Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
In today’s passage Paul gives the believer a choice in what they can choose to find ultimate pleasure in; getting drunk on wine or being filled with the Holy Spirit. The obvious choice is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and please God; not to get drunk and live reckless (debauchery).
What is most interesting about this passage is the meaning of, “be filled with the Spirit,” in the original Greek. The Fire Study Bible notes, “The Greek phrase translated ‘be filled’ (present tense, passive voice, imperative mood) does not refer to the filling of the Spirit as a one-time, once-for-all experience, but rather an ongoing way of life involving ‘repeatedly being filled.’ Christ’s followers must experience constant spiritual refreshing and renewal by continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.” In other words, this continuation seen in the Greek grammar is a command to keep drinking in the Spirit, as one would continue drinking wine to get drunk.
Paul’s comparison of drinking too much wine versus being filled with the Holy Spirit reminds us that though you can drink too much wine, get drunk and commit more sins; you can never be filled too much with God’s Spirit.
On one hand, you never get closer to God as a Christian than the day you were saved; once you have the Holy Spirit you have as much of God that you will ever have because you are united with Christ. There is no such thing as being partially in Christ, as Paul teaches elsewhere in Ephesians, you’re either in Him entirely, or entirely separated from Him (Ephesians 3:11-13). On the other hand, God’s Spirit is only active in your life to the degree that you desire for Him to be.
For example, as a Christian if you don’t desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit’s power to serve in your church, you will remain powerless in your laziness. Mark recorded at the end of his gospel that Jesus only worked miracles in the disciple’s lives as they were obedient to go and preach; “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:20). In other words, the Lord is only working with those who desire to work with Him and He is only filling those who want to be filled.
The Spirit-filled life is one that is continually being filled with the Holy Spirit for both internal and external purposes. Internally, the believer is filled for the purpose of living holy and receiving spiritual refreshment. Externally, the filling is for the purpose of giving God authentic worship, encouraging fellow believers, making disciples, doing all things unto God (work, school, etc.) and preaching the gospel with power. Therefore, I challenge you to make time everyday to be filled again and again with the Holy Spirit for God’s purposes in your life!
- Make time every day in prayer to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
- As you are being filled with the Holy Spirit let God cleanse you of any sin, inspire your heart to worship Him and lead you to be a powerful witness for His Kingdom.
- Take another drink of the Holy Spirit right now, cheers!