Scripture shows us four ways the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. First, as Jesus says, no one comes to know him unless they are born again of the Spirit. Therefore, God’s Spirit dwells in every Christian. Second, we are called to abide in the Spirit, to remain intimate with him in prayer. Third, we are to be continually filled with the Spirit, constantly drinking from his well of living water. None of this means the Spirit leaves us but, rather, that we have a part in our relationship with him.
Finally, there is an outpouring of the Spirit that fills us with power, something that is beyond our ability to generate. You may wonder, “If I’m born of the Spirit, and the Spirit abides in me, and I continually drink of the Spirit, why would I need the Spirit poured out on me?” Because it helps us understand our need for God. We could never do the works of his kingdom in our own passion or zeal. It must come from him.
Sometimes we get it backwards in the Church. We think God chooses the fiery person, the one who will get everyone else zealous for God. But the Lord isn’t looking for a fiery heart; he’s looking for a hungry heart — one he can fill with his very own mind, heart and Spirit. That means even the meekest among us qualifies.
Note the word Jesus uses to describe the outpouring of the Spirit: “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). This suggests an external move of the Spirit in our lives, something that comes from outside us. All other moves of the Spirit in us are internal — being born again, abiding, drinking our fill. But this is an action God does for us. We depend on him to bring it to us.