At the new birth, God gives His Holy Spirit to you. You are spiritually baptised into the Holy Spirit meaning that you have been added to the Church and that your ministry to the saints will now bear fruit (1 Cor 12:13). The gift of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a fairly objective reality for every Christian accomplished by God’s act of saving us.

But there is also a more personal filling with the Holy Spirit that has a more subjective element to it. The subjectivity of being filled with the Spirit is not a flaw on the Holy Spirit’s side, but a requirement of obedience on our side. Whereas the gift and baptism of the Holy Spirit is something God does on our behalf, the filling of the Holy Spirit is something that requires compliance from our side (Eph 5:18). Galatians 5:25 explains it as “you live by the Spirit”, but you must also “keep in step with the Spirit”. The Holy Spirit has made you spiritually alive, now you need to behave accordingly.

In fact, it is your behaviour that speaks volumes about your belief in, and compliance to, and obedience to, the Holy Spirit. If you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, your life will be characterised by:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

On the contrary, if your current attitudes, actions, relationships, and pursuits are more characterised by seeking pleasure, fighting, strife, anger, discontentment, and the like, then you are “against the Spirit” and “opposed” to the Holy Spirit of God (Gal 5:17).

But, if you walk by the Spirit, all these temptations to sinful behaviour will be overcome with the noble, righteous, peaceful, loving and joyful desires of the Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16 (ESV)