Filled With The Spirit: A LIFE-CHANGING Transformation

In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

This is a profound passage that raises a massively important question: What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

I can think of few more important questions. After all, if we are filled with the Spirit it means that God himself, the Holy Spirit, dwells in us.

Ponder that reality with me for just a moment. God. Dwelling. In. Us.

It’s absolutely mind-boggling. The almighty God, the King of Kings, the One who holds the universe in his hand, dwelling within us.

But what exactly does this mean? How are we to understand this command to be filled with the Spirit?

Let’s look a little more at what scripture has to say.

Be Filled With The Spirit: A Present Reality

There are some Christians who teach that being filled with the Spirit is a second experience that happens after you’re born again. In other words, you’re born again but you don’t have the power of Holy Spirit.

In their opinion, being filled with the Spirit is something that happens after you’re born again.

And while I certainly respect those who believe this way, I also believe that they are incorrect in their interpretation.

Scripture never speaks of two types of Christians – those who have been filled with the Spirit and those who haven’t. Scripture doesn’t have a caste system, with those who have been filled with the Spirit at the top and those who haven’t at the bottom.

Rather, Scripture says that all who have believed in Christ have been filled with the Spirit.

This why Paul could say in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that we all are temples of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit dwelled in the temple in the Old Testament, so the Holy Spirit now fills us, making us temples to the living God. Paul doesn’t make any distinctions when he speaks about being a temple of the Holy Spirit. All Christians are temples.

In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul says, “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.”

Did you catch that? It says that all who were baptized into the body of Christ were made to drink of one Spirit. When someone believes in Christ, they are joined to his body and are filled with the Spirit.

This isn’t a second experience that happens after you’re born again. Being filled with the Spirit happens the moment you truly believe in Christ for salvation.

This reality should deeply encourage us. If you are a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit in you in all his fullness. You don’t need to seek out some sort of mystical experience to have the Holy Spirit. Rather, God lavishly pours out his Spirit to all who call on his name.

Right now, the Holy Spirit is giving you the power to overcome sin. The Holy Spirit is working in you to help you fight against sinful desires and temptations.

As it says in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Right now, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you, asking the Father to give you all that you need to follow hard after him.

As Paul says in Romans 8:27, “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Isn’t this good news? Aren’t you glad that you are filled with the Spirit? Aren’t you grateful that, despite all your sins and weaknesses, the Holy Spirit dwells in you?

If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you are filled with the Spirit, and that should give you great joy.

Be Filled With The Spirit: An Ongoing Need

What’s interesting as you read through the Bible is that it talks about being filled with the Spirit in both the past and present tense.

We were filled with the Spirit when we placed our trust in Christ.

But we also must continually be filled with the Spirit. Again, to quote Ephesians 5:18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”

This command is in the present tense. In other words, even though we’ve already been filled with the Spirit, there is a sense in which me must also be continually refilled with the Spirit.

Now, to be clear, I don’t mean that somehow the Holy Spirit “empties” out of us. It’s not like the Spirit leaves us or deserts us. We’re not like leaky buckets that the Holy Spirit slowly drains out of. No, we’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit.

But there’s also a very real sense in which we need to be constantly experiencing renewal in the Holy Spirit.

We get a sense of this in Acts 4:31. The disciples had already been filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And yet it says that the disciples were once again filled with the Holy Spirit:

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem helpfully says this:

…it is appropriate to understand filling with the Holy Spirit not as a one-time event but as en event that can occur over and over again in a Christian’s life. It may involve a momentary empowering for a specific ministry…but it also may refer to a long-term characteristic of a person’s life.

This is really important for us to get. It has massive implications for our lives.

It is the Holy Spirit who…

  • Empowers us to be holy
  • Enables us to fight sin
  • Convicts us of sin and righteousness
  • Strengthens us for the work of ministry
  • Gives us spiritual gifts to use in his service

Put simply, we desperately need the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we are going to live in a manner that pleases God, we need to be regularly filled with the Holy Spirit.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Even though we’ve been filled with the Spirit, we need to regularly and consistently be refreshed, renewed, and refilled with the Holy Spirit. If this doesn’t happen, we won’t be able to follow God effectively.

