In a recent interview with Joanie, we talked about being filled with the Spirit. I'll admit, my first inclination at the thought of being filled is that of filling a bucket. When a bucket is filled to overflowing, it becomes heavy and burdensome - immobilized. There's no purpose to overfill a bucket, it's wasteful. Yet scripture speaks to being filled to overflowing.
I’m no sailor, and my filled bucket scenario translates to a sinking ship. But the disciples were sailors, and Jesus wouldn’t have suggested sinking the ship.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Later in Acts, the Spirit is described as “a mighty rushing wind”. Ephesians 5:18 literally translates to “keep being filled” by the Spirit.
As fishermen and sailors, being filled has another connotation— wind.
Joanie and I have had the pleasure of sailing with the Rolands on Storm Lake, a lake about the size of Galilee. James skillfully manoeuvred the sails to collect wind. The sails are then filled with the wind. Filled to overflowing. In fact, overflowing is a purposeful requirement for sails. Unlike the bucket scenario, they keep being filled— to overflowing, by wind. This constant over-filling, grows the sails and moves the vessel. There is power in harnessing this wind.
Likewise, the filling of the Holy Spirit, like a mighty rushing wind, grows us and moves us in a purposeful direction.
Think of this as you pray for the filling of the Spirit. Remember, we are being filled like sails to grow and move, not like buckets to stay weighted and stagnant.
Acts 2:1-4 ESV
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.