Acts 2:1–4, 22–24, 36–39; 4:23–31; Ephesians 5:18
Imagine a glass of milk, white and liquid. Now imagine a copious amount of delicious, Hershey’s chocolate syrup being poured into the milk. Is it chocolate milk now? If you took a drink would it taste different than white milk? No and no. It’s only white milk with chocolate in the bottom. The chocolate needs to be stirred up in order to transform it into chocolate milk. If we put that chocolate milk in the fridge for a couple of days, it will again become milk with chocolate in it.
The glass of milk represents a life, and the chocolate is the Holy Spirit. The milk may receive the chocolate, but nothing changes until it is stirred up. Just like the difference between milk with chocolate in it and chocolate milk, there is a difference between a life with the Holy Spirit’s presence and a Spirit-filled life. In Acts 2, Peter gives the normative way the Holy Spirit is received: repent, believe, receive forgiveness, and be baptized. The rest of the first half of Acts seems to tell the story of exceptions to that norm. People did what Peter said, yet appeared to receive the Holy Spirit later, only after someone prayed with them. I believe these accounts actually describe people who received the Holy Spirit but needed stirring.
The account in Acts 4 says that the disciples who had been filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost were “filled” again (v. 31). I believe they experienced a fresh stirring of the Spirit as a result of their praying together. A proper translation of Ephesians 5:18 is “keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit again and again.” Or said another way, “keep having the Spirit stirred up in you again and again.” What stirs up the Spirit in our lives? Spiritual disciplines (or means of grace)—prayer, reading the Bible, corporate worship, and the Lord’s Supper. Clearly the Bible says having others pray for us is a strong stirring force. But there are others, perhaps more unique to individuals, like walking in nature, spiritual conversations with good friends, and mentoring or being mentored by others. We all have our spiritual spoons that better stir us up.
Two things to consider or remember about being stirred up. First, as you grow spiritually, it is common that the things that stir up the Spirit in you change. Don’t become so comfortable with certain practices that you miss the change and stunt your growth. Second, we are stirred up not for some spiritual, experiential high, but to serve God effectively as witnesses and ambassadors, just like the disciples in Acts 4 who, afterward, went out and preached boldly.
Share with your group how “chocolate” your life looks currently. Ask God to show you what might be helpful in stirring the Spirit up in you this next season of life. Ask your group members or trusted family members and friends if they see patterns in your life that result in “white milk” living.
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