Be Filled with the Spirit
IN EPHESIANS 5:18, Paul commands us not to be drunk with wine. Rather, he tells us to be filled with the Spirit.
In this verse, Paul is making a comparison between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Holy Spirit. That may seem like an odd statement. What possible comparison is there with drunkenness and the filling of the Holy Spirit? In each case, a person doesn’t do what comes natural to them.
For example, when a person is drunk, their inhibitions are diminished and they act in a way they wouldn’t normally act if they were sober. So it is when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. When you come under the control of the Holy Spirit, you are led to act in a way that doesn’t come natural to you.
It is natural for me to think of myself first. It is natural for me to hold a grudge and be reluctant to forgive. It is natural for me to say things in a way that makes me look good or allows me to gain an advantage over others, or to grumble when I am not overly happy, or to be ungrateful about my circumstances. Don’t you find these kinds of things to be rather natural for all of us?
So Paul says that when we are “filled with the Holy Spirit” it impacts what comes out of our mouths and it shows up in how we treat others. He says in Ephesians 5:19-21 that the result of being filled with the Spirit is that we are found, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The words we speak …the joy and the gratitude of our hearts …and putting others before ourselves are all signs that we are “filled with the Spirit.”
How do we obey this command? How can we be filled with the Spirit? I suggest two things.
First, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Compare Colossians 3:16-22 with Ephesians 5:18-6:4. It is the same outline with different headings. Where we are told to be “filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians, we are told to let God’s Word dwell in us richly. Spend time reading, memorizing and studying the Word of God. It is a key component to being “filled with the Spirit.”
Second, daily ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. At the end of his instruction on prayer in Luke 11:1-13, Jesus says “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” This instruction is in the context of daily and persistent prayer. Therefore, daily I need to ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit so that I would do what does not come natural to me.
Each day I want to speak words that encourage. Each day I want to know joy and gratitude in my heart. Each day I want to put the needs of others before myself. Therefore, each day I need the filling of the Holy Spirit.
“Lord, fill me with your Spirit so that the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart and my conduct towards others would be pleasing to you. Amen.”
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