It was another blistering Texas day, and yet the lawn still cried for attention.  I filled the mower with gas and began to pursue the endless loop.  Soon after, I noticed that I had failed to screw down the cap to the tank on the mower. 

I found that 90% of the fuel had sloshed out and I was running low.  Now I may have to cash in my IRA to buy more gas.

So, I queried, “Why Lord?” and He said, “Because thou art a dummy!’  That’s what He should have said, but He had a lesson for me instead.

He said, “Do you remember back to when you first surrendered to Me?  I in turn filled you with my Holy Spirit so that you were empowered to accomplish great things for Me.  But you have made a few choices since then that have loosened your spiritual cap, and like your mower, you have been leaking.”

Goofy story – but good theology.

The Holy Spirit is that third person of the Trinity that we cannot do without.  At salvation, we are baptized in, indwelt by, and sealed with the Holy Spirit.   This is God’s unconditional provision for every believer.

To be filled with the Spirit is to submit to His gentle control.  To be filled is to be fruitful.  We manifest in our character qualities like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22)  

When it comes to this filling, we determine to what degree we are filled by the measure of our willingness to submit.  In fact, Paul wrote as a command, “Be filled by the Spirit.”  – Ephesians 5:18

The verb “be filled” is a present imperative meaning, “be continually filled.”   It is something that should be repeated as frequently as needed. 

Why repeat it?  Because there really are circumstances that loosen our spiritual cap and result in leakage. 

In Ephesians 4:30 Paul said, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.”  The context of this passage relates to problems with sin.  Sin is rebellion which is the flip side of submission, and it grieves God.  The freedom of the Spirit to work in and through us is diminished by it.

Not hard to understand.  Tom prayed for patience with his boss. The Holy Spirit delivered when Tom held his tongue during staff meeting.  It was a wondrous spirit filled moment. 

Thirty minutes later his wife called and asked if he had taken out the trash.  He said, “I didn’t have time.”  But he lied.  He wronged his wife and grieved the Spirit.  

It is also possible to “quench” the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19) The context has to do with resistance to doing our service to the Lord.   God gave His Spirit, in part, to empower us to do ministry.  When we resist, we throw cold water on the promptings of the Spirit.

In both instances, choices were made that resisted the work of the Holy Spirit.  Once filled, then deflated. 

It’s ironic.  The Holy Spirt as God is omnipresent and fills everything, and yet we human beings make it so that we can be less than filled.  A mystery for sure.   

We are never commanded to pray for this filling.  It has already been provided.  To enjoy it we need to confess any sin and invite the Lord to reassume His gracious control.

I am glad that my cell phone indicates to what degree my phone battery is charged.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that feature in our walk with God? – something to tell us, to what degree we are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. 

Maybe the next best thing, would be to start each day with the assumption we need to be filled again.  

We might reflect it in a prayer.   “Lord, my will is to do your will.  I empty myself of my personal ambitions and ego indulgences and I welcome You to guide me through this day.  Please tenderize my heart to the nudging of your Holy Spirit. 

This has been Jim Johnson and

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Scripture passages are from the NET Bible ®