[The following was originally posted on 5/9/12.]
What is God's will for my life? I believe that God's will can be
summed up in one statement: God wants me to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I
believe that this is the teaching of Ephesians 5:17-18. The filling of the Holy
Spirit is indicative of God's active, indwelling presence in my life: granting
me spiritual gifts, growing spiritual fruit within me, and bringing me into
blessed fellowship with Him.
I can fail (and often do fail) to be filled by the Holy Spirit as
I "quench" the Holy Spirit in my life (1
Thess 5:19). This 'quenching' occurs through engaging in sins:
either sins of commission or sins of omission. Sins of commission can occur
through the instrumentality of a foreign substance (Eph 5:17-18 mentions
"wine") or through my own flesh (1
Thess 4:3 mentions "sexual immorality;" cf. 1 Cor
6:18). In either case, in committing sins of commission, I am giving
myself over to the control of something other than the Holy Spirit. The chief
sin of omission is the failure to prayerfully study God's Word.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is directly tied to being filled
with God's Word. This is seen in the close parallel between Ephesians 5:17-33 and Colossians 3:15-25. (Notice that whereas Eph
5:18 says, "be filled with the Spirit," Col 3:16 says, in the same basic
position of the argument being presented, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you
Holy Scripture-- the Word of God, presenting the message of Christ-- is the
vehicle of the Holy Spirit. Faith comes (initially) by hearing the Word of God
Faith grows through being nourished on the Word of God (Matt 4:4;
1 Pet 2:2).
Faith is the instrument by which disciples take hold of Christ and receive all
spiritual blessings found in Him.
My study of God's Word must be prayerful, because I am commanded
the Word of Christ dwell within you richly in all wisdom" (Col 3:16), and
because the way I am to obtain wisdom is through asking God (Jas 1:5). Wisdom is needed so that I may put
God's Word into action in how I deal with others, as outlined in Ephesians
5:17-33 and Colossians 3:15-25.
If I am filled with the Holy Spirit—if I am thus pursuing God's
will for my life—it will be evident in my attitude and actions. I will have an
attitude of thankfulness toward God in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18-19). My actions—in addition to
being characterized by the love, submission, and justice described in Ephesians
5:17-33 and Colossians 3:15-25—will also be characterized by active evangelism.
In performing God's will for my life, I must be active in evangelism because it
is God's will that all be saved (1 Tim 2:3-4) and the Lord is not willing that
any should perish (2 Pet 2:9).
In summary: God's will for my life is that I be filled
with the Holy Spirit. The chief ways to be filled with the Holy Spirit are by
simultaneously: abstaining from sin, prayerfully studying God's Word (seeking
to put what I find in His Word into practice in my life), having an attitude of
thankfulness to God in all circumstances, and engaging in evangelism.
Labels: Bible study, personal