This book was originally called The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life. But the author did not like the title the first time he heard it. After all, life isn’t always joyful or easy—even for those who are filled with the Spirit.
The apostle Paul is proof of that. But the Spirit-filled life is both wonderful and worthwhile—especially when compared to the alternative.
Charles Stanley say: I know all about the alternative—of trying to live for God in my own strength. I spent the early years of my Christian life struggling terribly. Call it carnal; call it fleshly; call it whatever you wish, but my life was anything but wonderful.
In fact, these struggles are what motivated me to write a book about the Spirit-filled life. I’ve known the pain and frustration of trying to live the Christian life by my own devices. Perhaps you have as well.
Maybe you’ve tried to please God but have found only discouragement, failure, or burnout. Friend, I understand how you feel. But I want you to know that I’ve also experienced the absolute joy and satisfaction of relying on the unlimited power, wisdom, and love of the Holy Spirit. And the good news is you can too.
Charles Stanley in preparing to write this book was read everything could get hands on that had to do with the Holy Spirit. You will find several of these sources noted throughout the pages of this volume. Books on the Holy Spirit generally fall into two categories.
They are either highly experiential, with great application but little illumination on the biblical text; or they are purely doctrinal, with little to carry you through on Monday morning when the storms of life arise. This is not a criticism. These writers have accomplished exactly what they set out to do.
Praise God for the motivation and insight we gain through the testimony of others. Where would we be without the men and women who labor diligently to discover how all the parts fit together?
The Spirit-Filled Life is other, a personal, attempt to join experience with doctrine. This idea is nothing new. Luke did it when he wrote Acts. There we find the experience of the early church supported by apostolic sermons, quotes from the Savior, and references to the Old Testament. It is a lesson in theology presented in the form of a narrative.
You will notice that some of Charles Stanley conclusions are slightly out of the mainstream of evangelical thought. I have done my best to support these conclusions textually without turning this book into a commentary.
PART ONE: LOOKING UP
1. A Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life
2. My First Encounter
3. The Indwelling Spirit
5. My Life as a Branch
PART TWO: LOOKING WITHIN
6. The Faith Factor
7. Keeping in Step
8. What Does It Look Like?
9. The Power of the Produce
10. The Giver of Gifts
11. Doing God’s Work God’s Way
12. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
PART THREE: LOOKING AHEAD
13. The Holy Spirit: Our Guide
14. Preparing to Hear: The Principle of Neutrality
15. Marker 1: Peace
16. Marker 2: The Conscience
17. Marker 3: The Word of God
18. Marker 4: Wisdom
Appendix A: Spiritual Gifts
Appendix B: The Sign Gifts in Focus
Appendix C: For Further Study