Commentary: What does it mean to be 'monopolized by the Holy Spirit?'


 When the renowned evangelist D.L. Moody was asked to have a campaign in England, a skeptical pastor protested, “Why do we need this ‘Mr. Moody’? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A discerning minister stood up and responded, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody.”

Typically, one might view being monopolized by something negatively, be it sports, pleasure, career, and the like. Yet, who could argue the benefit of being monopolized by the Holy Spirit? Biblically speaking, monopolized by the Spirit means being filled with the Spirit, which calls for a few words of clarification. 

Baptism of the Spirit is a one-time, positional experience synonymous with salvation. When we get saved, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us: ”Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27, NASB). The filling of the spirit, conditional in nature, is an experience that needs to take place repeatedly throughout the life of the believer. This brings to mind two questions: “Why be filled with the Spirit?” and “How does one get filled with the Spirit?” Note the following responses to question one:

God’s Word commands it. As Paul writes, “Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NASB). While some preachers zero in on the first half of that verse, for our purposes here, I’m focusing on the second. He’s writing to believers, which means they have already been baptized in the Spirit. To live effectively and abundantly for Christ, however, we must be filled as well. 

 We serve a jealous God, One who wants, not only to be resident in our lives but president as well. Paul also penned, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Walking in the Spirit means being filled with the Spirit. Also observe: 

Kingdom life demands it. When asked why he continually spoke about Christians being filled with the Spirit, Moody responded, “because I leak.” Every now and then a light pops up on my dashboard telling me my tires have lost air pressure, especially in cold weather. Just like my tires are prone to lose air, given the trials and tribulations of everyday life, we’re apt to experience “spiritual leakage” as well. 

As the old saying goes, “It’s a jungle out there,” not only in the business world, but also in our faith journeys. As the Bible says, our adversary, “the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB). Take heart, however, knowing that “greater is He who is in you (the Spirit of Christ), than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). 

In her book, The New Lottie Moon Story, author Catherine B. Allen records a request in a letter the legendary missionary wrote during a particularly challenging time in her ministry. “I feel my weakness and inability to accomplish anything without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Make special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit . . . that I may be clothed with power from on high by the indwelling of the Spirit in my heart.” Miss Moon, one of the most revered missionaries in history, spent nearly 40 years serving in China.

 Why be filled with the Spirit? Because we can accomplish so much more with the power of God in us than we ever could on our own. Stay tuned for next time, when we’ll explore the question, “How to be filled with the Spirit?”


Todd Gaddis is a semi-retired minister living in Athens. He continues to serve as an interim pastor and can be reached at