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The Spirit in the Christian
A Christ-filled believer is a Spirit-filled believer! Learn not only what it meant for Christ to be filled with the Spirit of God but also for the believer from this study on Isaiah 11:2, part of the Isaiah Living Commentary.
In Isaiah 11:2 we find the key to understanding the life of Christ. When we look at His life as revealed in the Gospels, we recognize that God used Him in an amazing way ministering to the people. Just think how many of us could step into the same situations as Christ did and leave any real long-lasting worthy impact. We need to be more like Christ.
“And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2).
Now some of us might wonder if this verse speaks about Christ Jesus, why are we implying it has to do with us? There are numerous ways to answer this important question. For if we think it only has to do with the way Christ lived, then we will not seriously apply it to our lives. Here are two reasons Isaiah 11:2 applies to our lives.
1) We first see that the anointing that Christ received in sight of many at His baptism is the same anointing by the Holy Spirit that Christians receive. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit mentioned above in Isaiah 11:2.
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know” (1 John 2:20).
2) Second, the disciples filling of the Holy Spirit in early Acts was meant to mark them to be of Christ. This was not limited to the twelve apostles but was upon all of the disciples. This Spirit walk was from then on a characteristic of God’s people.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
Instead of wondering whether we are to be Spirit led, let us think what it means for us to be Spirit filled. Let us first make some general statements and then discuss these seven marks in a little detail.
As the air invades each part of a person, so the Spirit of God touches each part of our lives. Air and spirit are the same words in both Hebrew and Greek. If we merely walk with physical air, our beings can function though impaired. We need the Spirit of God to move and animate our spiritual beings. Those without the Spirit of God are spiritually dead. That spiritual aspect of their lives is not functioning.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1,2, NASB).
When a person becomes a Christian, the Spirit of God rushes in and makes the spiritual nature alive and functioning. The physical and spiritual functions were designed to jointly work but because we have been so used to using our physical features, we place all our confidence in them.
The body is good for opening a can of sauce or bringing the can to one’s lips, but the spiritual nature dominated by the Spirit of God is needed to accomplish spiritual activities. These spiritual matters are clearly mentioned in Isaiah 11:3-5. Here in Isaiah 11:2, however, we see the way the Spirit of God works in a person.
One can debate whether a capital ‘S’ (Spirit) or a small ‘s’ (spirit) should be used. It is rather immaterial. I think it is clearer for English speakers to use ‘Spirit.’ The word is used four times and it is the same each time. The Hebrew does not have capital and small letters.
Even if one wants to capitalize the first usage of ‘Spirit’ and make the others ‘spirit,’ we will still affirm that it is the same Spirit that does these things. This is undeniable, and it is confirmed in the way the Holy Spirit imparts gifts to His people (cf. 1 Corinthians 12).
Our far bigger problem is to train ourselves to be attentive to and follow the Spirit of God. Most of us live in a very secular state. We are often insensitive to the Spirit’s working. If we prayed and sought our Father’s will like Jesus, we would better learn how to walk in the Spirit.
As we go through this list, we will note that wisdom, understanding, etc. are things we can have to some degree without the Spirit of God. In Isaiah 11 we are being introduced to another kind of wisdom, understanding and counsel. There is a physical strength but because of the Holy Spirit there is a spiritual strength. There is a counsel from man but also a counsel from the Spirit of God. The following chart helps outline the difference of the Holy Spirit’s work in each of the seven areas mentioned.
At first we will see what it is for the Spirit of God to be at work in a person, functioning in this world but also living within God’s dimension. He is able to function equally in both worlds at the same time. The person on the right is the non-Christian or resistant Christian who functions without the Spirit of God in his life. What we see in the Book of Acts is the way the church should be operating when His people are dependent on the Spirit of God.
Are you conscious of God’s supernatural strength, wisdom and understanding for circumstances that go beyond our regular comprehension and abilities? God has equipped us, but we need to put away our sins and sincerely seek Him for help in learning how to walk in the Spirit. This dependence is increased as we live by the spiritual disciplines of praying, fasting and meditating on God’s Holy Word.
The presence of God occupies a person and influences His thoughts, decisions and relationship with others.
The absence of God (spiritually dead) leaves only the body and a darkened mind (flesh) to dictate all decisions.
Special ability from God to connect the consequences of what has been done with what is being or will be done.
The accumulation of discernment built up over the years of experience and knowledge.
Special discernment from God enabling a person to grasp the proper perspective of a certain situation.
Grasping an acceptable perspective of a situation by one’s accumulated knowledge of a circumstance.
Special words of wisdom from the Spirit of God enabling one to bring special words of comfort, healing and warning.
Words and advice stemming from what one has learned and experienced in the world.
Special divine strength given to those in need to empower them to do God’s will when their physical bodies would otherwise give up.
The ability to do what my body and stress levels tolerates.
Special insight brought to one’s attention that is needed to handle a certain situation properly.
Guessing what is needed from one’s learning and experience.
The special awe of God providing guidance and caution in times of temptation leading a person always to trust in the Lord.
The fear of man influences their decisions rather than what God says or is doing.
If we are going to live as light in the world, we must rid ourselves of secularism and walk Spirit-filled lives.
Spirit Dependent Living
As we depend upon the Spirit of God, He effectively leads us closer to Him and makes our lives more fruitful.
Besides study questions for each section, this study also has special weekly and daily projects to train yourself how to walk by the Spirit (pdf: 38 pages).
Order Download: Spirit Dependent Living Isaiah 11:1-5
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988