Choosing What Controls You

Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.
–Ephesians 5:18

In Ephesians 5:18, Paul wrote, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” This is the foundational verse in the Bible about being filled with–that is, being controlled by–the Holy Spirit. I want you to notice something important in this short verse: being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command, not a promise.

That is different than the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Remember, that is the process by which the Holy Spirit changes us from being guilty, disobedient sinners into forgiven, obedient disciples of Christ, as well as connects us to Jesus Christ and to other Christians.

But never in the Bible is the phrase “baptism with the Spirit” used as a command. Never does God say to us as Christians, “Be baptized with the Spirit of God.” Do you know why that is? Because there is nothing we can do to baptize ourselves with the Spirit. That is something God has to do. It would be like God saying to me, “Robert, have brown eyes.” Well, no matter how hard I try, I can never give myself brown eyes. That is something God does for me. It is the same way with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the only one who can baptize us with the Spirit, and it happens at the moment of our salvation.

However, in Ephesians 5:18 we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. That is our responsibility, not God’s responsibility. You and I have to choose whether we are going to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.

For example, let’s say your colleague or your loved one says something that ticks you off royally. You have a string of words you are ready to unleash in response, but then you hear an inner prompting that says, “Hold back. Keep your cool. You are going to spend months cleaning up this relationship if you say that.” In that instant, you have a choice: Are you going to be controlled by anger, or are you going to be controlled by the Spirit?

Or maybe you are sitting in front of the computer screen, and an invitation pops up to join one of those sites you know you should not go into. You are tempted to satisfy your curiosity, but that inner voice is speaking to you: “Shut it down right now. Get up. Walk away.” In that instant, you have a choice: Are you going to be controlled by lust, or are you going to be controlled by the Spirit? Being controlled by the Spirit is a command, not a promise.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Second Blessing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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