit results from the grace of God. It is by grace that we are allowed to receive spiritual gifts – that we are inspired to live holy lives. However, as in all things perceptual, experience plays an important role. We can have been instructed in the faith and inspired by the Scriptures. We can have observed the witness of others authentically faithful in their thoughts, words, and deeds.

Faith in God, belief in Jesus, and the indwelling of the Spirit has its focus on divine and redemptive actions of love and service. We are in a fundamental sense instruments of peace – though often disruptive of the world’s wisdom and peace. Thus being filled with the spirit often can bring pronounced or subtle opposition, struggle, ridicule, and even persecution.

While being filled with the spirit requires the trust and faith of a child, the initiative comes from the Trinity. It is belief in a spiritual dimension which cannot be proven but that is accepted on faith – a faith based not upon intellectual assent alone, but upon anecdotal efficaciousness that profoundly rings true not only in the here and now but resonates in what can only be called an eternal spiritual reality.

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