In Ephesians 5: 18 Paul writes “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
As people grow older, they have a tendency to look back on life and wonder why things turned out the way they did. They sometimes have regrets. When people are young, they sometimes wonder how their life will turn out. Many young people look to their future with optimism. Much too often many people in middle age are busy concentrating on how they can make a living, trying to accumulate as much as they can in their highest earning years. Their lives tend to be focused on the here and now, not having the time for regrets from the past or dreams for the future.
And then we come to the Scripture in Ephesians 5 where Paul exhorts us to “be filled with the Spirit.”
What does that mean and how does it relate to the time of life we find ourselves in?
Being filled with the Spirit means we are experiencing what God wants us to have in life. He equips and empowers us to do more and have more than we could ever do and have on our own.
What do most of us do? We regret, we dream, we work ourselves to death and we settle.
You read those words correctly; we settle.
I once had an adult Sunday school teacher who taught a series of lessons on accepting the blessings of the Spirit.
I could not understand what he was talking about; sometimes I thought he was a little nutty.
And now I read from Billy Graham’s book* his retelling of the lesson from one of his Bible teachers: she told him “the lives of many reflect the practices and standards of this present world. True, they have been baptized with the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, and they are going to heaven. But they are missing so much of what God wants them to have in this life. Consciously or unconsciously, they are more interested in imitating the world system dominated by Satan than in imitating Christ….Their gifts are often unused, and spiritual fruit is absent from their lives.”
The characteristics of the person who “settles” are their obedience to the commandments grow weak, their devotional life is not regular or nonexistent, and they may be much more faithful in reading the newspaper than they are in reading the Word of God. Prayer is a cheerless duty, not a joy. Sin has lost some of its sinfulness which means sensitivity to sinning is lacking and known sins are not confessed.
Paul’s command to be “filled with the Spirit” is a challenge to all Christians at any age. Graham writes “We must conclude that since we are ordered to be filled with the Spirit, we are sinning if we are not filled…our failure to be filled with the Spirit constitutes one of the greatest sins against the Holy Spirit.”
That is a pretty stinging indictment.
To be Spirit-filled is to be controlled or dominated by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Challenging circumstances and hard times come to us all, but with the third person of the Godhead within us, we can be stronger and accomplish more than we would ever imagine…
If we just lean on God and His Helper.
It was said of Christians in Acts 17: 6 that “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Ask yourselves if this kind of power only happened in the first century. Were Christians of the first century the only ones who could turn the world upside down? Could it happen in other days?
In one of my devotional books, the writer spends many pages trying to instruct Christians on how to pray. She draws from Second Corinthians 3:3 where it says that the Spirit of the living God is written on human hearts, she draws from Romans 8:9 where it says do not listen to how human nature tells you to live but live as the Spirit tells you to do, and she draws on John 15:26 where it says the Helper will come, the Spirit who reveals the truth about God.
She says of all the prayers she has written about, the most powerful pray is a simple four word prayer “Help me, Holy Spirit.”**
Here is what will happen.
John 7: 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”
This is tapping into Holy Spirit power…
*The Holy Spirit
** Sarah Young, from Jesus Always