And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Ephesians 5:18(KJV)
For three wonderful chapters in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul outlines our privileged position in Christ. He tells of our redemption by grace through faith in Him, of reconciliation with our Heavenly Father, and of our glorious transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.
He also tells of the amazing work of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the honour of being baptised by Him, into the Body of Christ. He details the wonderful truth of our acceptance in the Beloved and lists some of the many precious promises that we posses as members of God's heavenly family. And Paul also mentions the astonishing and immediate judicial changes that take place in the life of every man and woman, who trusts in the death, burial, and Resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
But in the final three chapters of this wonderful epistle, we receive wise instruction on how to live the Christian life in spirit and in truth. We are reminded to live in unity with one another, to live in lowliness of heart, gentleness of spirit, and to endure suffering with patience throughout this earthly life. We are also encouraged to bear with one another in love and to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, knowing that we are one in Christ and united together in one faith, one hope, one baptism, and one Lord.
We are given wise advice on how to function spiritually as members of the Body of Christ, and reminded that we all have spiritual gifts which are to be used for the encouragement of the saints and the edification of the Body of Christ.
We are encouraged toward maturing in our Christian walk while being warned against being conformed into the ways of the world. We are counselled against spiritual immaturity, emotional instability, and foolish gullibility while being warned against lying, anger, deceitfulness, unconfessed sin, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and coarse jesting.
Paul also encourages us to speak the truth in love and to grow up in all things into Christ Who is our federal Head, our living Lord, and our Kinsman-Redeemer. And among the many instructions toward maturing in our Christian life is the directive: "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Indeed, being filled with the Spirit is not a one-off occurrence like our justification, but we are to continue being filled with the Spirit, day by day, throughout our earthy life.
'Filling' in Scripture denotes being governed by, ruled by, controlled by or under submission to, and as believers we are to be governed by the Holy Spirit, ruled by Him, controlled by Him, and living in submission to His leading and guiding in every part of our lives.
We are warned against being controlled by anger or wrath, jealousy or envy, and we are also warned against being ruled or governed by an excess of wine. We are not to be drunk with wine, because it leads to much that is dishonouring to the Lord. Rather, we are to be ruled or governed by the Holy Spirit Who brings forth love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Let us not be drunk with wine or controlled by any other substance or emotion that discredits our Heavenly Father, but let us go on being filled, day by day, with the Holy Spirit of God so that we may manifest the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in our lives, today and throughout the rest of our time on earth.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may submit to the leading and guidance of Your Spirit. May I be filled to overflowing with His graces, and live my life in willing submission to Him. Keep me from anything that discredits Your name in the areas of gluttony, drunkenness, or lack of self-control. Lead me in the path of righteousness, for Your name's sake. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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