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RELIGION COLUMN: Are you filled with both?

By Jake McCall

The very day I turned 16, I took my driving test, got my driver’s license and took to the road. Sadly, I was a careless and irresponsible 16-year-old that was not at all ready to drive or take care of a car.

When I got my first vehicle, my dad taught me how to maintain it—or at least he attempted to. All I was concerned with was the fact that I felt like I finally had the freedom to go to the places I wanted.

After I had been driving my vehicle for a few months, and I thought I knew it pretty well, I had my first car problem. As I was heading down the road, my truck started skipping and then just stopped. That was before the convenience of cell phones as we know them today, and so I had to walk to a local business to use the phone to call my dad.

He came out to look at my truck, tried to crank it and immediately said “Son, you are out of gas! Does your gas gauge not work?” I said, “Actually it works and is on empty, but I was certain I had another three miles left to drive.”

Less than a week later, this orange light on the dashboard comes on. The best way I know to describe this light was that it looked just like a genie bottle, which certainly didn’t look anything like an oil can to me.

So I just figured it was some malfunction. And when I got home I told my dad about this light that came on. He immediately went and checked it, and said, “You are almost completely out of oil. Do you not remember me telling you to check your oil every time you fill up with gas?”

I apologized and he, fully questioning my intelligence and ability to make it in life, explained with frustration, “Jake you can have oil, but if you don’t have gasoline, your vehicle will not run. You can have gasoline, but if you don’t have oil, your vehicle will not run. Son, it is very important that you understand the importance of those two elements, because trying to drive your truck without both of these will ruin it, and you aren’t getting another one.”

There are also two elements that are necessary for the Christian, and we desperately need both in their fullness.

In Acts 8:26-38, Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch who was on his way to Jerusalem, and he introduces him to Jesus. The Ethiopian is saved and baptized right there in the desert.

Two key things led to this miracle: Verse 29 tells us that Philip heard from the Spirit, and verse 35 tells us that with Scripture, Philip told him the good news about Jesus. To see that Philip would have never approached nor talked with the Ethiopian eunuch without hearing from the Spirit is important for us to understand the need to be led by and filled with the Spirit of God. Through his dependence on the Lord and prayer life, Philip knew the voice of God.

It is also so important for us to see that once the Holy Spirit connected Philip and the Ethiopian, Philip’s knowledge of the Scriptures was key in leading this man to salvation. Philip, through his study of the Word, had the biblical insight to be able to introduce this man to Christ.

So often we can consider the word of God as more important than the Spirit of God, or we can consider the Spirit of God as more important than the Word. These skewed views will break us down spiritually.

Can you be filled with the Spirit and not be filled with the Word? Can you be filled with the Word and not be filled with the Spirit? This account in the book of Acts shows us that if you are not filled with both the Spirit and the Word, then you’re trying to run on empty.

—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church. His column appears each Thursday.