As I look back, I am inclined to believe that the sermon I preached yesterday might be one of the most important I have ever preached (or will ever for that matter). I've read the story of Stephen countless times - and probably heard more sermons over it than that. But the thing that struck me about Stephen more than anything is that Luke described him 3 times as being a man who was "FULL". And as I meditated on that over and over last week, the Lord continually hammered something home in me: You can't be "FULL" unless you're being "FILLED". Period.
I think that most of us as Christians have grotesquely underestimated the Holy Spirit! It seems like we think of HIM as an IT - and we don't even think about IT unless we need IT to come and help us out or answer some request we have. The Holy Spirit is a person - He is GOD - the Spirit of God - the One that Jesus told His disciples, "I'm going to need to leave you so that I can send you the Counselor". In other words, God-in-the-flesh was telling his inner circle, "You NEED me to go so that HE can come!" (Brian paraphrase) And as you see in Luke 21:5-15, Jesus is explaining to them that this Temple is not needed for anyone to find my presence because when I send the Counselor, He's going to reside IN YOU! He's going to come and FILL YOU. Not once, but constantly. And you can't be FULL unless you're being FILLED.
My prayer for us as Christ-followers is that we are daily in pursuit of living Spirit-filled lives. And as we do, we'll begin seeing things others can't see, finding peace in situations and circumstances where others only see chaos (check out John 14:15-29), and seizing opportunities to impact others lives for the Kingdom. But if this is to happen, the essential ingredient - hold onto your hat - is the Word of God. Paul explains in Ephesians 6:17 that the "sword of the Spirit...is the Word of God". Here's the kicker: God isn't going to fill you so that you'll get into His Word. He fills you WHEN you get into His Word! And another nugget of truth for us: when we're living Spirit-filled lives, the Word of God begins to pour out of us. But the divine irony is that the way we're filled is by the Word of God being poured INTO us! It's the beautiful, incomprehensible way that the Creator and Redeemer chooses to speak to us, lead us, and use us for His glory!
Are you living a FULL life? Do you want to? More to come....