The Filling of the Holy Spirit
We have been talking in our recent blogs about developing a Christmas worldview. We said previously that having a Christmas worldview involves looking for and experiencing miraculous events, recognizing the fulfillment of prophecy in the birth of Christ, and the divine revelation that God has made known to those who are His children. My final thought before Christmas regarding the development of a Christmas worldview is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives and out into our world. Throughout the Christmas story, there are repeated manifestations of the Holy Spirit speaking in unusual and unexpected ways. One of the earliest manifestations of the Holy Spirit is found in Luke when Mary hurries to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Scripture states, “at that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:39-45 NIV). It was the Holy Spirit that fills Elizabeth to make this declaration concerning her younger relative who stood before her. Just as it was the Holy Spirit that directed Simeon (last week’s blog) to enter into the temple at the very moment that Jesus was being presented for His ritualistic purification by his parents. The Holy Spirit is a dominant theme throughout the birth experience of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, we see just a few verses later, after Zechariah writes the name John down as the name of his new son, that all at once the Holy Spirit who showed up again in a big way. We read, “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this and wondered about it, asking, “What is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. This father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,” (Luke1:64-67 NIV). Once again it is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that then directs Zechariah to make his incredible statement regarding the work of his son in preparing the way for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I talk about the manifestation of the Holy Spirit I wonder if we as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and prompting in our lives? I wonder if the Lord brings conviction about some sin into our lives, whether we quench the Holy Spirit or we respond with repentance and confession? This Christmas season there will be many opportunities for Spirit-directed conversations around the dinner table or some other place of how significant the Lord Jesus Christ is in our hearts and homes, will we follow His prompting or just quench Him and tell Him to be quiet? Christmas time is a wonderful time to develop a Christmas worldview that allows the Holy Spirit to speak freely into our hearts and lives. Are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit to give us a new vision of how God may want us to serve Him? I think there are many examples in the Christmas story of people who had life-changing experiences because they obeyed the Holy Spirit’s prompting and guidance. I think that would include both Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon and Anna, and certainly the shepherds and the wise men. God can speak in and through so to many different people, but you and I must be willing to yield our lives to the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and guidance. I’m not sure with all the ungodly influences around us, being bombarded daily by so many media influences and power if we allow God’s Spirit to speak to us? There must be some quietness, because God doesn’t speak usually in the earthquake, the fire, or the wind, but most of the time He’s speaks to our hearts in a still small voice, just as he did Elijah’s life. I hope this Christmas season will find you listening for the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit to direct and bless your steps. What a wonderful gift Holy Spirit is that God has given to us to help us live in these most difficult of times. Let’s have our heart’s in a condition to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we may develop a Christmas worldview.
For God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo