Blessedness Of A Spirit-filled Life
By James A. Stewart
The manifestation of the fullness of the Holy Spirit is twofold: first, a life of holiness; and second, a life of spiritual power in service. The manifestation of the fullness differs according to the temperament of the individual. A fullness that does not manifest a holy, Christ-like life is a counterfeit from Satan.
The Savior in His discourse in the Upper Room prophesied that when the Spirit of Pentecost came He would glorify Christ in the believer. So in Galatians 5:22-23, we have a moral portrait of the Lord Jesus reproduced in us by the indwelling, ungrieved Spirit. You will notice that the fruit of the Spirit is in contrast to the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are plural, and the fruit of the Spirit is singular. The manifestations of the flesh are the works of the old man, but the manifestation of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit.
The word fruit gives us the secret right away. You cannot work up the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is not manufactured by the works of the flesh, but is produced in the believer by the Spirit of Christ as he abides in the Redeemer. This is not the cultivation of the old man, or a self-improvement plan, but the third Person of the Trinity Himself living out the life of Christ through us. The fruit of the Spirit is love, and the other eight graces are various flavors of the same fruit.
Joy is love rejoicing.
Peace is love resting.
Longsuffering is love’s patience.
Gentleness is love’s character.
Faith is love’s trust.
Meekness is love’s humility.
Temperance or self-control is love’s strength.
“In newspaper English,” says Samuel Chadwick, “the passage reads something like this: ‘The fruit of the Spirit is an affectionate, lovable disposition; a radiant spirit and a cheerful temper; a tranquil mind and a quiet manner; a forbearing patience in provoking circumstances and with trying people; a sympathetic insight and tactful helpfulness; generous judgment and a big-souled charity; loyalty and reliableness under all circumstances; humility that forgets self in the joy of others; in all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final mark of perfection.’”
What a beautiful picture of the Christ-life manifested in and through us! This habitual fullness of the Holy Spirit is prepared for all believers that they might live a Christ-like life in the home, office, school and everyday life. This is where so many seekers are so keenly disappointed. Paul in Ephesians 5 moves from the lofty heights of glory to the ordinary, everyday life in the kitchen.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit then it will manifest itself in our family relationships. Husbands will love their wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Children will obey their parents in the Lord. Yes! we must be filled with the Holy Spirit to live in the most difficult surroundings. Many seekers again are disappointed because they do not have some extraordinary sensation as others have experienced. I am simply filled with the Holy Spirit of God to do the perfect will of God, whatever that will might entail.
“The Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).
The whole of the Book of Acts is a pageantry of power. Written over every chapter, paragraph, and verse is this one word, POWER! This manifestation of power will only be granted as we obey the voice of the Spirit and accept His chosen ministry for us. In First Corinthians 12, we have the nine gifts of the Spirit. In chapter 14, we have these gifts in operation in the assembly, and in between, we have the great chapter of love, chapter 13.
Only as the gifts of the Spirit have been baptized in the love of Christ shall they be edifying to the church as in chapter 14. Here we see that no believer is destitute sovereignly by the Spirit. There is no self-choosing of positions in the Body of Christ.
Government of the Spirit
Seek to be filled with the Spirit, then follow the guidance and submit to the government of the Spirit by an attitude of obedience. In so doing you will receive that gift which is necessary in order that you may fulfill His purpose. Please remember that above and before all these special gifts for special ministry there is the indwelling of the Spirit for the ordinary work of living under the Lordship of Christ. Remember you are filled to overflow!
Then there is the warfare of the Spirit-filled believer. Believers have to fight for their Canaan possessions. How necessary it is then to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-11). There is no once-and-for-all fullness which ignores the necessity for the renewings of the Spirit. What we have been emphasizing is the necessity for that initial reception of the fullness of the Spirit which makes growth possible by subsequent, daily renewal. This, as we have said, is as a crisis, which leads to a process, which develops into a maintained attitude of surrender whereby we receive renewings of the Spirit (Titus 3:5).
As we go on in the Spirit-filled life, we bow before Calvary and are challenged with fresh decisions of loyalty to Christ. There are not new acts of dedication, but rather the response of our attitude to our great act of surrender.
Only as we abide in Christ can we maintain habitual fullness. The moment I begin to believe, that moment I begin to receive; and so long as I keep believing, praise the Lord, so long do I keep receiving!
It is an utter impossibility for us not to lose the fullness if we do not practice daily, secret prayer and habitual study of the Word. The Word is given to us by inspiration of the Spirit. We can only be guided by the Spirit in paths of holiness and service as we prayerfully feed our souls on the precious heavenly manna (Matt. 4:4).
You will notice that the words of Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:18-19 are similar. The result of the Word’s indwelling and the Spirit’s fullness is the same. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
The smallest secret sin held and cherished can stay the coming of this marvelous blessing. We make the Christian life complicated and difficult by our disobedience and carnality. How glorious to walk in the power of First John 1:9!
Naught of earth to cloud the glory,
Naught of self the light to dim;
Telling forth His wondrous story,
Emptied – to be filled with Him.
Naught of self to mar His glory,
Naught of sin to make it dim,
Just a glorious, glorious shining,
That the friends around see Him.
Resurrection joys abounding,
Every morning mercies new,
Every day His conscious presence,
All my life one interview.
The Spirit Glorifies Christ
The Holy Spirit will now begin to keep Himself in the background while He makes Christ real and precious to your heart. The mystical union between each member of the Trinity and the mystical union of the believer in Christ dawns with great glory on your soul. John 14:20 takes on a new meaning – “At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.”
What a blessed reality these words now become. No longer are they just a Bible truth. “You in Me, and I in you.” Keep repeating this and marvel and rejoice experimentally over this wondrous fact. Nothing is too hard for you and your Lord. Remember, Christ is your life, and as you feed upon Him in the energy of the Spirit you will be conformed to His glorious image (Rom. 8:29). The devil wants you to be occupied with experiences and blessings, but keep your eyes on Christ the great High Priest, your file Leader (Heb. 12:2).
– Used by permission of Revival Literature, P.O. Box 505, Skyland NC 28776. revivallit.org