There’s a topic I plan to delve into with greater diligence sometime—The Spirit-filled life. There are a number of terrific verses in the bible giving practical examples of individuals enjoying what is generally known as, being “Filled with the Spirit.” In fact, it is so important an experience that the Apostle Paul gives it reference.
Ephesians 5:18 NIV – 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Looking at this verse is very insightful as to what being filled with the Spirit means. Sitting juxtaposition to being filled with the Spirit is the contrary experience of being intoxicated. Someone who is inebriated by alcohol is temporarily with diminished physical and mental control. The wine is essentially altering the normal control the individual has.
Being filled with the Spirit is also an issue of control. In this case the believer makes a choice to surrender all he/she is to the control of the Holy Spirit. Not all people are excited about losing control from being drunk. So also, not all people are welcome to the idea of surrendering control to the Holy Spirit. Yet, the only way to be filled with the Spirit is to surrender control of your life to Him.
This is not some fanatical far-out emotional experience I’m talking about here. It’s not referring to some mystical use of bible verses as a good luck charm and divining rod. My uncle once told me while he was camping in the woods close to some rather charismatic brethren, someone encountered an abnormal experience and one yelled out he could see Jesus in the trees! That’s just delusional! Surrendering control is not surrendering sanity! That’s being filled with a spirit, just not the Holy Spirit. My uncle moved his camp elsewhere.
Being filled with the Spirit is both sensible and rational. Really, when you get down to it, filled with the Spirit is living in surrender to God’s Will—it’s that simple. Everyday I surrender all I am and have to be used for His glory. Surrender is very different from “brokenness.” Don’t confuse the two. Hopefully “brokenness” is not experienced in large quantities. The human soul can only take so much of being broken. Surrender, however, is something we want to do everyday. It’s the prerequisite for being filled with the Spirit.
The final practice of being filled with the Sprit is obedience. To remain filled with the Spirit takes obedience to what the Spirit is saying. God gives His Word to instruct is as to specifics in our moral choices. That’s the Spirit of God speaking to us. Will we be obedient? If so we continue filled with the Sprit. What’s the great thing obedience produces? It produces the fruit of the Spirit. Read Galatians 5 and discover what the Spirit-filled life does for you. The Spirit-filled Life is available for all who will surrender and obey!
J. Robert Hanson