But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
If we’re going to find success in our marriages, we need to continue to study how to be filled with the Spirit. Scripture tells us if we are going to win the battle between what our flesh wants and what the Spirit desires to do in us, then we need to lean in and figure out how to allow this Warrior to own our hearts.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…Ephesians 5:18 ESV
There is beauty in the intentionality of the words God chose to use in scripture. Think about it—He chose every single word for a very specific reason, and every word should cause us to pause and reflect on its importance and what He is trying to communicate. There are some interesting words in this verse, but I think the most powerful two words are “be filled”.
The first thing to note about “be filled” is that it’s a command, not a suggestion. He isn’t saying let His Spirit fill you with love, joy, and peace so you don’t have a bad day, or so you have a better marriage. He’s commanding us to let the Spirit fill us—that means if we’re disobeying, we are in sin. When I ponder these words as a command, it changes the way I view the Spirit. God is not saying do this if you want to feel better, He is saying do this. So, when I fall short, when I am not filled with the Spirit, I must confess my sin.
To be completely honest, there are days that I may feel like I cannot be filled with the Spirit, but if I consider it to be a command, I know that I can. Because he commands it, I know it is possible—God doesn’t command us to do something we cannot do.
The second thing we should notice is that “be filled” is a passive verb. That means we are being acted upon—God fills us with the Spirit. It isn’t something that we do, we can’t fill ourselves, only He fills us. We can quench or grieve the Spirit so we won’t see the fruit or feel His presence, but we aren’t the ones who fill us.
When we’re frustrated with our lack of patience at the end of a long day, we cannot simply determine that tomorrow is going to be a better day. I tried that for years—it doesn’t work. We must confess and repent that which grieves or quenches the Spirit, then pray for Him to fill us up again.
Interestingly, “be filled” is also present tense verb—that means it’s not something that happened once in the past at our point of conversion. Be filled is present, so it is happening now. Present is continuous. We understand this to mean He is continually filling us with the Spirit. We have only one baptism, but many fillings. Continually, every moment, He is trying to fill me with His Spirit—that means continually, every moment, I need to allow Him to fill me. We make choices every day with our time. Every moment, we have a choice to be filled with the Spirit. We can’t expect to be filled with the Spirit once a week at church, or even once a day as we get into the Word, and expect that to last into the future of our day or week. Be filled is present. Right now, you need to allow His Spirit to fill you. Then you need to do it again, in the next moment, and the next.
I know many who grow frustrated with God or their situation because even though they know Scripture and they spend time in the Word, they still struggle with anxiety and fear, anger or despair. God tells us in this passage we need to continue to be filled. It’s not a one and done thing, it’s a continual transformation of our hearts.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