In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden…
Luke 1:5-24 ESV
God the Holy Spirit indwells every person who believes in Christ from the moment he or she believes onward, though being filled is contingent on our ongoing acts of obedience, as we see in Ephesians 5:18. The Spirit now continually dwells within us as our Helper and Guide, Comforter and Keeper. Though we can never lose Him, we can ignore Him. Our sin and disobedience quenches the work and power of God within us. However, when we pray, read God’s Word, sing in worship, confess our sins, and follow God’s leading in obedience, we invite the Spirit to fill every part of us. It is through this same filling that we can be as bold and brave as John and live a life dedicated to proclaiming Jesus.
We should confess to God whatever grieving or stifling of the Spirit we might be doing (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19). Consider reaching out to a trusted friend and ask him or her to pray for you in this area of your life.
In what parts of your life are you allowing the Holy Spirit to fill and influence you? In what ways are you stifling His work in certain areas of your life?
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