How do we know we're filled with the holy spirit?
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
How can we know that we’re filled with the Holy Spirit? Recently a new Christian
studied the Discipleship Journeys with Jesus lesson on “Jesus Journey to Pentecost.” It’s
about being filled with the Holy Spirit, which is a command in Ephesians 5:18, “be filled
with the Spirit.” But the study didn’t answer every question and one that was unanswered
was how to know if they are filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s a great question.
Scripture tells us that when we are born again, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, “For in
one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all
were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV) Christians are thereafter “a
temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)
However, while we are thereafter indwelt by the Spirit, that does not mean that we are
filled with the Spirit.
we know it is true? We also hear that certain churches or Christian groups are “Spirit-
filled” but again, how does one determine that to be the case? Furthermore, how do we
know that other groups are not “Spirit-filled?”
To answer, I went to Scripture and came up with a list of biblical ways to know we are
filled with the Holy Spirit. While there may be more, I came up with five.
Five Ways to Know if You are Filled with the Holy Spirit:
First and foremost, we know because God would not command us to be filled
with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and then deny us the Spirit’s filling.
But yes, there is a hindrance that must be removed as we practice “spiritual
breathing” (Luke 11:13).
What is spiritual breathing?
Exhale: First we must exhale sin through confession. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Inhale: Then we inhale the Holy Spirit through invitation in prayer. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:13)
2. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.” These fruits are the natural outgrowth of being yielded to the Spirit and they result in noticeable improvements in our character!
If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, people are going to notice exciting
differences from the old self to the new self.
“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 Good News Translation)
3. BOLDNESS IN TESTIFYING
Acts 4:31 tells us that “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” These were disciples who had cowered in fear when Jesus was tried. Peter had even denied ever knowing Jesus when speaking with a lowly servant girl.
But after the coming of the Holy Spirit, they testified boldly, risking their lives and according to church history, eventually dying for Christ. Being spirit-filled doesn’t mean you’re going to die a martyr. But it does mean you’re willing to testify boldly without concern for your personal reputation and sometimes your safety. “Because of Christ we are thought of as fools…” (1 Corinthians 4:10 CEV)
4. SIGNS, WONDERS AND MIRACLES
The Gospel was confirmed by signs, wonders and miracles in Bible times, even before the apostles (Luke 10:9) and without their presence (Acts 6:8). God still performs supernatural signs, wonders and miracles today, as He chooses: “And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.” (Hebrews 2:4, NLT)
We should pray for God to do them as the disciples prayed (Acts 4:29-30). But we cannot demand them, since they happen if and when God chooses. We must not allow seeking for signs and wonders to become a diversion, as Jesus described in Matthew 12:39 “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign….”
5. THE PRACTICE OF SPIRITUAL BREATHING
We know that it is possible to suppress the Holy Spirit since 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Don't quench the Spirit.” We quench the Spirit when we ignore Him or sin. This does not mean that believers lose the Spirit, but that we stifle His work, until we “exhale sin through confession” and practice spiritual breathing as explained above.
My final recommendation is: Don’t make being Spirit-filled more complex than it needs
to be. While some will have a dramatic supernatural experience of the Holy Spirit, that should not be our standard. Welcome those experiences if they happen. But don’t depend
on them for your walk with God. Rather, use the five concrete biblical ways above to
know if you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord
and Savior, that’s the place to begin. Click HERE for how.
To get all the free lessons discipleship lessons from Discipleship Journeys with Jesus, go
to www.djjministry.org and click where it says “START YOUR JOURNEYS HERE.”
The journey mentioned above is “Jesus Journey to Pentecost” (Journey 14).
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