Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
The foundational passage in the Bible about the filling of the Spirit is Ephesians 5:18: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” We learn from this verse that the filling of the Spirit is a command, not a promise. It is also a continual experience, not a one-time event.
Remember, the Greek word for “filled” was used to describe wind filling the sails of a ship. Think about a sailboat going across the ocean. Does the wind come one time and fill those sails for the entire journey? No, the wind comes and goes throughout the journey; it may even change direction. It is the same way with the filling of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s command in the original language could be translated as “Keep on being filled with the Spirit.”
There is no one-time experience or one-time prayer that will forever free you from your struggle with sin. If you are skeptical, look at what Paul, one of the greatest evangelists the world has ever known, said about his struggle with sin: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Romans 7:18-19). The only day you and I will ever be free completely from our struggle with sin will be the day of our death.
Here is the good news: even though you and I will struggle with sin until we die, the struggle will get easier the more often we choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Choosing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit is a habit we develop. The more often we say yes to the Spirit and no to sin, the easier it becomes. It is a continual experience, not a one-time action.
Another truth we see in Ephesians 5:18 is that being filled with the Holy Spirit is God’s desire for every Christian, not just a select few. The truth is, most Christians are living so far away from the Holy Spirit that when anyone starts living under the Spirit’s control on a regular basis, people call them a fanatic or a super saint. It is hard to believe that that is God’s desire for every Christian. But in this verse, the verb “be filled” in Greek has a plural audience. If Paul were from the South and writing in English, he would have said, “Y’all be filled with Spirit.” He was not just commanding one or two groups in the Ephesian church to be filled; he was saying every Christian is to be filled. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not reserved just for a select group of Christians; it is God’s desire for every believer.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Second Blessing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.