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Many Christians struggle, wondering what the will of God is for their lives. God does impart specific direction to His people concerning His plans and purposes for them. But even when God doesn’t seem to be saying anything specific to them about His plan, believers can know and do the will of God in their everyday lives simply by being doers of the Word.
Paul wrote in Ephesians, “Be ye not unwise, but UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD IS. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT” (Eph. 5:17–18). These verses tell us that it is possible to know what the will of the Lord is for our lives. For one thing, God’s will is that believers be filled to overflowing with His Spirit.
How can you tell if a person is filled with the Holy Ghost? Someone said, “I’m filled with the Holy Ghost because I spoke with tongues years ago.”
But Greek scholars tell us that in Ephesians 5:18, the Greek words for “be filled with the Spirit” mean be being filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are to maintain a constant experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s a continual, ongoing action, not something that occurred once sometime in the past. The will of God for our lives is that we be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
Maintaining a Spirit-filled life is as much a part of following
God’s plan for your life as receiving specific direction from
the Lord about something He wants you to do.
Romans 12:11 tells us to be “fervent in spirit.” Another translation says, “Be thoroughly warm-hearted” (Weymouth). The Revised Standard Version says, “Be aglow with the Spirit.”
The Moffatt translation says, “Maintain the spiritual glow.” I like that one best. That’s the will of the Lord for our lives. He wants us to maintain the glow of the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit and maintaining the glow is God’s will for us because it’s written in His Word. And we know that God’s Word is God’s will.
Maintaining a Spirit-filled life is as much a part of following God’s plan for your life as receiving specific direction from the Lord about something He wants you to do. For example, you could receive specific direction from God about part of His plan for you, and you could obey it. But if you obeyed His direction strictly from a sense of duty, it still wouldn’t be God’s best for your life. There would be no fervency of spirit or glow about it, and it would be tough sledding! God’s will for your life would be difficult to fulfill.
No, God wants you to be filled to overflowing with His Spirit and maintain the glow!
Maintaining the Glow Is Recognizable
According to Ephesians 5:18–21, being filled with the Spirit or being fervent in spirit is recognizable. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t know whether you were aglow with the Holy Spirit. Certain characteristics accompany the Spirit-filled life.
The first characteristic is “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). If you’re filled with the Spirit and maintaining the glow, you will have a song in your heart. And if you do, you can’t help but speak it out, because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34; Luke 6:45). Speaking by the unction of the Holy Spirit in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is something you do from your own heart, to yourself and to God.
If you are filled with the Spirit, there will be a song in your heart whether you’re at church, at home, or on the job—wherever you might be.
Another characteristic of a Spirit-filled life is a heart full of thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s easy to shout, jump, and dance in a church service. But when you’re really filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re motivated by Him, and you’re fervent in spirit and aglow with God all the time. And you can thank God in the midst of any and all circumstances.
If you’re going through a test or trial, you’re not thanking God because of the test. But you can thank Him because you have another opportunity to exercise and develop your faith and to prove Him faithful to deliver you.
A third characteristic of a Spirit-filled life is humility. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” The word submit simply means “to give in to one another.” Some people have a difficult time submitting to others. But when we’re aglow with the Holy Spirit, it’s easy, because a fervent spirit makes it easier to keep the flesh under the dominion of our spirit.
We need to maintain a teachable attitude. Without humility and a teachable spirit, we hinder ourselves spiritually from fulfilling the plan of God.
God’s will—His purpose—for our lives is for us to be continually aglow with His Spirit. Because He knows that when we do that, it will be much easier for us to successfully follow His plan for our lives.
Faith In Action
Maintaining a Spirit-Filled Life
Maintaining a Spirit-filled life will greatly affect you in every area. You’ll be sharper and clearer in your thinking and healthier in your body. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Be a doer of the Word. God’s Word is His will. Put His Word into practice every day, even in the little things.
- Be joyful in the midst of trials. Count it all joy when you fall into various tests and trials (James 1:2). Act like God’s Word is true, because it is. Rejoice in faith, counting the victory won.
- Stay in close fellowship with God through prayer. When the first disciples were in trouble, they prayed (Acts 4:13–31). And the Lord granted them boldness to speak His Word.