Ephesians 5: 18 (KJV)
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
Here we find a solemn caution that is applicable to all. And while those that are addressed were the saints of God, nothing can be taken for granted because they needed this exhortation. The best of saints needs to be cautioned against the worst of sins. There are the seeds of all evil in us. No previous consistency of walk, no deep experience, no holy acquaintance with God, no near walking with God, can give them the least security. But besides this, there are constitutional temptations. And while some individuals are constitutionally tempted to anger, some are tempted to vanity, some are tempted to worldliness in its excess of folly, some are tempted to untruthfulness, there are some who are tempted to drunkenness constitutionally. But besides this also, there are circumstances that oftentimes throw a man in danger here. Noah was, for aught I know, weary and tired as a husbandman; and by his inexperience, too, of the effects, he was overcome with drunkenness. We find in the case of Lot, in his secret retirement, there was in his circumstances that which exposed him to danger.
The command, “be filled with the Spirit,” is virtually an injunction to pray more fervently for enlarged spiritual communication, and to cherish those influences already enjoyed. Not only were they to possess the Spirit, but they were to be filled with the Spirit, as vessels filled to overflowing, with the Holy Ghost.
The contrast is that men are intoxicated with wine, and they attempt to “fill” themselves with it: but they cannot. Wine cannot fulfil their expectation, they cannot live habitually under its power; its fumes are slept away, and new indulgences are craved. The exhilaration which they covet can only be felt periodically, and again and again must they drain the wine cup to relieve themselves of despondency. But Christians are “filled” with the Spirit, whose influences are not only powerful, but replete with satisfaction to the heart of man. It is a sensation of want–a desire to fly from himself, a craving after something which is felt to be out of reach, an eager and restless thirst to enjoy, if at all possible, some happiness and enlargement of heart, that usually leads to intemperance. But the Spirit fills Christians, and gives them all the elements of cheerfulness and peace–genuine elevation and mental freedom–superiority to all depressing influences, and refined and permanent enjoyment. Of course, if they are so filled with the Spirit, they feel no appetite for debasing and material stimulant.
The force of the command here is a reminder for us to keep on being filled with and by the Spirit of God. As we walk with God, we are to experience the filling of the Spirit continuously, because there is the possibility that we can not be filled or be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Let no Christian allow himself in any sinful activity. Let him never fill himself with wine or strong drink, or with meat and drink to the full, for that fulness will breed all manner of sensual lusts in him: but let his desires and endeavors be carried out after the grace and Spirit of God, let him be filled therewith; for that fulness will keep the soul holy, the body chaste, and render the Christian fit for the fruitation and enjoyment of God in heaven. Take your fill of the Spirit; you can never be overfilled.
Have a Great and God filled Day