Discipline And Being Filled With The Spirit {Chelsey Duda}

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Galatians 5:22-23

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Lately I’ve been struggling with spiritual discipline. I let myself become distracted by other priorities in my life, things that I have put before God, I am guilty.

I wake up each day and immediately check my phone: notifications, email, reminders, calendar, Instagram, FB, YouTube, Etc. I get sucked in again to the virtual ‘social’ world, and time quickly slips by. I realize I haven’t done anything productive yet, so I get up, stretch, make my coffee and grab a morning snack. After that, I realize I need to actually get ‘work’ done today, so I sit down with my laptop at my desk in my room or on my bed (where it’s quiet). I look at my ‘to-do list; or make a new one. I write things down in order of priority for the day. Time is slipping by so fast. I decide to start on my user experience design course. I spend 1 - 3 hours on the reading plus assignments. I finish that. I go back to my to do list, I still need to work on my new blog/website (the one I am typing for now), create new social media platforms (Instagram and a YouTube channel) for the blog to advertise and get the word out. In the meantime, I am applying for new online jobs, cleaning up the house here and there, chatting with my roommates if they are around...thinking I need to exercise, but lack the motivation. I remember I still need to catch up on reading for 2 books/work studies, that are coming up soon. I need to return/exchange a bike soon, and the ‘to-do list’ goes on and on, and before I know it the day is over and I have spent all my time doing other things and having relationships with other people, except for God and I am guilty. I did not fit in even 1 minute of prayer, reading the Bible, meditating, etc.

Why did I not just start my day with God (devote x amount of time) and then get distracted by life? I don’t know. Maybe because I am not filled enough with the Spirit and discipline. I read a short book recently that inspired this blog post. It is titled, “What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Spirit?” By John MacArthur.

Very quick book of reference, but really powerful. God commands us to be filled by with the Spirit. As believers in Christ, we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. This is saying that we are to allow and invite Jesus in to actually have control over our lives, and not try and control our lives through our own strength and willpower; it is a Spiritual force outside of ourselves that works within us. This notion really hit me hard, and clearly explained why I have been struggling with spiritual discipline. How can I be filled with the Spirit, if I have not taken the steps of obedience to manifest that in my life? If I am spending my time on all other worldly distractions than on God, of course I am not going to feel Spiritually fulfilled. This type of Spiritual filling is an action, it is not a one time emotional feeling. It is a verb. We must keep ourselves constantly filled. This allows you to have “daily, moment-by-moment effectiveness and fulfillment in your Christian life.”

It is the Holy Spirit that guides us in the proper direction in life, when we are just in ourselves we desire our own will. My human (sinful nature) desires to satisfy myself.

So if being filled with the Spirit is so crucial in our daily Christian walk, how do we get God’s Spirit to dwell in our hearts?

KEY POINT: We must read and know (memorize) the Word of God. When we are controlled by His Words in our lives from Scripture, we are filled with the Holy Spirit by knowing truth and obeying it.

If we are reading the Bible daily and meditating on Scripture, how will we know if the Holy Spirit dwells within us?  

 

  • You will have a song deep within your heart; a song of worship and praise. This should be because of the joy we have in submitting to Christ.

  • You know you are filled with the Spirit when you are thankful toward God. In Ephesians 5:17, Paul says, “In everything give thanks.” This means we should be thankful always and at all times. Of course this is not an easy thing for humans to accomplish, we can only do this with Jesus’s strength by living a life more aligned with the Holy Spirit. It is easy to be thankful in times of blessings, rewards and good things. It is difficult to be thankful in times of trials, challenges and tragedies. But, these are the times when our true faith in God is tested. If you respond to hardships with honest gratitude, you will be mature in Christ and filled with the Spirit as proof! Through tests and trials in life we are promised through God’s sovereignty that whatever happens will turn out for our good and God’s glory. For every good thing we are given in life: relationships, health, money, happiness, success is from God alone and not man.

  • You should be submissive to other Christian believers. We are to regard the interest and well-being of others. The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind (thinking of yourself less), regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

These 3 traits show the key evidence that the Holy Spirit dwells within you and is guiding you through life.

As Christians we are to live under authority/rule. We are under God’s reign. We no longer govern and control ourselves. I must admit this is difficult for me, I tend to be a person who likes control very much. I like to do things when and how I want. I like things my way. It is not easy for me to submit under authority; but then I just have to remember that GOD IS GOOD. He is loving and He wants nothing but the best for my life. He knows me better than myself; he knows my hopes and dreams better than I think I do. If He is willing to die for me out of love why would He withhold all good things and blessings in my life. All things are for our good and His glory. We get to share in the joy of happiness together! So I have to trust through faith that if I live and walk by the Spirit God will bless my life with good things here and good things to come after this time on Earth.

After all, when I do life my way and think I have control and the strength, that is when everything goes wrong in my life and it falls apart. When I lean on Jesus and depend on Him for my weaknesses I have love, peace and joy. As Scripture says’ 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:8 - 10 ESV.

 

“The only way to voluntarily and joyfully submit to the Lord and to one another in the Body of Christ is to be filled with the Spirit. He is the one who truly makes us willing to follow the narrow path of submission and relinquish our wills for His.” - John MacArthur

 

This phrase really hit home with me, I realized my lack of spiritual discipline was because I relied on myself to have the desire to spend time on God. But, my flesh only wants to spend time on my selfish ways. It is a difficult thing to joyfully submit under God’s authority. As most people do not enjoy being under someone else’s rule. The key to having this desire to submit to God is to ask the Holy Spirit to do the work in you, you must invite him into your heart and your life. It is through His strength that we are successful and not our own. As Paul wrote in Romans 7-18,  18 “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

This is why lately I have been waking up everyday spending my time on everything else, but on God. But, today I am surrendering my control to the Spirit (for my life falls to pieces without God’s intimacy).  In Galatians, we are promised the Fruits of the Spirit, if we surrender control. Paul calls these fruits marvelous blessings. Why would we not all want this in our lives?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. In my life personally I desire love the most, I want peace of mind; free from worry and anxiety. I want to be patient waiting for the good things to come, I want to be kind to others, knowing in return I’ll get kindness back, I want goodness (blessings) in my life and in the lives of those I love, I want to be faithful when I doubt; so I have hope that anchors my soul, I want to be gentle and not get angry with harsh/mean words; for the tongue has power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit and finally I want to have self-control, because good things are worth waiting for.

When we are disciplined and filled with the Spirit we will bear good fruit/blessings in our lives and we belong to Christ knowing we too have crucified our flesh with our own passions and desires, then we will live out our true potential in life. But, we must take the first step and surrender control, submit our ways to the Lord, get disciplined and take the remaining necessary steps to achieving a life ‘filled with the Spirit’ that only comes through the strength and power of the Spirit and not of our own will!  

 

{Written by Chelsey Duda}

*Source: John MacArthur - "What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Spirit?"