Five Spheres of the Spirit-filled Life in the Christian

Dolphin at Seaworld, California [Photo: April 17, 2006]
As Christians, we’re all very aware of our need for God’s help in everything we do. To deny that is unthinkable for a Christian.

But do we really rely upon God in everything we do? I’m inclined to think we often rely on God to get us out of trouble, or to make us feel better when faced with difficult circumstances. True?

What is it to depend implicitly on God?

I think it’s a lot more than what most of us recognise.

I will lay it out for you, five key areas where the believer must possess an utter reliance and dependance in God the Holy Spirit (let’s never forget the divine order revealed to us in the Scriptures, that we pray to the Father, who, because of what Christ has done, grants us the help of the Holy Spirit).

1. The Need for the Spirit in Prayer

I remember hearing Rev. John Greer once say,

“Prayer is the most spiritual act one can engage in, and therefore it is the most difficult.”

If that’s true, and I believe it is, then how can we expect to pray in our own strength? Why is it we rarely (if ever) plead for the Holy Spirit to come and help us before we pray to the Father?

This was something I learned early in my Christian life, that there’s a vast difference between saying our prayers, and really praying. If you don’t consider prayer to be akin to going to the gym, then it’s likely that you’ve never really prayed.

Real prayer, prayer that makes a difference, can be an exhausting and difficult act, and the reason we rarely get to the place where we are really getting the ear of God, so to speak, is because we don’t ask for the help of the Spirit.

We need the Holy Spirit to burden us, to guide us, and to strengthen us against the weakness of our flesh. We need Him to spiritually energise us so we can pray. The old saints called it, “praying through.”

Do we know anything of that?

2. The Need for the Spirit in Bible Study

Oh, what ignorance there is of the Scriptures in this age! It’s the reason the God Channel exists and rubbish self-help books line the shelves of Christian bookstores.

Part of the ministry of the Spirit of God is to “guide us into all truth.” That’s fundamental. And yet, how often is there a real heart-cry from us, that the Spirit of God might come upon us and enlighten our minds to the Word of God? Paul knew the importance of this, and that’s why he prayed, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17).

We need the Spirit to give us understanding and reveal to us more about God. That’s the thrust of the prayer there. But we don’t see it. I mean, we see it in the sense that right now you’re in agreement with me, but we don’t really plead for such, do we?

The absolute trash that gets away with being termed ‘biblical’ these days, is surely an abomination to God. Men urging people to give to their ministries, because if you do God will bless you and give tenfold in return. To use a biblical term, they’re nothing but “dogs.”

We’re living among a “generation of vipers” as Jesus put it, and they deny the Resurrection, the Atonement, the Genesis account of Creation and the flood, etc, and they’re getting away with it because of the ignorance of the Bible. Oh dear Christian, plead for the Spirit to enlighten your mind to God’s truth, and not notions; yours or any other.

3. The Need for the Spirit in Witnessing

Ah, the Great Commission. What a command! “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” Did you ever think of the mammoth task that is?

Christ was well aware of how great a task he was setting before his people. Therefore, it’s not surprising to find that in almost every case where he gives the command to preach the Gospel to the world, he also promises power.

Furthermore, this power was not to be assumed. It was one we must ask for. We are to “tarry” and “wait” for the promised power of the Spirit of God. We are to seek God for it earnestly, recognising our absolute powerlessness.

This is an area I’d love to expand upon some day. There is a severe misunderstanding of the Spirit of God. Those in the Charismatic camp talk about the infilling of the Spirit in relation to tongues or healing, and those in the Reformed camp think we have the Spirit, and He’s with us all the time (without seeing the difference between the indwelling of the Spirit, and the infilling of the Spirit).

But that’s not something I can elaborate on now. However, I emphasise that we desperately need the Spirit to witness effectively.

4. The Need for the Spirit in the Church

We’re living in a day of strategies and tactics, and it has unfortunately infiltrated the Church. Committees meet together discussing how to reach the youth, or how they can better minister to young families, or what activities they can organise for the elderly, etc. It’s not all wrong. I’m not saying there is not a need to consider our society and how we can be more effective in our respective communities, but it has gone well beyond that.

Phrases like, “they won’t come in unless we…” or “we need to have…” or “we’re living in a different generation, so…” are often pathetic excuses which replace God’s revealed will.

We’re setting aside the power of the Spirit of God, and replacing Him with rock bands, and football, and free music lessons, and afternoon teas!

Don’t you see it? The apostolic cry was, “we will give ourselves to prayer, and the ministry of the Word,” but the work of the 21st century preacher is, ‘we will give ourselves to music, youth groups, and organising weekly home-study groups looking together at The Purpose Driven Life.

Where are the bishops giving themselves to prayer, and the ministry of the Word? Where are the deacons who are “full of faith and the Holy Ghost”? Deacons are now full of ideas, and a spirit of self-reliance!

Let’s get back to God’s way! The Church is to be lead and empowered by the Spirit. Its effectiveness is because it is Spirit-filled, not because it has marketing genius.

5. The Need for the Spirit of God in the Home

A man who is not a Christian at home, is not a Christian anywhere. Christianity begins at home, and there’s nowhere more lacking in true Spirit-filled living than in the home. Those families, which are still together, are largely hanging on by a thin thread of tolerance.

Men no longer plead to be filled with the love of God, so they may love their wives with a love akin to Christ’s love for the Church, caring for her, labouring for the needs of his family, and leading them all to a greater knowledge of God. Women no longer obey their husbands, in loving submission to the realisation that she needs his love and emotional strength.

When Paul comes to the subject of the home in Ephesians 5, he wisely gives the command to “be filled with the Spirit.” And that’s what is lacking, even in the best of families today. There’s no total dependance on the Spirit’s help.

Husbands, you need His help in every detail of your work and provision of your home.
Wives, you need His help in every responsibility you have at home.

Paul says to the Philippians, “in everything by prayer.” Is that your motto? Do you pray for the Spirit’s help and wisdom in making decisions and dealing with your colleagues? Do you pray for His help in preparing the food, and in every phone call, and in every purchase you make? This is what’s needed.

I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern developing in this article. We need the Holy Spirit’s help in every area of our lives. But, more than that, I believe we need to not merely know that, but consciously ask for help as often as possible. Making it a habit to ask for His help in everything that faces us, even the most menial of tasks.

Seek him! Plead for him! Ask God to make you utterly dependent upon Him!