HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
A short answer is: Focus on Jesus, by praying, by reading your Bible every day and by trying to be obedient to Him and not to give in to temptation!
But for the longer answer let’s begin with the opposite: When will we get less of the Spirit? The apostle Paul speaks of ‘quenching the Spirit’ (1 Thessalonians 5:19), but how do we do that?
Quenching the Spirit
To understand this we need to know that the Bible (and especially Paul) makes a very clear distinction between ‘the flesh’ and ‘the Spirit’. With ‘the flesh’ he means a person without the Holy Spirit (so not only his body, but also his spirit is part of ‘the flesh’). But Paul uses the term ‘the Spirit’ to refer to a person who has received the Holy Spirit.
Now there is ‘but’. When we receive ‘the Spirit’ ‘the flesh’ is not totally gone. It will still lure us to do its will.
So Paul says in Galatians 5:16: ‘So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh’. A bit further Paul explains very clearly what are the characteristics of ‘the flesh’ and what are the characteristics of ‘the Spirit’ (Verses 19-23):
‘The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’.
So when do we ‘quench the Spirit’ or ‘grieve the Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:30)? When we start giving in to the luring of the flesh and shut our ears and eyes to what the Holy Spirit tells us through the Bible.
How are we filled with the Spirit?
But how are we filled with the Spirit? In Ephesians 5:18-20 Paul says:
‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Being filled with the Spirit clearly has to do with focusing on the Lord in many ways: Singing, praying, reading and studying his Word! This way we use all the means God has given us to be filled with the Spirit. Paul says somewhere: ‘Now the Lord (Jesus) is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:17). This does not mean we cannot distinguish between the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but it does mean that there is a very tight bond between Jesus and the Holy Spirit: Where we focus on Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, there the Spirit is at work, filling us with Himself.
So stay focused on Jesus!