Summary: The filling of the Spirit empowers us to live our lives to the fullest.
We love Superman. He seems to be so invincible... so powerful... except of course in front of a kryptonite. Still, we love superheroes. We know they’re not real. Yet how we wish we would become superheroes.
For most of us, we only have the strength to barely pull us through the day. After a tiring but unfruitful day at the office, we slump on the sofa and ask, “Is there more to life than this?”
I have great news for you. The Lord declares: “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” (John 10:10, Contemporary English Version)
Is this life really possible? Not only does the Lord want us to have it, He actually empowers us to live to the fullest.
Let us read Ephesians 5:18-21... "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Now, you may be thinking, “Don’t give me that ‘spiritual power’ thing!” Please listen first. If you think it applies only to religious activities, think again. This is not a pep talk either. I am talking of real power! I tell you it’s practical.
Look at Bezalel, a master craftsman in the Bible. The Lord chose him to build the temple and “He has filled him with the Spirit of God — with skill, with understanding, with knowledge, and with all kinds of work, to design artistic designs, to work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in cutting stones for their setting, and in cutting wood, to do work in every artistic craft.” (Exodus 35:31-33, The NET Bible) According to the Word in Life Study Bible, “The Spirit of God is said to be the source of the many skills and abilities required for the design and construction of the tabernacle—metalwork, jewelry making, carpentry, engraving, weaving, and other related talents.”
Now let’s look at the time when the apostles faced a problem in the daily distribution of food to widows. Notice the credentials needed to oversee the feeding program: “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them...” (Acts 6:3) Now this was not a menial task. It would require administrative and people skills. But the apostles said they need the empowering of the Spirit to do the job.
My point is that the Spirit can empower you as you balance the books of your company, as you deal with your employees or employer, as you try to make a sale or as you lead your company. You don’t have to be a superhero to have the strength to face the challenges of life. You just have to experience the empowering of the Spirit.
What does it mean to “be filled with the Spirit”? Look at the word “Instead...” in verse 18. It contrasts between a person drunk with wine and one filled with the Spirit. In his “The Message of Ephesians,” John Stott wrote, “A person who is drunk, we say, is ‘under the influence’ of alcohol; and certainly a Spirit-filled Christian is under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. [But] if excessive alcohol dehumanizes, turning a human being into a beast, the fullness of the Spirit makes us more human, for he makes us like Christ.” So, basically, the filling of the Spirit means CONTROL. We don’t get more of the Spirit. But the Spirit gets more of us. So, to be controlled means to be empowered. We need the power of the Spirit in every aspect of our lives.
In the Greek, “be filled” is a COMMAND. It is in the imperative mood. It is our responsibility to follow the Spirit. We don’t need to wait for any strange experiences or emotions. Let’s look at a parallel verse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...” (Colossians 3:16) In the Contemporary English Version it says, “Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives...” So, to be filled with the Spirit is to obey the word of Christ. As we step out in obedience, rest assured that He empowers us. So we need to ACT upon it.
But, it requires COOPERATION on our part. For it is in the passive voice. If it’s active, it’s like “I hit the ball.” If it’s passive, “The ball hits me.” That’s why in the New Living Translation, it is translated this way: “let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.” We yield control to the Spirit. We are like a glove. The Spirit is the hand. Without the hand, the glove can’t move. The glove follows the hand. So we need to ACCEPT the control of the Spirit. It is not something we do ourselves. But we allow the Spirit to work in us.