Controlled by the Spirit – Part 1
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18 NIV)
As Christians, our lives have been purchased for a price, and we now belong to God. The price was the blood of Jesus Christ, which he shed on the cross. Just as the Israelites in the Old Testament belonged to God through covenant, Christians belong to God through the salvation we have experienced. We’re God’s people now. We belong to him—rescued out of the clutches of sin, guilt, and condemnation, and adopted into his family. In this case, being bought and owned by someone isn’t a negative thing; it’s a beautiful thing.
God saved us for the purpose of making us human temples, inhabited by his Spirit. During Old Testament days, God dwelt within the inner room of the temple—a place called the Holy of Holies. That’s where he made his home. When Paul said Christians were the “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), the word he used for “temple” was not the word used for the outer rooms of the Old Testament temple. It was naos, which referred to the inner sanctum, the place where there was a visible manifestation of the shekinah glory of God.
That indwelling of God through the Holy Spirit makes Christians different from any other religionists on earth. Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism—none of these religions claim that their god inhabits their followers. The leaders of those belief systems may try to proselytize with their doctrine, but the gospel of Christ is different. Faith in Jesus makes us walking miracles who have been changed through the Holy Spirit personally dwelling in us!
God’s plan in redemption was that we should live life full of the Holy Spirit. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The metaphor here is that we might be filled with the Spirit to the point where he overflows—spilling out onto others with love and grace. That’s a beautiful image, isn’t it? But it’s not the clearest explanation of the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the believer. When you consider that the Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Godhead, what does it mean to be filled with a person? He’s not a gas. He’s not a liquid. He’s as much a person as the Father and the Son. So I think a better description of “being filled” is to say the Spirit controls us.
The Bible shows us the importance of living a Spirit-controlled life…
To be continued…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Spirit Rising)
Read Ephesians 5:15-20.