Let’s admit it. We’re all full of something. (Don’t leave me, now. Let’s work this out.)
Some quick possibilities come to mind. . .
Some are full of fear, living their lives in the shadows.
Some are full of pride . . . full of themselves, really.
Some are full of doubt and unbelief . . . drained of faith and hope.
Some are wounded, and full of pain.
Some, who never were properly healed of their wounds have become full of rage, hate, and bitterness. (the poison of the soul)
We can find Biblical examples of all the above. We can also find examples in our own homes and churches—without ever going out into “the world.”
Paul warns against the tendency of some to be full of (“drunk with”) wine. (Eph. 5:18a)
In contrast to that, however, Paul strongly urges the believers in the church in Ephesus to “be filled with the Spirit..” (v. 18b)
This introduces several interesting topics for our consideration. . .
First, since Paul was writing to the “saints who are in Ephesus,” (Eph. 1:1) we may safely assume that Paul believed that, at least some of these “saints” needed to be filled—or perhaps re-filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, let’s hit the “pause” button right here. . . I want to make it clear that it is not, and never will be my purpose to use this forum to argue/ debate fine points of theology. I’m aware of the controversy in this area. . . . ok? (That’s not why we’re here, drinking coffee together.)
My point is that every believer who has ever claimed to be filled with the Holy Spirit must face this fact. . . We leak. There are right now dozens of things, trying to puncture holes in your soul. Over time, left unattended, our souls become empty.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the fullness of the Spirit is not a static state. Instead, it’s a walk—in the flow. The word Paul uses here indicates a continual infilling (inflowing) of the Holy Spirit. It can’t possibly be something I get and keep bottled up with a stopper. It must flow. . . in . . . and out . . . in . . . and out . . .
In fact, I usually don’t just speak of the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit. I usually take the time to say “overflowing fullness” of the Holy Spirit. To me, that’s more descriptive of what I mean.
Someone is dying to ask, “Exactly what do you mean when you talk about people being filled with the Holy Spirit?” I’m glad you asked. Here’s a definition I started using some years ago . . .
The overflowing fullness of the Holy Spirit is when the Holy Spirit is able to do everything he wants to do in every part of me. This Holy Spirit inspired activity may be further sub-divided into two parts. What we say (powerful words) and what we do (powerful works).
He wants to pray his prayer through me (and you). He wants to communicate his messages through us to those who need to hear it. He wants to energize, and yes—anoint our efforts, so that we will become more fruitful within the kingdom of God than we could ever imagine possible. He wants to show himself strong through us, and on our behalf.
But we allow our fears, our doubts, and perhaps our pride to occupy spaces within us where the Holy Spirit would otherwise do his work. There is no room within a heart full of rage and bitterness for the Holy Spirit to accomplish much.
How can we claim to be full of the Spirit when so much other stuff crowds him into a relatively small corner of our hearts?
How can we continually close doors (for whatever reason) to the Spirit of God, saying “Don’t go there. Don’t do that.” and still say we are Spirit filled?
What we need is a good Holy Spirit flush.
I don’t write this to produce guilt within anyone. Rather than feeling guilty or defensive—why don’t we take some time to examine our hearts. Invite the Holy Spirit into every hidden corner, throwing open every locked door and closed window of our souls. Specifically invite him into those areas where he hasn’t been welcome for some time.
Be (continually) filled with the Holy Spirit!
What would that look like for you?