The Holy Spirit has been misunderstood for centuries. Unfortunately, the subject of the Spirit has been the proverbial “line in the sand” between believers of varying theological persuasions, causing more division in the church world than just about any other topic. This truly is unfortunate because Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) tells us to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
If the Holy Spirit hasn’t been misunderstood, then He’s simply been ignored by other segments of the Body of Christ. One Biblical scholar, Emil Brunner said, “The Holy Spirit is like the forgotten stepchild of the Trinity.” Over the centuries, more talk and teaching has been given to the Father and the Son, than to the Spirit. Thankfully, that began to change dramatically in the 20th Century.
Personally, I have been immersed in the Pentecostal/Charismatic corner of the Christian world for over 25 years and have had many wonderful, life-changing, and life-giving experiences to testify to. Yet, one of my main, nagging concerns during that time is that we have placed more emphasis on being Spirit-filled than we have on being Spirit-spilled.
Why do I mention this? First, let me state emphatically that I am not apposed to the experience of being Spirit-filled. Quite the contrary! Since this experience is available to all believers (Acts 2:39), I think every believer should seek to be filled with the Spirit! However, I do not believe that being Spirit-filled is the end game that God had planned for His people. Just look back at Acts 1:8 (ESV):
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here’s my point…
God fills us with His power so that we can more effectively fulfill His purposes!
This is what I like to refer to as being Spirit-Spilled. It simply means that we do not seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit for the mere thrill and enjoyment of being “overcome in His Presence” or so that we can miraculously speak in a language we have never learned. Rather, it means that we are so filled with His Presence and power that we are better equipped to serve others and lead them into a life-changing relationship with Jesus!
Francis Chan, in his book Forgotten God, nails it when he writes,
“Some people talk a lot about—even boast of—the Spirit, but their lives do not bear His fruit”
Those who are truly Spirit-filled should be the most loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled people in the world! (just look at Galatians 5:22-23). Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown weary of the smoke, lights, and mirrors in so many churches today that only serves to entertain the religious crowd. I want the authentic move of the Spirit of God that transforms lives, shatters addictions, heals marriages, restores the fallen, and produces new life in people far from God! May we be more than “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). The world has seen enough of that in the church. Rather, may we eagerly pursue the true Spirit-filled life that leads to empowered believers who, like the apostle Paul, are being “poured out as an offering to God” (2 Timothy 4:6, NLT).
In other words… may we be Spirit-Spilled!