You: Be Filled

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, ESV).

On your own, you cannot be like Jesus. You can’t will yourself to change your sinful patterns or to choose right. So how do you live a powerful life in Christ? How do you live out the exchanged life—Christ in you?

The Holy Spirit.

You can talk until you’re blue in the face, you can serve until you drop, and you can try your absolute best. But until you let Jesus reign in you through His Spirit, you are going to be exhausted.

Ephesians 5:18 commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” The Greek word for filled means “controlled, intoxicated, permeated, thoroughly influenced, overcome by a power greater than your own.”

We know what it is to be filled with pain, with joy, or with sorrow. Being filled with excruciating pain, for example, eclipses everything else in our consciousness. We feel only the pain and fixate exclusively on it. The filling of the Holy Spirit is a similar experience—the Christian is overcome and under the influence of a power greater than himself or herself.

Scripture likens it to being under the influence of alcohol (Luke 1:15; Acts 2:4, 13–17), with little control of mind, emotions, words, or actions. In a similar way, we are to yield control of ourselves to the Holy Spirit.

This single verse contains four essential truths about the filling of the Spirit:

  1. The filling is commanded. God is not giving us a mild, optional suggestion. If you have some extra time, you might want to consider being filled with the Spirit. It’s a command: “Be filled.” And because God commands it, we know it’s possible. We’re never commanded to be indwelt, baptized, or sealed with the Spirit—those are God’s work in us at conversion—but we are commanded to be filled.
  2. The filling is passive. Think back to English class. We are not the subject of the sentence. We do not perform the filling, but are the object being acted upon. God is implied as the source. When we ask Him, He will fill us; we cannot do it ourselves.
  3. The filling is for everyone. In the original Greek, the understood you is plural, as if to say, “All of you followers of Jesus, be filled with the Spirit.” This filling is a widespread, universal offer for every believer, not one exclusive to the “spiritual elite.” It is for all of God’s children—so it’s for you.
  4. The filling is not permanent. Rather than “be filled,” some translations use the wording “be being filled”—it’s an ongoing process. We are to be continuously filled, day by day. Never in the New Testament do we see a believer baptized by the Holy Spirit more than once. But we do see multiple fillings—check out Acts 2:4, 4:8, 9:17, 13:9. There is only one baptism at conversion, but there are many fillings of the Spirit.

Because Ephesians 5:18 is a clear command, we don’t have to wonder how to apply this teaching. Simply “be filled”! Yes, even imperfect you with your feelings of inadequacy and exhaustion. Get right with the Lord and be filled—“. . . confess [your] sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Pray this: “Lord, please fill me with Your Spirit today.” Believe you have received His filling, and remember He is with you wherever you go. Then get ready to experience God’s transforming power as He lives through you.


  • When have you experienced the empowered life of the Holy Spirit controlling and living through you?
  • We must clear the way for the filing of the Holy Spirit. What do you need to confess and repent of? What acts of restitution do you need to do to make things right with others?

Father God, I worship You for who You are. Please bring to my mind any unconfessed sin and grant to me the gift of repentance. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit today and make me the person You want me to be for the fame and glory of Your name. Please help me not to quench or grieve Your Spirit. I thank You and praise You for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, praying these things in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, amen.