This is a controversial question. Ask one hundred people what it means to “be filled with the Spirit” and you’ll probably receive almost as many different answers. Unfortunately, for some people church background determines their answer more than Scripture. I include myself in this category, because for a period of time I believed being filled with the Spirit looked more like what I’d been told than what the Bible taught.
In explaining this phrase, first we’ll talk about what it’s not referring to, and then we’ll talk about what it means.
Outline for the post
Being filled with the Spirit isn’t referring to:
- Speaking in tongues
- Him indwelling us
- Having more of Him
- Being baptized by Him
- An emotional experience
Being filled with the Spirit means:
- He influences us
- Submitting to Him
- Exhibiting godly speech
- Producing the fruit of the Spirit
- Not producing the works of the flesh
- Looking like Jesus
1. Being filled with the Spirit isn’t referring to speaking in tongues
Consider the theme in Luke 1 of four different people being filled with the Spirit: (John the Baptist in v. 15, Mary in v. 35, Elizabeth in v. 41, and Zacharias in v. 67), but there’s no record of any of them speaking in tongues. Were they grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit? Of course not. Even though two of them were moved to make dramatic declarations (Mary’s Magnificat in vv. 46-55 and Zacharias’ prophecy in vv. 68-79), they weren’t spoken in tongues.