“Be filled with the Spirit.” When I read or hear that phrase, I envision a cup being filled with water. And while this is a good word picture, it falls short in one critical area. Cups are stationary, even when filled.

The book of Acts shows that, when believers are filled with the Spirit, they’re anything but stationary. They speak God’s Word boldly. They endure persecution. They care for and do good to others. Being filled with the Spirit goes beyond brimming with joy, peace, self-control, and the like. He produces action.

Perhaps a more complete image is that of a sail. As a sail is unfurled, the wind fills it, giving it direction and empowerment. The same is true with the Holy Spirit. As we are filled, the Spirit steers us into God’s mission and the good works he prepares for us. The Spirit empowers us to live them out.

But, as Hebrews 12:1 indicates, sin and other hindrances threaten to entangle us. These are like knots tied in the sail. The more knots, the less prepared the sail is to receive the wind’s direction and empowerment. The most common knots in my sail are self-interest. I get sidetracked by distractions or trivial concerns. I fear failure and also what others may think of me.

Other potential knots can be habitual sin, addictions, or the love of money. As we identify what our particular hindrances are, we can “untie the knot” by confessing them, fixing our eyes on Jesus, and allowing the wind of the Spirit to propel us into the course he’s set for us.

Lord, I confess that I often become entangled by sin and other hindrances to walking in your ways and in your power. Open my eyes to see hindrances I might be blind to, and show me what it looks like to throw them off, that I might be more fully directed and empowered by your Spirit. Thank you for filling me with the means to accomplish your purposes in the world. Amen.

Go Deeper — Take a tissue and “knot it” with a few twists of a rubber band or string. Blow on it. Now, untie it and hold it up. Blow on it again and watch it billow. Let it remind you of the Holy Spirit.

Seize the Opportunity — One amazing way of participating in God's mission in the world is to devote time to being an online mentor. Why not pray about joining our team of mentors today?

Tags: Holy Spirit Hebrews 12
Photo Credit: Joshua Earle