In the first year that I had come to know Jesus, I sought out spiritual mentors and studied them closely. From both men and women of God, I received information, inspiration and impartation. While learning from God’s anointed servants, I came to notice similarities in their mindsets, character traits, and even demeanors. They shared certain attributes that I’ve come to call “Marks of the Spirit”.
I asked the Lord to mark me in the same way and have committed to faithfully seek the face of Jesus. The more I seek Him, the more I notice the work of His Spirit in my life.
And, dear reader, you too can bear these marks. And if you already do, they can become more clearly seen upon your life.
For God has commissioned a work of art. Jesus is the model, the Holy Spirit is the painter and your surrendered life is the blank canvas. With every stroke, the Holy Spirit causes the countenance of Christ to appear on you in greater and greater detail.
Samuel the prophet spoke to Saul concerning this kind of Spirit-empowered change:
“And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them. And you will be turned into another man.” - 1 Samuel 10:6
Consider that: “…turned into another man.’
No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, the Holy Spirit has the power to make you more like Christ. He brings transformation.
And you know His work isn’t static; His work is continual.
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…” - Ephesians 5:18
Be filled. In the verse above, the word filled is the Greek verb Plerousthe. It literally means to be continually filled. This is not to say that we can receive the Holy Spirit a second time.
To clarify, I present this simply analogy: You can charge your cell phone all the way up to 100%, but the moment that you unplug the phone, it begins to die again. However, if you plug your cell phone into a power source, it can be fully charged to 100% and kept there. Even using your phone would not drain its battery if it were plugged into a power source. The phone would be both fully charged and continually charged.
In the same way, we are to be continually filled with the Spirit, even after having received the infilling.
So the Holy Spirit can make you a different man or woman even now. You can be a different person today than you were yesterday. In fact, His work can even be from moment to moment! You can be a different person now than who you were even a second ago. Your change is constant when you abide in the presence of the Holy Spirit. For every second you spend in His presence, you become more like Jesus.
Consider His awesome power. He is the very same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead, empowered the early Church and now confirms the message of the gospel with power and demonstration. That very same power is at work in you now, in this very moment, whether you realize it or not.
And, as you live under that power, these are the marks you will come to bear.
“When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” - Acts 4:31
Before I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was an awkward, self-conscious person. Constantly second-guessing myself, I feared the criticism of people.
Then one day, I took a day trip to a college with a campus preacher. He was a very bold man who cared deeply about proclaiming the truth in love. He didn’t mind being mocked, criticized or hated. In fact, people would even physically harm him from time to time. But he just wanted to see people get saved, so he frequented college campuses.
I stood in awe, as I watched this man proclaim the gospel with divine wisdom. I’m telling you; the people who opposed him were confounded (much like the pharisees). I was just thinking to myself something like, “I don’t think I can do that”, when this campus preacher turned to me and said, “Okay. It’s your turn.”
With fear and trembling, I stood in front of a crowd of intimidating onlookers (about 60 people) and began to preach the gospel to them. And, as I preached, I felt the chains of fear break away from me. In the place of fear, I felt a boldness well up within my soul. Something took over!
I was mocked.
I was criticized.
I was challenged.
But I was perfectly fine. None of what I feared was as bad as I thought it would be. From that day forward, I allowed the boldness of the Holy Spirit to be my strength. It changed almost everything about me. The power of the fear of man was broken over my life, because of the boldness of the Spirit.
Believer, the boldness is already in you. This has nothing to do with personality types, for we all must adjust to look more like Jesus. Let boldness come forth through bold action.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
If boldness is the ability to act in faith, then confidence is the ability to avoid reacting in fear. Boldness is action; confidence is a state of being. Confidence is peace, inner-calm.
I recall a story of a preacher who was taking a nap on a flight. While he was taking his nap, a problem occurred with the engines and the passengers were told to prepare for an emergency landing. Everyone on board the plane began to panic. One of the panicked passengers nudged the sleeping preacher and announced to him, “Wake up! We’re going to need to make an emergency landing!” The preacher looked at the passenger, glanced around and casually said, “Jesus slept through the storm; I’m going to sleep through this.” Then he went back to sleep.
Everything turned out fine.
That’s one of the marks of the Spirit-filled; they are confident. In the face of deadlines, they are not hasty. In times of lack, they are not worried. In moments of chaos, they are not shaken. They remain collected, calm, intentional, methodical. There’s a relaxed and refreshing air about them.
