Spirit FilledMay 10th, 2012 by Lauren Lombard
I recently saw a science experiment that demonstrated what happens when balloons are brought into contact with fire. A balloon was first filled with a modest amount of air, knotted, and then held over a burning candle. As might be expected, the balloon popped, sending pieces flying across the room. Then a second balloon was produced, this one was filled with a great amount of air so that the balloon was full and tight. Then it too was knotted and held over the flame. This balloon popped even more quickly.
Then a balloon was filled with a very small amount of air and passed over the flame as before. This one took a little longer to pop and didn’t send shredded balloon pieces flying, but it was still not able to withstand the heat. Finally, a balloon filled with water was held over the flame in the same manner as the others had been, but with strikingly different results. This balloon didn’t pop. Because of the substance it held, it stood fast.
This illustration reminded me of something we studied recently on CrossConnection. In Matthew 12 we explored servanthood and what humility really means. Jesus was the perfect example of humility. He was divinity, yet He sought to serve rather than seeking the recognition of men.
Even people who strive to be righteous and follow God are not able to do so in their own strength. Our pious acts of self-denial and ritual, are not bringing us closer to God, but rather creating barriers.
As Sergio commented during the last program: “The key is that strength doesn’t come from us, humility helps get us out of the way so that we can truly be a temple of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 says: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (NKJV)
Just as Herod’s temple was cleansed and renewed, yet didn’t contain the Spirit of God, our acts of selflessness are never going to be enough. It’s not about what we’re not doing, or what we aren’t filled with. It’s about Who we’re filled with, about who is dwelling in us and how that is reflected in our lives. It’s not just about not doing the wrong things, it’s about being filled with the right things. We need to be filled with the Spirit rather than thinking ourselves to be holy because of our actions.
Just as we saw with the balloon demonstration, no matter how hard we try to empty ourselves, we will not be able to reflect God or withstand the trials we face without being filled with God’s Spirit. John 1:14 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus dwelt among us and now desires to dwell in us through His Spirit. Let us ask Him fill us today.