Ephesians 5:18 – And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
When a person receives Jesus Christ as Saviour, he is immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This indwelling doesn’t come and go, but lasts forever (John 14:16). The filling of the spirit however, can come and go and is dependent upon the believer’s fellowship with God.
In our text we see a caution and a command. They stand in great contrast with each other, but they also are similar in the following ways:
A man who is “drunk with wine” deliberately chooses to drink. Being Spirit filled is a choice, not some mysterious force that overcomes you in a church service making you flop on the ground like a fish out of water! It is a conscious choice you make if you want to please God and serve Him. Often this choice begins with small things like reading the scriptures, praying, and attending church consistently.
In order for someone to get “drunk” they must drink more and more until they are under its influence. So it is with being filled with the Spirit. Just one church service, or one night in prayer is not enough. We must constantly “hit the bottle” if we are to come under His influence.
Normally, at this point the behavior of the person changes. Men who are shy and timid often become loud and obstinate. And men who are mean and hateful often become weepy and sentimental. Similarly, when controlled by the Spirit, our ways are changed and are under His control.
Finally, given enough time, the drunk will eventually sober up and return to normal unless he gets another filling.
Let us heed this command and “be filled with the Spirit!”