I grew up in a tradition that did not put much emphasis on the Holy Spirit or living by the Spirit. So when I met young people of the Pentecostal tradition, I was taken aback by their Spirit focus. They constantly talked about the filling of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. We hardly talked about that in my home church. So, I began to wonder if we were missing something. I heard some of these new friends talk about speaking in tongues. Some argued that tongues “proved” you were filled with the Spirit.
Then I would come across Bible passages like Galatians 5:16. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” I wondered if I needed to speak in tongues to walk by the Spirit. If I wasn’t speaking in tongues, did that mean I wasn’t filled with the Spirit? I struggled with this over the years. For awhile, I thought that you could only be filled with the Spirit at summer camp or some retreat which left me on a spiritual high.
But this did not align with “walking by the Spirit.” Walking implies daily life. I wasn’t experiencing daily spiritual highs. Then one time, I heard a speaker say something like this. “To be filled with the Spirit means you receive the power to obey Christ’s commands.” That startled me. It meant that everyday obedience could point to evidence of the Spirit’s work in my life.
Gradually, I became much more aware of the Spirit working in me. The strength to say no to some temptation came not just from my self-discipline or serious mood that day. It came from the Spirit. The power to file my taxes honestly came because of the Spirit’s work in my life. The power to live with joy and peace even when life went poorly revealed the Spirit’s work.
I’m not saying that God doesn’t provide us with the occasional mountain top experiences. But if God can only be found on a mountaintop, then we live impoverished lives in the valleys of everyday life. Yet if we can walk by the Spirit all the time, every day brings new possibilities of His filling us up for God’s good purposes.
So if you’re a Mom at home caring for little ones, a worker who faithfully carries out your responsibilities each day, a senior enduring the isolation of winter and the pandemic, a student trying your best to pass your courses during this unusual time or just an ordinary Christian carrying on daily life, God is very much with you. He gives the Holy Spirit to fill and empower you to live this ordinary day for His glory.
Let Him fill you today and grow His fruit in you – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control. When we see these in our lives, we’re walking by the Spirit.
“Lord, empower and encourage us to today to walk by Your Spirit. We tend to focus on the spectacular and extraordinary. Sometimes we think that You only show up at those times. Yet you spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. Help us to keep going by Your Spirit’s power today.”