This chapter is as important as any of the others… The final instruction concerning the
Holy Spirit is given in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
While drinking wine to the excess will ‘take away one’s mind’, and Paul prohibits this, he on the other hand, encourages, “If you are going to be filled with (controlled by) anything, be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.”
Drunkenness is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19). Too much wine (drunkenness) leads to ‘works of the flesh’. Yet as far as I can tell, one cannot get “too much” of
the Holy Spirit, which leads to more and more fruit of the Spirit.
Paul says, “Don’t “quench” the Spirit’s influence in your life (I Thessalonians 5:19). “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). If I am not to quench the Spirit or grieve the Spirit, what am I to do? “BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.” This is not a ‘suggestion’, and it is not really an ‘option’ for the Christian. This is not an ‘alternative lifestyle.’ This is a COMMAND.
The reason why this is an important chapter is, because we are NOT commanded to
receive the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:39). We are PROMISED that we will receive the gift of the Spirit. Everyone knows the difference between a COMMAND and a PROMISE right? Yet we are commanded to be FILLED with, controlled by, the Spirit. In other words, instead of “grieving” or “quenching” the Spirit in your life… LET HIM HAVE HIS WAY!!!
(1) This command is an emphatic imperative which should be literally translated, “BE BEING KEPT FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT”. It is ‘present’ and ‘on-going’. While we all receive the Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:39, 5:32), we are to continually allow the Spirit to control, and fill our lives.
(2) This command is for each and every Christian. It was not just for the apostles, elders, deacons. Paul was not converted along with the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Frankly we don’t know where he was. However, we are assuming he was there since it was a ‘big’ day for the Jews. The Gentile Christians of Ephesus were not there either. Yet this command is for all Christians.
(3) This command is in the present. “Continue to be filled with the Spirit.” You eat food for your physical bodies every day in order to live – so allow the indwelling Spirit to feed, nurture and nourish you every day. The Spirit will lead and feed your spiritual nature.
(4) This is a command to be obeyed. Yet in the obedience, it is important to understand the motive behind it all. TO GROW IN CHRIST!!! Guilt, coercion, manipulation are not there. JUST GROW IN CHRIST!!! God will be praised, and the Spirit will continue to make and form Christ in you.
Just like it is hard to hide when a person is stoned, falling down drunk… it is hard to hide when your life is under the control, filled by the Spirit.
Although this short lesson does not exhaust the grand subject of “be filled with the Spirit,” it should whet your spiritual appetite. Get to it… Begin the day with prayer, and maybe a walk. Continued the day with a verse and a song… and a smile! You belong to Him now!