One sure way to have a victorious Christian life is to live a life empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. So in Ephesians 5:18, Paul exhorts believers to be filled with the Spirit constantly, so that they can lead a Spirit-energised life. It is true that believers can choose between having the effects of the Spirit spelled with a capital ‘S’ or one brought about by the spirit spelled with a small ‘s’. Both have the capacity to influence a person’s life. One will lead to drunkenness and an inordinate, decadent, or dissipated living. The other will lead to an orderly, holy, and sanctified life.
When it comes to God’s Spirit, we must be filled constantly. Apart from being empowered by the Spirit, believers can never effectively walk in the light or wisdom of God. The command “be filled” would be better translated as “be being filled.” Although this may be awkward in the English language, it will be a more accurate reflection of Paul’s intention. The apostle wants us to know that the infilling of the Spirit is not a one-time act. It must be a deliberate daily moment-by-moment choice or decision. The dynamism of the Spirit-filled living must be a daily and current experience. None of us should expect to be fully effective by depending on yesterday’s infilling to live for today. Furthermore, this experience is a collaborative effort of the believers and the Holy Spirit. As we surrender and yield to Him, He fills us. He must not only be resident in our lives, He must also be the president of our lives.
From verses 19-21, we are then shown the typical results of a Spirit-filled and Spirit-empowered living. Firstly, Spirit-filled believers will live a joyful life. There will be an inner joy that can be seen by one’s expression in outward acts of praise and worship. There will be singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as an expression of the joy in one’s heart. Despite great sorrow, such kind of believers can experience overflowing inner joy.
Secondly, Spirit-filled believers will live a thankful life. The fullness of the Spirit within will cause such believers to have an attitude of gratitude. Thanksgiving for both big and small things will be the order of their lives.
Thirdly, Spirit-filled believers will live a submissive and participative life. They will live interdependently with other believers. They submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord. Spirit-filled people do not act independently from the fellowship. They are open to teachings, exhortation, admonitions, counsel, correction, guidance, etc. from fellow believers.
Paul, we know, does not have any objection to drinking wine. He is only against excessive drinking that will lead to a riotous, inordinate, and drunken lifestyle. It’s perfectly normal to celebrate with a glass or two of wine. However, the best way to celebrate life is to be filled with God’s Spirit. It brings about joyful, grateful, and graceful living. So let’s be filled constantly by God’s Spirit, for a glorious empowered daily walk!