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Devotional - week of December 3, 2006


where is the agony?

  

… be filled with the Spirit … Ephesians 5:18

 

Most of God’s children are aware of the biblical teaching of being filled with the Holy Spirit. However, far too many believers have not sought the filling for themselves. There is a common belief that to receive the filling of the Spirit one must experience some form of agony. If this belief is true, where is the agony?

 

For the sincere believers who are not filled with the Spirit, there is a heart-agony over the quality of life they are experiencing. Romans 8:5-13 presents a contrast between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit. The concluding words of this passage are:

 

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  Romans 8:12-13

 

Walking in the Spirit is exchanging an existence referred to as death for an existence referred to as life. Some believers agonize for life, not death.

 

In Galatians 5:17 we are told that our flesh is the only barrier that keeps us from being filled with the Spirit. The barrier of flesh is removed when a person understands that his flesh is his know-it-all attitude, and he believes his flesh has been crucified (Galatians 5:24), and he chooses to experience his spiritual crucifixion.

 

So where is the agony? For some believers the agony is in choosing to experience the crucifixion of their flesh in order to be filled with the Spirit. It is choosing to live out of God’s wisdom and not out of one’s own wisdom. 

 

The agony is in the fear that living out of God’s wisdom and not our own wisdom will result in disappointment and tragedy.  

 The answer to those fears and that agony is in believing the words of Romans 8:13. If we walk in the flesh—our own wisdom—we will die. If we walk in the Spirit, we will live.

 

When one can believe the words written in Romans 8:13 about life and death, he is ready to continually experience his oneness with Christ and continually be filled with the Holy Spirit.