In my last post we saw the importance of the priority of prayer and the permeation of Scripture in spiritual growth. In this final instalment of of posts on resources for spiritual growth I will consider the final two: the power of the Spirit and the presence of fellowship.
The Power of the Spirit
If we are going to serve the Lord with our highest love, reverence and obedience we are in need of Divine help. For this reason we need the power of the Holy Spirit. This power will help us apply what we learn in the word of God. Both the permeation of the word and the power of the Spirit work hand in hand. How does this power work? We need to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is a straightforward command in Scripture, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The word “filled” in this verse means “to make full” in the sense of permeation or control. The idea is that the believer’s life is to be under the control and direction of the Holy Spirit. This control leads to conduct that is in conformity to the word of God (cf. Col. 3:16).
In this text to be filled is a command, which means that if one is not be filled with the Holy Spirit is disobedience. Secondly, this filling is to be ongoing. In the Greek it is in the present tense indicating that the Christian is to be continually filled. The filling with the Holy Spirit cannot be pinpointed to one super spiritual experience you had in your Christian walk – it is to be an ongoing reality. This filling is to be a daily focus and priority of the Christian. Thirdly, this type of filling is not limited to the elite! It is not exclusive and only given for those who carry out special tasks. This command (“be filled with the Spirit“) is in the plural indicating that it is for every believer. Regardless of who you are, if you are a believer this command is for you! Finally, this filling of the Holy Spirit is in the passive voice, which indicates that you can’t fill yourself. This filling comes from the Holy Spirit.
This filling refers to the Spirit of God, controlling the people of God with the purpose of obeying the word of God. This occurs when the believer allows Scripture to permeate their being and then obey it. When the believer takes heed to the Word of God and walks in its way they are filled with the Spirit of God.
The Presence of Fellowship
When the Lord saves His people, He doesn’t then say, “Your’e saved, now off you go, every man for himself!” No, He places us into fellowship with His Son () which becomes the basis of our fellowship with other believers. Christians were never intended to serve and live in isolation.
Christians belong to the body of Christ (; ). An expression of this is being a part of a local church. One of the blessings of being a part of a local church is the fellowship of God’s people. This fellowship works as a means that supports us in spiritual growth. How? First, by means of authentic Christian fellowship we can receive counsel, correction, encouragement and advice. What a blessing to receive such gifts from others brothers and sisters in the Lord! Secondly, by means of authentic Christian fellowship we can learn from other believers godly example. Let us make use of the practice of fellowship and benefit from those people God has placed into the church.
These last two posts obviously are not exhaustive and have left a lot unsaid. However they do remind us of the gracious means God gives us in our pursuit of holiness.
By God’s grace, let us make use of the priority of prayer, the permeation of Scripture, the power of the Spirit, and the practice of fellowship to the glory of God.
9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 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.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.