What’s controlling you? Most often, a Christian would say something like “Jesus,” “The Good Lord,” “My Heavenly Father” or “The Holy Spirit”… but what does this really mean? When we talk about being filled with the Spirit, all too often a negative response is triggered. If we are truly following our Lord and Savior, then we will produce actions that reflect Him. We must be filled with Christ. He must be living in us!
Ephesians 5:18 says “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” We see here it’s not an option, but he’s telling us to be filled with the Spirit! On our own, we cannot be like Jesus. He must be invited into our heart and life, and most importantly, He must have control. That happens when we are full of Him.
Paul is comparing this to a person being under the influence of alcohol. When we drink and become “drunk,” we have very little control of our mind, emotions, words, or actions. In this same way, we are to let the Spirit have control, because on our on, the flesh will often rise up and we respond to people and situations the way we want to, and not in a way pleasing to the Lord.
So how do we do this? How do we get filled with the Spirit? Well, Paul writes in the next three verses to speak with psalms, spiritual songs, give thanks always to the Father, and submit to one another in the fear of the Lord. We must empty ourselves of selfish thoughts and actions to make room for Him! Getting drunk with wine represents the old way of life and its selfish desires, but being filled with the Spirit will produce fruit consistent with godly living, and a biblically based walk. (The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self control; — Gal 5:22-23).
Being filled is not a once and done act, but rather an ongoing process. We are to continuously be filled, day by day. God’s Word must stay fresh on our minds, and our hearts need to be encouraged often due to everyday life and issues that must be dealt with. Just as we eat each day for energy and nourishment, we must also pray, and read the Bible for our spiritual health.
So let me ask… Are you filled with the Spirit? If not, you can be! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, just accept by faith that Jesus is God’s Son, and confess to Him, and he will come into your heart. Or, maybe you’re a believer that has become discouraged. Don’t feel ashamed, everyone struggles with these thoughts from time to time, the enemy makes sure of that, but instead, begin to say the name of Jesus. Remind yourself of the promises of God. Get into the Word and read it. Surround yourself with godly people, music, and pray often.
I pray, “Father, I believe in You. I believe Jesus Christ, Your Son, was crucified, buried, and rose from the grave. Forgive me Lord and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Fill me with Your Spirit and guide my steps, thoughts, actions, and words every day of my life. Holy Spirit, fill me. I want you. I need You.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.