(Keep on) Being Filled with the Spirit!

fuelgauge-450x450Ephesians 5:15-21

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.


“Be filled with the Spirit”—the Greek word translated as “be filled” is pleroo (playro’o)

  • Pleroo is a verb in the imperative mood which means that it is a command— not a suggestion.
  • Pleroo is in the passive voice, indicating that being filled with the Spirit is not something that the believer can do through his own power or efforts. We are commanded to be full, and yet we are not the filler, the Spirit is.
  • Pleroo is in the present tense, indicating that this is a blessing that we can experience now. This verb also indicates that it is ongoing, not just once.


We also see from these verses and the ones before them in context that being filled with the Spirit is a part of God’s will for a believer; in order to make the most of our time. More of the already present Spirit in a believer’s life is given so that His Church is better equipped to minister to others and to God.


In the New Testament, “being filled with the Spirit” and “baptism in the Spirit” seem to be interchangeable terms. Baptism comes from the Greek word, baptizo, which means to be fully immersed or soaked. Baptism in the Holy Spirit therefore means to be fully immersed or soaked with power of God’s active presence! This power from on high is specifically for us to be His witnesses.


Being filled with the Spirit is contrasted with being drunk with wine in verse 18. Paul is referring to what one allows to control their life. His main purpose in writing this was not to give a diatribe about drinking alcohol in excess, though that is firmly stated. Rather, his interest is to drive home the point that we are to be influenced by His Spirit, not by something else.


Being filled with the Spirit can certainly be categorized as an experience; a moment in time that we are empowered, a touch, a spiritual blessing. But ultimately we are to understand this command as “continue to be filled,” a way of life, a lifestyle—an ongoing empowerment. We need to continue to be filled because as someone once said, we tend to leak!


How do we receive this ‘extra portion” of the Spirit of God?  It starts with our yielding. Yielding literally means to place in order and submission to that order. Christ must take preeminence and ultimately order our lives. Jesus gives us the closest thing in Scripture to a step-by-step process for receiving more of the Holy Spirit in John 7:37-39…

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

  • We must thirst (have a deep desire for)
  • We must come to Jesus (ask for and seek it)
  • We must drink (believe it and receive it)