I mentioned last week that I’m a goal setter. I don’t do resolutions, but I try to prayerfully set goals for areas of my life. I start with Spiritual goals because I want all the others to be filtered through what I believe Jesus wants. Sometimes it takes several days into the new year before I get them. This year they came, unexpectedly, through an online sermon Sunday morning.
Herb Cooper of Oklahoma City People’s Church was preaching about revival starters. As my notes took shape, I immediately saw the overarching goals. It took longer to break them up into practical aspects. And I always want to dig deeper into the accompanying scriptures
A successful 2021 is only possible as God deems it so. However, he invites us to partner with Him in the success. So, to that end, I have four goals to share with you. One each week for the next four weeks.
#1 Be filled with the Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit starts with repentance. “Sorry” is thrown around as easily as leaves in the wind. True repentance brings a change in the way we act. I cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit until I have asked Jesus to forgive my sin, shortcomings, failures AND change my behavior. The difference between “sinning” and “living in sin” is a change in behavior. Only after I’ve repented and began to work on change, can I look at Ephesians 5:18.
Which (NLT) says “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” It’s interesting that Paul contrasts filling of the Holy Spirit with being drunk. Scholars believe Paul used this phrase as “a reckless pursuit of excitement at any cost.” The Pulpit commentary suggests that resorting to drink to “cheer and animate you” is the meaning here. One author suggests that Paul was speaking more positively than at first glance. Drunkards are out of control. They walk differently when drunk, they speak freely, they act in ways they would not normally act. Could Paul be suggesting that when we are filled with the Spirit, we might walk differently, speak boldly, act different than our sinful nature would?
When the Holy Spirit fills or invades our life, we become bold and courageous. Our prayers become His will; His Word becomes alive. It convicts but also encourages. Assurance, peace, and confidence become our companions. 2021 demands this.
Pastor Cooper challenged his listeners to list three things they needed to repent of and change in this new year. I won’t share my list. However, I challenge you to make your own list. What are things you might need to change to be full of the Holy Spirit?
Think on that.