Ephesians 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a common verse, quoted in many churches as justification that Christians should refrain from drinking alcohol according to Gods instruction. However, the truth is that this verse is not only referring to the mere consumption of a certain beverage, but it is also referring to anything that people are filling themselves with, as opposed to the Holy Spirit.
Apparently, some pagan worshipers in Pauls time would intentionally get drunk as part of their worship. They filled themselves with the affects of wine before and during worship, rather than seeking the affects of the Holy Spirit. They sought after the feeling that the wine brought over them, instead of the feelings that the Holy Spirit could fill them with.
Paul is mainly concerned with the fact that their drunkenness not only led to reckless actions, but that they were purposely filling up with wine, instead of filling up with the Holy Spirit.
Most of us would agree that being filled wine does not please God, but is it possible we over-consume in other areas every day, and do not even realize it?
For example, is it possible we fill ourselves up with powerful emotions that fill up our hearts and minds, resulting in little room in our heart for the Holy Spirit?
If we are filled up with negative emotions – such as jealousy, sinful desires, anger, hurt, bitterness, temptation, worry – then there is little room left for the Holy Spirit to squeeze into. Emotions – in good and bad extremes – are powerful, and will eventually determine how we interact with others, and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis.
What is filling our hearts, will in turn, fill our behaviors as well. As we squeeze out the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, even if inadvertently, eventually our hearts will be completely full of feelings that are not so holy.
We are always filled with something – but what are we filled up with?
Every Christians goal is to be filled with the Spirit – but how do we know if we really are? How do we know if we have allowed negative emotions and tempting influences in our lives to have a stronger presence in our heart than God? There are two great indicators of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives:
1) If our lives portray our love for Christ… if we have joy, peace and harmony…. if we worship God with our whole hearts…. if we praise Him in everything, good and bad… if we are grateful… if our conduct pleases God… if we shy away from sin… if we forgive those who hurt us…. if we stop questioning God about fairness in life…. if we trust God… then we are filled with Him.
2) If we live a life that exemplifies the things of God – while knowing that we will fall short of the glory of God over and over and over – we can feel confident in the fact that we are full of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s put ourselves to the test…. a heart check, you might say. If you had to describe what was keeping you filled up today, what would you say?