What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? It is not the same thing as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. While it’s true that the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when they were Baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 1-4), they were filled with the Holy Spirit at other times also.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one time event in the life of the believer. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is ongoing. When the Baptism of the Holy Spirit took place on Pentecost, the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, but speaking in languages unknown to the speaker is not the only manifestation of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Examine the following verses to see what they say about being “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple [Acts 3: 1-10],and asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4: 8-10, NIV).
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4: 31, NIV).
In the verses above, notice that “boldness” is associated with those that are filled with the Holy Spirit. The following verses detail other examples of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened” (Acts 9: 17-19, NASB).
But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them [Barnabas and Saul], seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13: 8-10, NASB).
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5: 18-21, KJV).
We often hear the term “Spirit-filled” Christian in conversation, but I don’t see the term in the Bible. “Spirit-filled” Christian implies that someone is filled with the Holy Spirit 24/7. I would love to be filled with the Holy Spirit 24/7, but I fall short of the goal.
Everyone who has sincerely repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior has the mind of Christ and the indwelling Spirit. So the question is NOT how much of the Holy Spirit do believers have, but how much of us does the Holy Spirit have? I believe that complacence, the love of money, preoccupation with the things of this world, failure to praise and worship God, fear, bitterness, and sin grieves and inhibits the work of the Spirit.
To be in alignment with God’s will and to be filled with His Spirit, each of us must worship, seek, love, and obey Him. As our Lord and Savior, He deserves nothing less than first place in our lives.
*I consulted STRONG’S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE for the terms “filled with the Holy Spirit” and “Spirit-filled” while writing this post.