This is not to say that they aren’t practical when need be. This just means that they are at peace no matter the situation.
They may be in a storm, but they do not allow the storm to be in them.
“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” - Acts 10:38
Confidence has to do with how you respond to situations, but authority has to do with how situations respond to you. Everywhere Jesus went, He changed the atmosphere. Sickness and demonic power was broken at the very nearness of Jesus.
The same is true of the Spirit-filled.
The authority to operate in God’s power is not reserved for the spiritually elite, if ever there was such a group. The authority of Heaven can rest on your shoulders. It can be yours. It is yours.
The Spirit-filled carry such an authority that they themselves become an atmosphere. When you enter a place, the spiritual atmosphere changes, because you have God’s authority by the Holy Spirit.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” - John 14:26
While gleaning from mighty men and women of God, I would often find myself astounded by their knowledge of God’s Word. But I was most impressed with how they would often see things in the scripture that I had missed. I would have to ask myself, “How could I have missed that?”
People can tell the difference between a message that is prepared with only intellect and a message that is prepared under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
When you study the Word of God with the help of the Spirit, you will make important connections, find deep truths and understand concepts more often. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just give information; He ignites inspiration and imparts revelation.
The Spirit-filled are rich with revelation.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” - Romans 8:14
Before I was born, my parents prayed that I would have a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. As a result of their prayers, I can remember being aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit as early as the age of 7. From then on, I have sensed Him in the air around me.
So it was only a matter of time before I would begin to “click” with believers who also walked in this kind of awareness of God. And, while spending time with those believers, I began to pick up what some might call “strange habits”.
Such habits were things like: stopping mid-sentence to respond to the Lord, leaving social occasions early to “tend to the Spirit’s call to prayer” and involving the Lord in almost every circumstance.
People who are sensitive to the Spirit will catch themselves when they say something un-productive and say, “Forgive me, Lord. I shouldn’t have said that!” They are constantly aware of God’s likes and dislikes. People who are sensitive to the Spirit don’t just hear God clearly; they respond quickly.
How many times have you felt a “hesitation” before doing something, only to realize in hindsight that the “hesitation” was actually the leading of the Spirit? Conversely, perhaps you’ve also missed opportunities to do something you should have done.
Sensitivity will cause you to pause and respond to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit. You can walk in an awareness of God 24/7. Spiritual sensitivity is a mark of the Spirit-filled believer.
“We have diverse gifts according to the grace that is given to us: if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; if service, in serving; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with generosity…” - Romans 12:6-8a
I’ve seen people give away so much that others considered them to be crazy. And the Holy Spirit has led me to give in ways that made me think I was crazy.
The Spirit-filled give so extravagantly, so selflessly that people ask, “Should you really be doing that?” They say, “That seems to be a bit much.”
Everyone wants to receive extravagantly, but very few are willing to give extravagantly. And I’m not just referring to specific amounts, for all giving is relative.
I’ve seen wealthy business people give hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the gospel. I’ve heard of Spirit-filled believers giving away cars and houses simply because, “The Holy Spirit spoke”.
I’ve also seen missionaries, who were barely making enough to buy food, give away almost all of their income to other missionaries. I’ve witnessed believers, who were believing for a financial breakthrough, give to others in need.
Spirit-filled believers pray for God’s provision, while at the same time becoming God’s provision for someone else.
The Spirit-filled allow themselves to be selflessly marked with generosity.
#7 Burden for the Lost
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” - Acts 1:8
The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s power is world evangelism.
Every truly Spirit-filled believer who I have ever met had, burning within, a passion for souls – they were weighted by a burden for the lost. The Holy Spirit is the most gifted evangelist on the earth today, and His love for the lost soul overflows to you.
Dear reader, I believe that we should carry joy, but I also know that we must come to a place of agony over the spiritually dead. Without a brokenness for the un-saved, the believer lacks. It is a love for souls that drives the gospel into closed countries and hardened hearts.
When you allow the Holy Spirit to shed this painful love abroad in your heart, you won’t need to be convinced to evangelize; evangelism will become somewhat of an obsession.
I’ve often wondered what “sharing in” Christ’s suffering completely entails. What comes with sharing in His pain? Perhaps, this heartache for the lost counts toward that.