n the Bible, we are commanded to be filled with the spirit. What does that commandment look like in our daily lives? Paul makes it clear, in order to walk into the full capacity of what God has for us as believers, we need the Holy Spirits’ help. Today, our aim is to carefully walk through Ephesians 5:18 with humility and to provide an authentic look at what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
“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..” (Ephesians 5:18,19)
Paul Was Filled With The Spirit
The book of Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul. Formerly an opposer of early Christians, Paul had an encounter with the man who hung between two criminals on the road of Damascus (see Acts 9). At the day of the encounter, Paul was on his way to Damascus with orders from the High Priest to bring persecution against “The Way”, or the early church. While he was on the road, he encountered an audible voice from God that changed his life. After the encounter, Paul was left blinded as he prayed and fasted in the city of Damascus for three days.
As Paul was praying, God gave Ananais a vision about meeting Paul for prayer over his eyes. After a moment of trepidation, Ananais obeys God and meets Paul in Damascus.
“And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:7)
Three days after Paul met Jesus, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This is important to understand because Paul, when writing to the Ephesian church, knew what it was like to live a life unfilled with the Spirit. Because of this knowledge, he was able to boldly proclaim that those who believe in Jesus should be full of the Holy Spirit. To him, there was no life apart from the Holy Spirit. This is one of the reasons he was boldly able to proclaim this truth to Ephesus.
Feeling The Fill
Paul had personal experience with being filled with the Holy Spirit. Because of this, life apart from it seemed to be debauchery. At the time of his writing, Paul was correcting an error in the Ephesian church. At the present moment, they believed that the better feeling was to be filled with wine than the Spirit. Correctly, Paul saw this an opportunity to bring God’s people into a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit. In the same way a person can tangibly feel when they are drunk, they can feel with they are filled with the Spirit. We see this evidence with the first disciples in Act 2.
“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.” (Acts 2:14,15)
The first disciples we filled with the Holy Spirit. This invitation to receive the Holy Spirit was given by Jesus some fifty days earlier (see John 14:26). In receiving Holy Spirit, they were visibly “feeling the fill” so much that bystanders believed that they were all drunk with wine.
This is a direct connection to what Paul was teaching the church at Ephesus. Paul proclaimed that there was no greater feeling on earth than to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is encouraging news for us. As Christians, we do not have to settle for mere head knowledge alone in our faith. We can actually “feel the fill” of the Holy Spirit. In the same way, a person can feel the “buzz” of being drunk, a Christian can feel the “fill” of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Since we can “feel the fill” of the Holy Spirit, a good question is, “what does it feel like?”
The Meaning of Filled
To understand this properly, we need to look into the meaning behind the word behind the word fill. Originally the New Testament was written in koine greek. Likewise, the Greek word for the word “filled” that Paul used in Ephesians 5:18 was the word “πληρόω”. This word, when it’s transliterated into English, looks like this “pléroó”. In its original language, to be filled (pleroo) means to “to make full, to complete” and is a verb. This word stems from the word “πλήθω”, transliterated “plḗthō”, which means to “fill to [an] individuals capacity.” “Pletho” is the word Luke uses in Acts 9:17 in regards to Paul being filled with the Holy Spirit. Taking all of this in, we now understand this. To be filled means for one to reach its full capacity.
In essence, what Paul commanded the Ephesian church (and by extensions what He is telling us) is that they needed the Holy Spirit to reach our full capacity in God. This capacity is something that we can tangibly feel when it comes upon us. This capacity was so important to God that He gave Ananias a vision so that Paul could be filled with it three days after his conversion.
In essence, what Paul commanded the Ephesian church (and by extensions what He is telling us) is that they needed the Holy Spirit to reach our full capacity in God.
The same is true for us today. God wants to be full of His Spirit. Without it, we will never reach our full capacity. Paul could not have accomplished what he did through his missionary journeys without the fullness of the Spirit. Likewise, without being filled with the Holy Spirit, we will never accomplish our God-given purposes on this earth.
Live Life Full Of The Spirit
As we conclude today, be encouraged that God wants your life to reach its full potential. For this reason, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit in Scripture. When difficult situations come against your life, do not allow it to empty your spirit. Instead, get alone with God and ask for a “re-filling” of His Spirit in your life. Make it a point to face every trial that comes against your Christian life, as an onramp to a greater measure of fullness in The Holy Spirit. What every level you are currently operating in, there is more for you in God available through His Spirit.
There is much more to discuss regarding the Holy Spirit and the Spirit filled life. In later posts, we will discuss what the Bible says regarding speaking in tongues, the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit and much more.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)