First of all, it’s important to realize that every BELIEVER IN CHRIST is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus “the power of the Holy Spirit” is available to him at all times. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (NKJV). Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did come and He took up residence in every believer (see Acts 2:1-4). From that moment on, the Holy Spirit was also given to each new believer, as we see in Ephesians 1:13, “In Him (Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, HAVING BELIEVED, you were SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT of promise.”

Now we need to distinguish between being INDWELT by the Spirit, and being EMPOWERED by the Spirit. The former happens, as we have seen from Ephesians 1:13, the very moment we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. The latter happens, as we shall see, moment by moment as we YIELD our lives to the Holy Spirit. Let’s consider a few scriptures on this blessed subject.

In Ephesians 5:18 we read, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” The Apostle Paul’s exhortation to believers in this verse is quite simple. We all know that if one is “drunk with wine” they are being CONTROLLED BY A FOREIGN SPIRIT. Paul’s point here is instead of being controlled by an alcoholic spirit, be CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.” We know how SELF-DESTRUCTIVE it is when one is under the influence of too much wine (or any other alcoholic beverage). Yet if one is under the influence of the Holy Spirit they will be SELFLESS, which means they will be “concerned more with the needs of others than with one’s own needs.” In other words, they will have the POWER to minister to the needs of others. This is borne out in verses 19-21, “Speaking TO ONE ANOTHER in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart TO THE LORD, giving thanks always for all things TO GOD THE FATHER in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting TO ONE ANOTHER IN THE FEAR OF GOD.” When we are “filled by the Holy Spirit” we will have OTHERS as the object of our hearts…other believers, the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father. And the Spirit will give us all the POWER we need to be a channel of blessing to them.

In Galatians 5:16 we read, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The words “walk in the Spirit” means to be “guided by the Spirit.” It is closely linked with being “filled with the Spirit” for in both cases we are ALLOWING the Spirit to control us. We basically have two options as we live our lives in this world; we can “yield to our own selfish desires” (the “lusts of the flesh”), or we can “yield to the Holy Spirit’s desires.” Perhaps you’re wondering, “What does it mean to ‘yield to the Spirit’?” It means to depend on Him to guide us through life through the Word of God. The Psalmist speaks to this in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Our “job” is simply to yield to the Spirit by reading and studying the scriptures and then asking for the Spirit’s power to obey the truth that we have learned. We will find that if we are truly yielding our lives to the Spirit, He will indeed give us the power to live our lives according to the truth of Scripture.

Let me add in closing, that the Spirit will not only enable us to be obedient to the Word, He will also manifest the character of Christ in our lives. This is brought out beautifully in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” We could never produce this lovely fruit in our own natural strength, but by being “filled with the Spirit” they will be produced in us by the Spirit’s power. (298.3) (DO)