Asking For The Holy Spirit

All of this raises a hugely important question: how do we be filled with the Spirit on a regular basis?

Fortunately, it’s not particularly complicated.

If you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you simply need to ask your good Father.

In Luke 11:13, Jesus put it this way: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

This is such good news. We don’t have to twist God’s arm in order to get him to fill us with the Spirit. We don’t need to perform any rituals or do any good works. We simply need to ask God to give us the Holy Spirit.

Because our Father is infinitely good and generous, he loves to give the Holy Spirit to his children. He loves to fill and refill those who ask him for the Spirit.

Do you want more of the Holy Spirit in your life? Don’t overthink it. Simply say, “Father, please fill me with your Holy Spirit today. Please give me all that I need to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to you.”

God delights to answer that prayer. If you ask him, he will fill you.

Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

13 thoughts on “Filled With The Spirit: A LIFE-CHANGING Transformation”

  1. Brother, thank you for using your gifts and talents for the spreading and sharing of the Gospel of Christ! This article is rather enlightening and I just want to encourage you to continue on!

    • my brother am glad to come across this topic be filled with the holy spirit. God blessing will rest upon the more,in Jesus name Amen. we have mentality that before you receive holy spirit you must be born again but today the scriptures mentioned about I have more understanding of been filled with the holy spirit. and going to make use it very well and dissimilate to others as well. thank you.

  2. Praise The Lord! Matt.5:6 tells us that ” Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, they shall be filled” people who want righteousness thirst for it like water the closer we get to God the more we thirst for righteous because God is Righteous and this is how we feed our (spirit being) it transforms our thinking and causes us to think on GODLY/ HEAVENLY things this is how we know that we are being lead by “The Holy Spirit” if we don’t know what the word of God says about us and how we are to conduct ourselves as Christians/Believers of Christ, then how can we proclaim Christian citizenship and please God. I have been told that if you don’t speak in an unknown tongue then you can not pray in the Spirit but personally I don’t believe this because I know that the Spirit Of God dwells inside of me and when I pray I pray in The Spirit. Acts.17:28 tells us that in Christ we live, we move and we have our being and I don’t believe that God gives every person the same gifts and talents. I believe that if Gods desires to place that gift of an unknown tongue upon us He will do exactly that. If we truly confess Christ and believes that the The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us then He will be illuminated through our life styles and that’s the bottom line. no if’s and’s or but’s about it. Thank you for the encouragement! Thank for allowing me the privilege to share. Oh! Alcohol is a whole different spirit. Be Blessed and have a wonderful week in CHRIST JESUS!!!

  3. Thank God for this article. For too many years I think many Christians have felt less than Christians because of being rebuked for not being able to speak in tongues.

    In fact I was once told I didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit because I didn’t speak in tongues – and therefore shouldn’t want to serve in the prayer ministry. Thank God one day the Lord gave me the gift of tongues for, what I believe, was His call on my life to be an intercessor. Once I started speaking in tongues, I was welcomed with open arms into the Prayer Ministry.

    Love is supposed to be the true witness of a Christian and that’s why we need the Holy Spirit more than anything today. Let the Love of God be spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which we have.

    I want something lasting and that will give God glory. Paul already said all the other things will perish, including tongues, but love will last forever.

    Father in the name of Jesus Christ our savior, deliverer, master, Lord, we ask for a fresh infilling of Your Holy Spirit so that Your Spirit will love and forgive through us and we may become all that you wanted us to be from the beginning. May we be lights for your Love and light.

  4. Thank you for this enlightening article. I am very grateful and have been encouraged to continue studying God’s word by brothers like you. Being filled by God’s Spirit is not beyond us after all if we are diligent.


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