Book Review: How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit

I know what I am supposed to do.

I’ve read through my Bible numerous times. I know the commands. Love your neighbor. Be kind. Work hard. And on and on.

And yet, sometimes when I do these things, I don’t really do them from the heart. I’m kind, but inside, I’m angry. I’m working hard, but with a sorry attitude. I feel hypocritical because I know that deep inside, my heart is not like Christ’s.

Of course, there are going to be days when we just do what we need to without “feeling the love.” But when it’s an everyday thing, when it’s a constant push to do right, something is wrong in my Christian life.

I recently read a book that addresses this struggle in my life. It’s called How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer.

In this book, Tozer talks about the missing piece in the lives of so many Christians. Of course, we receive salvation as a gift when we accept Christ. But being filled with the Spirit is a process that too many Christians are ignorant about. Often, we feel that being filled with the Spirit is a mystical, eerie experience that only “deluxe” models of Christians get. The rest of us, the average Christians, don’t need it, or can’t do it.

And yet, being filled with the Holy Spirit actually empowers Christians to do the kinds of things that we’re called to do. And we will actually “feel” the love. The path out of hypocrisy for a Christian is to be filled with the Spirit.

Tozer breaks down this process in a simple manner. This isn’t a deep theological discussion; in fact, this small booklet is just a transcript of a series of sermons that Tozer preached to his congregation, so it’s very readable and understandable.

First, Tozer tells exactly who the Spirit is and why we need Him. Then, Tozer breaks down what Christians should do in order to be filled with the Spirit. Tozer’s advice isn’t a five step, easy peasy, rah-rah, list of instructions that will make you a better person in three days. The things he shares are straight from Scripture, and they are things that you will have to do with a sincere heart.  He says we must :

  • Desire Him–Until we ache for the presence of the Spirit in our lives, we will not be filled. If you feel like you are doing “pretty good” on your own, you are not ready to be filled. Desiring God means that you humbly seeking Him because you know you can’t do it alone.
  • Present Your Body–In Romans 12:1-2 we are told to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. We must be willing to do A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. that God calls us to do. Yeah, this includes loving not only our enemies, but also that relative that drives you crazy. That kid in your Sunday School who always has a smart-alecky comeback. That neighbor whose dog runs wild in the neighborhood and poops in your flowers. (I’ve found that the concept of loving my enemies is easier to take than loving the people who get on my nerves.)
  • Ask–Asking the Lord with a sincere heart to fill your soul with His Presence is one prayer that He will always answer.
  • Obey–We know what we need to do. Now we need to do it. The Spirit won’t inhabit a heart that is hard and defiant toward Him.
  • Have Faith–Believe that God follows through on his promises. He will answer your prayer to be filled with the Spirit.

I really did like this book. It’s an easy read but the content is not simple. Tozer really cleared up some misunderstandings that I had about the Holy Spirit’s work in this world. I did receive this book for free in exchange for my honest review, but I do believe that I will be buying additional copies for gifts.

In closing, I want to share one of the quotes that I found quite insightful from Tozer’s book.

“Is this for ministers? Is it for housewives? Yes–housewives and clerks and milkmen and students. If you will thus see it and thus believe it and thus surrender to it, there won’t be a secular store in the pavement. There won’t be a common, profane deed that you will ever do. The most menial task can become a priestly ministration when the Holy Ghost takes over and Christ becomes your all in all.”






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