walk in the word
Category: Spiritual Life
God does not want us to live the Christian life in our own strength. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not be drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit.” Four essential truths come from this little verse in God’s Word:
So what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Several years ago, I was playing basketball with some guys. I was holding the ball, trying to make a play while the defender swiped at it, trying to swat it away. In a split second, just as I swung the ball to the right, he swiped at its previous location and stuck his middle finger in my eye socket up to the second knuckle. Talk about pain! I felt like I was one huge eyeball. I fell on the ground. I was filled with pain.
I also know what it means to be filled with joy. The day I married Kathy, I remember seeing my beautiful bride sitting on the back of a convertible as it drove up to the wedding area, sun shining and faces glowing at the outdoor wedding. I can still see Kathy now, coming up the aisle to meet me. It maxed my joy meter—or so I thought until our kids were born. Even though my oldest is now sixteen years old, I can still remember the moment each of my three children came into the world, and I held them for the first time. If you have ever experienced that, you know what it means to be filled with joy.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is very similar to being filled with pain or joy. It means to be overcome by a power greater than yourself—to be controlled by it. That’s probably why the most common biblical illustration for the filling of the Holy Spirit is drunkenness (compare Luke 1:15 and Acts 2:4, 13-18).
When people get drunk, they don’t act like themselves anymore. They say things that amuse or amaze or anger others because they have no control over their tongues. If the police pull them over and tell them to walk a yellow line, they can’t do it because they have no control of their bodies. Ask them a simple question, and you will not get a clear answer because they have no control over their minds. Drunk people can also lose control of their emotions. They can become fearful and paranoid and angry and silly.
We should not be controlled by wine because it can be excessive. Instead, we should be controlled by the Spirit, because you can’t get enough of that; you can’t be too filled with the Spirit. We must yield control of our lives to the Holy Spirit in the way that a drunkard yields control of his life to alcohol.
This is where true life is: allowing the Spirit to control our every thought, action, and attitude. May you experience this “filling” of the Spirit even today as you live your life for Christ.
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