It’s Not Just for Sundays

The 260 Journey
The 260 Journey
It's Not Just for Sundays

Day 173

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 5

In today’s chapter Paul reminds us of something that will take our Christianity to another level.  

When we become Christians, we don’t simply get church, we get God. And God is not limited to Sundays for a few hours. Religion wants a few hours on Sunday. A relationship with Jesus is God every day. That’s what today’s revolutionary verse out of Ephesians 5 is about. And it breaks away from denominationalism norms.

This is pneumatology gone rogue. Pneumatology is the study of the Holy Spirit—something we keep bound in church or restricted to the classroom. But today Paul is telling us to break free of those boundaries. Listen to Ephesians 5:18 from the Contemporary English Version: “Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life.”

Devotional writer Oswald Chambers said this about the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit is the first power we practically experience, but the last power we come to understand.” I want to help you understand His power today. We don’t do this often, but it’s worth taking a little journey into the Greek. 

First, the verb fill is in the imperative mode. That means it is a command. It isn’t an option for certain Christians; we all need to be filled. Since this is a command, are we free to disobey any commands of God? This is as strong as, “Thou shalt not kill.” Thou shalt not kill and be filled with the Spirit are in the same category. Do you negotiate with the kill command? Of course not. Don’t do it with this one either.  

Second, the tense of the verb is present. Present tense in the imperative mode always represents action going on. It is not filling for preaching and doing stuff in the church but for the believer’s life every day in every task, moment by moment.

Now get ready for the really revolutionary part. After Paul says to be filled with the Spirit, he tells wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. He then tells children to obey their parents, parents to bring up their children in the instruction of the Lord, and workers to work as unto God. Remember, the original New Testament had no chapter or verse divisions, so from talking about being filled with the Spirit, Paul moves right into marriage, parenting, children, and working.

How can we be a great . . . wife or husband? son or parent? worker on the job? We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not for Sundays, it is for every day. We need the Holy Spirit in our homes, our marriages, our parenting, and our jobs.

Third, the verb is in the plural, which teaches us that this command is addressed not only to the preacher and the deacon but to every Christian. As A. W. Tozer reminds us, “The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.”

Fourth, the verb is in the passive voice. This grammatical classification represents the subject of the verb as inactive but being acted upon. This teaches us that the filling with the Spirit is not the work of man but of God. That means it’s easy. It is not a difficult command, because it is not you doing it but you receiving it.

All this being true, we realize how important those words are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some have said that the most accurate interpretation of that verse is “Be being filled with the Holy Spirit” or “Keep being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The great American evangelist of the nineteenth century, D. L. Moody, was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. He said, “I need a continual infilling because I leak!”

A friend of mine was asked if he believed in the “second blessing”—the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Of course I do! And in the third, fourth, fifth blessing, and so on.” He believed in “be being filled” because he leaks. We all leak.