“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:18-20 NLT
What was in Paul’s mind when he compared an alcohol-induced drunkenness with an infilling of the Holy Spirit? Was he implying that the same “high” could be achieved with the Holy Spirit? Whatever his thoughts, the comparison is striking – the destructive effects of alcohol as against the constructive effects of living a life filled with the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”. Apparently the original meaning was that we must be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Just as the effects of alcohol will disappear from our bodies, so too will the impact of the Holy Spirit, as we use His power within our daily lives. But there the analogy must end because there is no real comparison.
The Bible is rich with verses extolling the benefits of a life filled with the Holy Spirit. For example, Galatians 5:22-23 reads, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…“. We need the Holy Spirit to help us in our pilgrimage through life – don’t we just! As we encounter daily interactions with those around us, being filled with the Spirit can make the difference between worldly and Godly responses. As we constantly give of our emotional and spiritual resources to those around us, we need to constantly call upon the Holy Spirit to replenish us with His power.
Jesus taught His disciples much about the Holy Spirit – one such example was in John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth…”. “Truth” is something much lacking in life today, as it was in the First Century. During Jesus’ mock trial, Pontius Pilate himself confessed to not knowing what truth was (John 18:38). But through the power of the Holy Spirit we know the Truth that matters.
Part of my testimony is about the time I saw Christians working together and relating with each other in a community setting. They had something shining through them, that I now know was the outworking of the Holy Spirit, filling their lives. And I have over the years experienced help and love from other Christians, many of whom I hardly knew, but who have ministered to my situation through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So on our life-pilgrimage we too have an obligation to obey Paul’s call to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”. Daily getting on our knees before Him, asking for more of His presence and resources in our lives. Father, fill us afresh today, we pray, and again tomorrow, and again … Amen.