Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Excerpts from How To Be Filled With The Spirit by John Piper

... Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not be drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.” I argued Sunday morning that verses 19-21 describe the effects of being filled with the Spirit. The effect in verse 19 is very musical. Clearly joy in Christ is the mark of being filled with the Spirit. But not only joy. Also gratitude in verse 20—perpetual gratitude, gratitude for everything. (Which obviously eliminates grumbling and pouting and self-pity and bitterness and scowling and murmuring and depression and worry and discouragement and gloominess and pessimism!) But not only musical joy and universal gratitude, but also loving submission to each other’s needs (v.21). Joy, gratitude and humble love—these are the marks of being filled with the Spirit. To this should also be added boldness in witness from Acts (see Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 13:9). No one can fail to be bold and eager in witness when the Spirit is producing in him overflowing joy, perpetual gratitude and humble love. O how we need to be filled with the Spirit! Let’s seek it! Pursue it!


So drinking the Spirit means setting our minds on the things of the spirit. And setting our minds on the things of the Spirit means directing our eager attention to the teachings of the apostles about God and to the words of Jesus. If we do this long enough we will get drunk with the Spirit. In fact we will get addicted to the Spirit. Instead of chemical dependency we will develop a wonderful Spirit-dependency.

One more tip: the Holy Spirit is not like wine because he is a person and is free to come and go where he wills (John 3:8). Therefore Luke 11:13 must be added. Jesus said to his disciples, “If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” If we want to be filled with the Spirit we must pray for it. And that is just what Paul does for the Ephesians in chapter 3, verse 19. He asks his Father in heaven (v.14) that the believers “might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Drink and pray. Drink and pray. Drink and pray.


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