Be Filled with the Spirit

Ephesians 5:15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Be filled with the Spirit. Be filled by the Spirit.

I am not talking here of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which happens when we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, I am not talking about the sealing of the Holy Spirit in our lives; I am not talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.   

I am talking about daily allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us.


“Be filled” is a passive word; allow the Holy Spirit to fill you. Other than giving permission, there is no activity you need to do to enable this. You do not make the Holy Spirit alive in you; you give permission for the Spirit to fill you.

It is interesting that Paul uses a comparison here: Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Drunk with wine creates alcohol induced uncontrolled uninhibited behaviour and our courts are filled with remorseful people who allowed alcohol to colour their judgement, and deaden their sense of right and wrong.  In a real sense, the alcohol controls them. Whether you are an alcoholic, a heavy drinker, a binge drinker or a secret tippler, alcohol can control us, to our detriment.  

Being filled with the Spirit is also talking about control, but in this, we abandon control of our lives to the Holy Spirit and we allow our life to be in the hands of the Holy Spirit.  If you like, we are out of control – out of our control, but in the control of God through the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we give control to the Spirit, only to grab it back again.  The command is to be filled, not partially filled, not just a bit filled, not to be filled but with us in charge of the ladle but to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit.
We are to be so full that there is no room for us to have any control of our selves.  All to Jesus I surrender. We sing it. Do we mean it?

In the words of Dr Campbell Morgan: “we are to abandon ourselves to the purification of the Spirit; and we are to abandon our whole being to Jesus Christ so that he may offer it to God.” 

“Wherever wholehearted, absolute, unquestioning, positive, final abandonment of the life to God obtains the life becomes filled with the Spirit”, says Campbell  
 
We are not talking about wishy washy Christians here; we are not talking about Sunday Christians. We are talking of about sold out for Jesus Christians, about whole of life Christians.

“The indwelling Spirit of God is the One who should continually control and dominate the life of the believer.” 

In our passage, Paul contrasts two forms of joy. The joy of the world, he says, has a lack of control; a wildness about it, that you regret afterwards;  
This is contrasted with the joy of abundant life through this giving of control of our lives to the Spirit.

In the paradoxical economy of the Kingdom of God, we lose our life to gain it; we lose control of our lives in order to gain freedom.  We gain freedom when we become slaves of God.  In the world’s thinking that does not make sense, but in God’s economy it makes perfect sense.

This letting go of control to the Holy Spirit will cause us to act in ways which are unnatural to us. It will take us out of our comfort zone. He will not make us act in an erratic or abnormal manner (like alcohol does), but will cause us to act differently to our ways of the old life. Control by the Spirit is a necessary part of spirituality. 

We cannot be in the service of God without the filling of the Spirit.

Romans 6:13
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 

We cannot follow God without allowing Him to take control of our lives.

Romans 12:1
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

As a result of that relinquished control, we become more Christ-like. We trust and obey, love and rejoice. We become hearers-doers of the Word. 

The more we are filled with the Spirit of Christ, the more we will resemble Christ in the whole of our character and deportment. 

Rather than controlling ourselves, we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. 


You can think of it this way:
the Holy Spirit is the “Agent” of the filling
(Galatians 5:16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.) 

and Christ is the Content of the filling 
(Col. 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 

As we become more yielded to the Lord and controlled by Him, we increasingly manifest the fruit of the Spirit 

Galatians 5:22–23 
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 

There can be no manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit unless we are under the constant control of the Spirit. Nor is it possible to work for God except in the energy of the Spirit. 


This command to be filled is not a once-forever command. It is a daily command: be filled with the Spirit, be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. In Old English, “the filling of the Spirit is about abiding in Christ” 

Every Christian has all the Spirit through the indwelling of the Spirit when we accept Christ as our saviour, but the command here turns that upside down: it says that the Spirit is to have all of us. The Christian walk is one that is characterized by the Holy Spirit’s control. 

Thomas Aquinas way back in the Dark Ages made this point: “… a Christian is said to be full of the Holy Spirit when he avails himself of the Spirit in all he does.” In this way being filled with the Spirit involves bringing the gift of the Spirit to bear on all aspects of one’s life.  

Being filled with the Spirit is not just a Sunday thing. It is an everyday thing. It is part of our daily armour of God. (Ephesians 6:11-18)


11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. … 17 Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests

Be filled with the Spirit. Be filled by the Spirit, So that we can become more Christ like in our demeanour and our behaviour.

If you have never asked the Holy Spirit to fill you, ask today.  Ask him to overflow in your life.  Give him to control of your life.  “Not my will, but yours”.  And be transformed.