In Ephesians 5:18, the apostle Paul makes this short statement – “…be filled with the Spirit.” With everything else that is said surrounding this statement it would be easy to simply see it as a part of the general instruction that he is giving. However, what Paul has just said is foundational. Whatever else he may say, this short phrase is the heart of it all. He is making an emphatic statement – “be filled!” In other words, this is not an option for the Christian. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not a nice add on in the life of the believer. It is essential. It is foundational.
It is also a continual need. Paul is speaking here in the present tense, which indicates an ongoing action. This little phrase could be better stated, “Be continually filled with the Spirit” (Beacon Bible Expositions). The filling of the Holy Spirit is more than just a one time experience. It is an ongoing need. This affirms the essential nature of this need in the Christian’s life. We can’t get along without him. We need him continually. We need his filling every day.
There are many reasons why we need the filling of the Holy Spirit, but in the verses surrounding Ephesians 5:18 there are at least five good reasons why every Christian MUST be filled with the Holy Spirit.
1. Paul states the first reason in verses 15 and 16 – “…because the days are evil.” The time in which Paul was writing was evil; and, so is our time. That we are surrounded by evil is unquestionable. So, what are we to do? How are we to navigate these evil days? We do it by the guiding and empowering Spirit of God that fills us. In Ephesians 5:15 Paul says it like this, “walk… not as fools but as wise….” He also gives us two ways that we can walk in Spirit-guided wisdom.
First, he says, “…walk circumspectly.” This means walk carefully. The Greek word that is translated “circumspectly” can mean “to walk looking around.” If the days are evil, and they are, then we can rightly assume that the devil has set all sorts of pitfalls, dangers and traps in our way to trip us up in our walk with the Lord. The dangerous thing about a trap is that it usually does not look dangerous. In fact, they are usually quite inviting. That is why we must walk through this world “looking around.”
So, in practical terms, what does it mean to walk looking around? Well, it means we are careful about everything we do, where we go, what we consume through our senses, what we allow our minds to meditate on, and what we allow to impact us at a heart level. The little children’s chorus, “O Be Careful”, comes to mind. The apostle James sums it up like this, “…keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
Secondly, as Spirit-filled Christians we are to redeem the time (v. 16). This phrase means to take advantage of every opportunity. Rather than squandering our days living as careless Christians, we walk carefully, taking advantage of every opportunity to grow in our walk with the Lord and serve him. Paul’s instructions are not just to take the defensive position of walking carefully through this world. That is only partial wisdom. We are also directed to walk proactively, using every opportunity that comes our way for advancement.
Again, practically, this means that we prioritize corporate worship, the fellowship of the saints, personal spiritual disciplines, a life of service and ministry to others, and any other means of grace that we find is edifying to our souls.
We can’t walk with wisdom through this sinful world, guarding our souls and redeeming the time, if we are not filled with the Spirit. His guidance, his wisdom and his power are essential.
Check back next week for Part 2 of “Five Reasons Why You MUST Be Filled With the Holy Spirit”.
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