“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
The Apostle Paul says here; “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, “But be filled with the Spirit.” And that’s the contrast. In other words, we are not like the pagans who think that they reach another level of life or they get a greater strength, or a greater power, or a greater whatever, by drunkenness, we gain all of our greatness through the power of the filling of the Spirit of God. So, that’s the contrast. We aren’t like them. Our controlling influence, our resource, our power, our resource to lift us to the consciousness of the presence of God is the filling of the Spirit, not drunkenness in wine. Following the contrast, we saw the command, didn’t we? “Be filled with the Spirit.”
The imagery presented in this verse is for you to be filled with the Spirit until completely ‘intoxicated’. The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of someone drunk with wine as an illustration. The man who is drunk is under the control of the wine. His thoughts, actions, words and movement are influenced by the wine. The wine has taken over his ‘senses’. This picture is clear. He is no longer himself, he is under the influence. In similar fashion, the Apostle Paul is communicating the thought that we should be so filled with Spirit until our thoughts, words and actions are influenced and controlled by that infilling.
How important this is! The accurate rendering of that instruction “be filled with the spirit” is to “be being filled” which means it is not a one-time filling but a continuous experiencing, always topping up your infilling! Being kept continuously filled with the Spirit.” It’s a way of life. It is not just one zap you get. It’s a moment by moment by moment yielding of total control to the Spirit. In fact, it may be best illustrated by the metaphor of walking. It is walking, and walking is one step at a time. It is an even kind of pace as we get filled with the Spirit one step at a time and continue in topping up the filling.
There is a whole word of difference between Receiving the Holy Spirit and Being filled with the Holy Spirit? These are 2 distinct experiences. The first, receiving the Holy Spirit is a one time event. When you receive the Holy Spirit into your life, He abides with you forever (Jn 14:16-17). But after you have received Him into your life, you are now encouraged to be filled with His presence and influence, again and again. For example in Acts 2:4 the disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they kept at it and they were again filled with the Spirit in Acts 4:31. This is not a one-time event but can, and should occur frequently until it is continuous.
Accept that it is your responsibility to be filled with the Spirit. As a believer, you don’t wait for someone to help you get filled, it is your responsibility and privilege. Be constantly filled with the Spirit!
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