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How can I be full of the Holy Spirit?

The Bible teaches us that when a person repents of their sin and believes in Jesus as Lord they will receive the Holy Spirit. See Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Galatians 3:2, Ephesians 1:13. But we also learn that it is possible to be filled with the Holy Spirit and possible to quench the Spirit. That is because the Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity and as with any person it is possible to grow a good relationship or to grow cold.

The Apostle Paul gives us some good advice on how we can make sure we are continually in good relationship with the Holy Spirit and filled with Him:

In Romans 15:13 he writes: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV84) and this encourages us that as we trust in God He will fill us with His Spirit.

In Ephesians 5:17-20 Paul gives practical advice on the type of behaviour that Christians are to avoid and then explains what being filled with the Spirit looks like in practice: Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV84)

On the negative side we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 that by treating God’s word with contempt we can put out the Spirit’s fire. And in Ephesians 4:30 that we can cause the Holy Spirit to grieve by speaking hurtful words, untruths and harbouring and/or acting in anger.

So from even a cursory study of the scriptures it’s clear that persistence in sin, stubbornness, and the refusal to respond to God’s word are sure ways of harming our relationship with the Holy Spirit – whereas developing faith and trust, obedience, personal worship of God and submission to His word are sure ways to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Many find it helpful to pray 'Lord fill me with your Holy Spirit today' and then to expect to receive from Him.

This is obviously a large topic and it is hard to do it justice in a short pastoral answer, but we do hope that these notes will help you as you think through the scriptures.