The Urgency of Being Filled with the Spirit

It is urgent that you are led by the Spirit.

Paul made this very clear in his epistle to the Ephesians, “but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This short command contains an urgency we all should understand.

The Greek for “be filled” is packed with meaning.

First, it is an imperative command. This is not a suggestion on Paul’s part as many people suppose; it is an imperative command which is essential for carrying out God’s plan for our lives.

Without being filled with the Spirit, we are susceptible to being filled with the lies of Satan. Peter made this plain as he spoke to Ananias and Sapphira about their hypocrisy of lying to the Holy Spirit. After they had concocted a plan to deceive the church and the Spirit, Peter confronted Ananias: “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit . . . ?” (Acts 5: 3). To be filled with God’s Spirit will not give a place to the devil in our lives.

Peter’s further question is powerful and penetrating, “What made you think of doing such a thing?”

Second, it is a continuous command. This is not a one time event as is being baptized with the Spirit. It is a continuous command.

I do not need the presence, power, and guidance of God occasionally; I need it continually.

Third, this is a passive verb. It is not something we do but something God does for us. He fills us with His Spirit. “There is no technique to learn and no formula to recite” (John Stott).

Finally, it is plural in form. It is not for some of us but for all of us. “None of us is to get drunk; all of us are to be Spirit-filled. The fullness of the Spirit is not an elitist privilege, but available for all the people of God” (Stott).

Paul showed the power of being filled with the Spirit as he wrote to the Galatians. “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).

This is the urgency we face as we open our lives daily to the guidance and presence of God’s Spirit.

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2 Responses

  1. We Baptists have, observing Pentecostal abuses of the doctine of the Holy Spirit, often sadly avoided the doctine in our pulpits. Thank you, Doc, for proclaiming this wonderful teaching regarding the wonderful Third Person of His Trinity.

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