Spiritual vs Spirit-filled

“I’m spiritual.”

You may have heard someone say that phrase, or you might have used it at one time or another. This week we’re going to discuss if there is a difference between being Spiritual and being Spirit-filled. (Spoiler alert: there is.)

Here endeth the lesson. Thanks for stopping by. Catch you on the next blog.

Just kidding (except about the part where there is a difference between the two terms). Let me preface this piece, as I do often, by stating I’m a resident expert on absolutely nothing. Once again, what inspires and informs my writing is my faith and my experience, and biblical truth. Whew, glad we got that out of the way. Now, let’s get into it.

This week’s topic was inspired by a recent sermon I heard. The speaker didn’t labor the point. He simply stated being spiritual and spirit-filled are not the same because being spiritual allows you to be open and vulnerable to all kinds of spirits. Being spirit-filled (in the Christian world) means you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

I wrote a piece some time ago on how the Holy Spirit is our superpower. And it really is. For clarity’s sake, let’s begin by providing the biblical definition of the Holy Spirit. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

If the Holy Spirit can be grieved, meaning hurt or pained, this means the Holy Spirit is not an it. The Spirit is alive and is not a thing. It is a person (not in our traditional sense, but nevertheless we cannot refer to it as an animal or a thing).

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

Have you ever been in a situation where you just didn’t have the words?

I am so grateful for His presence. When I am at a total loss, when anger, or suffering and sadness is trying to overtake me, and I can’t find the words, the Spirit is there. He is interceding and moving on my behalf.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me: (John 15:26, KJV)

In this verse Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death and resurrection. He is assuring them that though He will no longer be with them on earth, He’s sending another who will dwell on the inside of them and be their Comforter, Guide, and Teacher.

What does it mean to be spirit-filled?

I’m so glad you asked. In Acts chapter 2 of the Bible, it describes what is often referred to as the Feast of Pentecost. It is a moment when the disciples are gathered together, praying and worshipping when suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind sweeps through the room and tongues of fire appear over each person’s head. They begin to speak in different languages as the Spirit prompts them. This event signified the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’s disciples. People outside heard them and were amazed because the disciples were speaking fluently in languages they had never been taught. They were speaking the native languages of many in the crowd. This didn’t make any sense because how could the disciples do that?

The Holy Spirit, that’s how.

This is certainly a dramatic occurrence in biblical history, but it is a fraction, a minor demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. How do I know? Because the Lord blessed me with His Spirit over 25 years ago. In my case, there wasn’t a flame over my head or anything as exciting as that. It happened during worship in a Sunday service. I had been asking the Lord, and He answered. How did I know? Because I started speaking a foreign language. Which one? Couldn’t tell you. What I do know is that the more I let the words flow freely, the stronger I felt, the more connected I felt to God, and the more my worries and cares began to melt away.

And that was only the beginning.

Since then, I’ve witnessed the Holy Spirit move in and through my life. From discouraging me from making bad decisions (I didn’t know were bad in the moment), to encouraging me to speak to someone or share something God had on His heart for them. There is no greater moment than when the Holy Spirit prompts you to say something. After you overcome the initial fear and anxiety, it’s awesome to watch the person react (most of the time). What you say may not always be received as you’d hoped. But more often than not, it’s a beautiful exchange. Regardless, you walk away knowing you listened and obeyed. You did your small part.

You may not believe me, but there have been times where I knew something about someone when there was no earthly way I could have known it. The Holy Spirit showed me or told me something. I just knew it.

It was more than a feeling or a vibe. It was deeper than that. If you haven’t experienced it yet, it’s hard to describe. I apologize. The bottom line is your life completely changes for better once the Holy Spirit is on the scene.

Does the Holy Spirit fix everything?

Well, there is our pesky free will always at play. We can choose to ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit and do as we will. I certainly don’t recommend that, but I’m not so prideful as to act like I’m not guilty of choosing my plan over His. Gratefully, with time and experience, I’m learning and choosing His way more than mine. The Holy Spirit may lead you to uncomfortable places. You may have to endure sadness, frustration, loss. We’re not immune to the ups and downs of life. But He’s the only way to get through it and know peace in the midst of chaos, calm in a storm, joy in the morning after a night of weeping.

If you consider yourself spiritual, doesn’t that mean you’re open to the things of God?

Well, I would answer that with a yes and no. Yes, because you believe in a spiritual realm and have made yourself receptive to it. No, because there are other spirits in that realm who do not serve the Lord. In fact, many are working overtime to interfere with the plans of God for His children (you and me).

Let’s back up a little and start by agreeing there are two realms: natural and spiritual. As I wrote in an earlier piece, the two realms are not mutually exclusive. They intersect. We can be influenced in the natural by activities in the spiritual. When I asked the Lord to send His Holy Spirit, for example, I intersected the two realms. Now, I in the natural world have the Spirit (from the spiritual world, obviously) living inside of me.

The two worlds are not as far apart as we like to imagine. The Bible speaks of many angelic visitations and other breaches between realms. (You need to look those up for yourself. Blog 76 rules.)

The main difference between any spirit other than the Holy Spirit is that He is a gentleman. The Holy Spirit doesn’t invade and take over. He is waiting for your invitation. He respects your free will. Other spirits are, let’s just say, not so accommodating and gracious.

As you do certain rituals, poses, meditations, etc, ask yourself, “Who am I connecting with? Who am I giving access to?” Answers such as: “mother earth, the universe, my inner self,” and so forth can be problematic. I know, that’s a hot take. I’m Kat Controversy; it’s what I do.

Your willingness to be open to anything may lead you nowhere good.

Some may say, “Well, I’m thinking about God when I do (fill in the blank), so that makes it OK.” Again, I have to give you my yes and no answer. Is God some ethereal, intangible being? Or is He the Father of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth, Lord of all. Is He a part of the Holy Trinity, the Godhead of Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit, or just some old dude sitting on a cloud somewhere? If you meditate on scripture and the goodness of the Lord, then you’re in a good place. If you’re doing certain poses and rituals with origins in worship to other gods, then I have to strongly advise against it.

I know this might not be easy to hear. My goal isn’t to offend. But it is to educate. Being spiritual isn’t enough. In fact, it might work against you rather than for you. Because you may be innocently dabbling in the spirit realm, but those who dwell there do not play around. And there is only One who will not play with you. There is only One who will care, comfort, love, guide and protect you.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him for His Holy Spirit today. You won’t regret it. Promise you.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.

Look forward to hearing from you.



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