3 Ways to Prepare Your Cup
On the last day of the Festival of Shelters, Jesus made a revolutionary declaration. In John 7:37-39, He staked His claim of divinity once again and promised the future arrival of the Holy Spirit into the lives of His followers. It was one more reason for disciples to love Him and the world to despise Him.
Throughout the week-long religious festival, the priests would visit the Pool of Siloam each day to fill a golden vessel with water. They would parade it back through the streets of Jerusalem with the people celebrating God’s provision of water in during the Exodus wanderings. Then, the priests would pour the water out at the base of the altar. During this time, they would recite Psalms 113-118.
Jesus took this image and extended it beyond our wildest hopes and dreams. Not only did God provide physically for the ancient Hebrews in a miraculous way, He will be present for all of His future people in a mysterious way. Jesus would later tell His disciples that it is best for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit could arrive. Though we sometimes wish for Jesus to come sit at the kitchen table with us while we’re making a big decision or needing comfort, He knows that there is a better way. The presence of the Holy Spirit is not a temporary visitor to our table or just pops in when we need some insight. His constant, indwelling presence is steady and powerful.
The limited, physical presence of the Son of God purchased our salvation. The eternal presence of the Spirit of God applies the power to living out our salvation.
The Bible has multiple words and images for the Holy Spirit. Some of them are fire, breath, wind, and water. In John 7, Jesus used the image of a wellspring of water gushing from within us. These images convey a power in nature that is uncontrollable by man. We have no way to harness this power or make demands of it. All we can do is prepare ourselves to benefit from it. Think of just these ten (of many other things) the Holy Spirit accomplishes in our lives.
- Convicts – John 16:9
- Regenerates – John 3:5; Titus 3:5
- Indwells – Ephesians 5:17-18
- Seals – Ephesians 1:13-14
- Baptizes – Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13
- Teaches – John 14:26
- Empowers – Acts 1:8
- Comforts – John 14:26
- Leads – Galatians 5:16-18
- Equips – 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12
It is immeasurably more than we could ever imagine that the King of Glory would do for us. Yet, He lavishes His Spirit’s presence upon us so that we might know Him, understand His Word, and work in His mission. The issue then stands for us as to how we can experience this work of the Spirit. Since we cannot master the Spirit’s presence or make demands, what are we to do?
We must prepare ourselves. We are to be warmed by the heat of the fire of God. We are to receive the breath of life. We must set our sails to ride the winds of the Spirit. We must have our cup ready to be filled. To be filled by the Spirit is something both a mysterious experience and should be accompanied with an intentional life. Here are three suggestions to be intentional in experiencing the mysterious.
Ask with humility to be filled. Ephesians 5:17 includes a command to be passive. You must bow your heart before God. It is the intention to not fill your life with broken efforts and lesser gods of this world. Instead, humbly plead before our King that His Spirit would fill you.
Worship with acknowledgement of His Sovereignty. When you sing, pray, and study His Word in private and with the church, it is because God’s name should be famous. We must never worship because of a demand we are making. Rather, we are submitting to the commands and commissions of God. As we worship, we declare Him to be the Ruler of our lives and gladly accept His place over us.
Submit in discipleship to His equipping. The Spirit wants to ready you for the good works that are God’s will in your life. The Spirit’s filling comes rushing in like a mysterious breath and and overwhelming flood. But it also is His work that invades every crevice of our will. We need to grow as disciples within the company of the church to fully understand His work and will.
Ask. Worship. Submit.
It is the work of the Spirit of God that I desperately want for myself and for you.