What is it to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 5:15-21 clearly teach us what it is to be filled with the Spirit:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This passage of a number of lengthy sentences explicitly tells us what it is to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit:
- Walking (living) and using time wisely,
- Understanding what the will of the Lord is,
- Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
- Singing and making melody to the Lord with our hearts,
- Always thanking God for everything in the name of Jesus, and
- Submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ.
These six things are what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to live a wise life in the will of the Lord. In other words, we will spend our time for God and obeying Him as revealed in His Word, the Bible. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is also to submit to our fellow Christians “out of reverence for Christ.” Among other things, this means lovingly “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Not only are we to address each other in song, though, but when we are filled with the Spirit, we also sing and make “melody to the Lord” with our hearts. To sum it all up, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will have a thankful, submissive attitude that will reveal itself by the way we spend our time and by how we interact with others.
Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Ask and it will be given to you.” For us to be filled with the Spirit in this way (being filled more than we are already indwelled), we must ask God to fill us in this way. We must ask God to give us diligence in Bible study, since we will not know God’s will unless we read His word. Furthermore, we must ask for the desire to meet with other believers and praise God with them. Not only is this direct fulfillment of being filled with the Holy Spirit, but hearing sermons also enables us to better understand what the will of the Lord is.
“Making the best use of the time” and to “understand what the will of the Lord is” are the two most ambiguous aspects of being Spirit-filled. Practically and specifically, “making the best use of the time” involves Bible study, private and corporate worship, and prayer. Indeed, we “understand what the will of the Lord is” by reading the Bible. Therefore, let us read our Bibles, and in that way, we are being Spirit-filled.
One question remains, though: What is the will of the Lord? Most broadly, God’s will is for us to glorify Him: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). How, though, do we glorify God? We glorify God by trusting Him and obeying Him. One of the most important ways we should obey God is in obeying the Great Commission. It is for this reason that my next series of posts (due to start later this week) will focus on the gospel and personal evangelism. I will focus on the gospel first—it is the subject and basis of evangelism—and then conclude with one or two posts on evangelism. By providing a series of posts on the gospel and sharing the gospel (and also by providing a permanent page for that resource), I hope to encourage all of us to more often and more effectively obey God in this area, to His honor and glory.