Focus: Being filled with the Spirit
Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (a waste); but be filled with the Spirit.
An obvious reason people drink and take drugs is to ‘feel better’. When you don’t have much desire to live in the first place, and reality causes you a lot of emotional pain—getting numb seems like a pretty good idea. You become your own doctor and you tell yourself you need to ‘medicate’ or you might not make it. Your real life is just too hard to face, so you attempt to make things a little less ‘real’. You think it’s working—but it’s not.
It’s interesting how Ephesians 5:18 offers ‘being filled with the Spirit’ as a substitute to using alcohol. I absolutely relate to this because being filled with the Spirit is how I was able to overcome my own drinking problem.
In the second chapter of Acts, we find the account of the Holy Spirit’s visitation on the early church. Jesus had prophesied of this in John 16:5-7. He was preparing His disciples for the time when He would be going back to His Father. He said it was necessary for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit could come to them. Jesus explained that there would be many benefits to the Holy Spirit coming. The Holy Spirit would teach them and guide them into all truth. So, when the Holy Spirit came in Acts Chapter two, it was a fulfillment of the will and Word of God.
Even though Jesus had predicted the coming of the Holy Spirit, I doubt whether any of the disciples were expecting the magnitude of the powerful infilling they received. It was an amazing and supernatural occurrence. Really wild things were happening in an ‘upper room’ where a hundred and twenty people were gathered. They had been seeking the Lord in a time of deep unity. When the Holy Spirit came—the whole place, and everyone in it became filled.
Outsiders observed some of the events going on and thought that everyone was drunk. The visitation of the Holy Spirit was so captivating—those who were filled apparently lost their ‘pride’ and appeared to be ‘under the influence’.
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Being filled with the Spirit is an experience that some religious groups find controversial. I have to say that I found it to be controversial in my own mind and I used to put limits on God. I had no real knowledge about the Holy Spirit and out of ignorance thought there was something wrong with being ‘filled’—or baptized in the Holy Spirit. At a time when I desperately needed ‘something more’, I prayed—and the Holy Spirit came into me. I wasn’t thinking about whether it was a right or wrong experience to be filled with the Spirit—I just knew I needed something more than I’d had in the past. In the prayer I prayed, I basically was saying to God, “Give me all You’ve got”—and He did.
Jesus said we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. To me, that means giving Him total control of our entire being. It means being willing to be completely filled by Him…nothing held back.
The Holy Spirit made all the difference in my desire to live. Things I could never understand—started making sense. The Bible was suddenly amazing. Things I had read all my life had new meaning to me. I was definitely being guided and taught by the Lord in a new way—like never before. I had a purpose and passion to live for the first time ever!
As I began to realize that not everyone embraced the concept of being filled with the Holy Spirit—I just felt sorry for them. I knew they were missing so much. I wondered how anyone could not want all of God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some people wanted the Father and the Son, but they had some kind of problem with the Holy Spirit.
All I can say is being filled with the Holy Spirit was like putting on glasses. Things that were there all along but out of focus, became clear. It was like having a brighter light turned on in a room that had been dimly lit. I felt regret for all the years I hadn’t been ‘filled’. I knew part of why I hadn’t known about the Holy Spirit was my own fault. I had been holding back—thinking I wanted to have ‘control’ over my life. If I had really been seeking, I might have known there was more to be had at an earlier age. I had the same problem as a lot of other people—a combination of disinterest and ignorance. But, better late than never!
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples and the early church the power and ability they needed to bravely carry the gospel to the lost. By the Spirit’s power, they received boldness just like Jesus said they would in Acts chapter one. In our lifetime, we are seeing the Holy Spirit poured out again. Joel chapter two contains the prophecy of this blessing.
The infilling of the Holy Spirit isn’t a one time occurrence. A more accurate translation of Ephesians 5:18 is not just ‘be filled’, but ‘be being filled’, as a constant and ongoing experience. The Holy Spirit only comes where hearts are willing to receive. We will only be ‘filled’ according to our openness and willingness. How open and willing are you?
Declaration: I will find new strength by being filled with the Holy Spirit everyday. I will not hold back any part of myself from God. I will receive power to live a victorious life and have the boldness I need to keep moving forward.
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