I was thinking about a verse that I have written about previously on a number of occasions and something hit me that, while I knew it, I never really thought about it.
Eph 5:18 … but be filled with the Spirit
I have always focused on the tense of the word “filled” (present continuous)… be being filled. We need to be filled continually if we are following the leading of the Spirit and using His anointing to live out our walk and be the light that is needed where He leads. And if I am being honest, I always thought that my responsibility was to “ask” to be filled in my prayers. Well, that’s part of it… but not all.
First we need to be sure that we understand that “be filled” is a once-for-all, sovereign act of God. The indwelling, baptism, and sealing of the Spirit is in no way dependent upon anything we do other than to receive Him by faith at the moment of our conversion. The “filling,” however is different. It is “conditional” because it depends on our cooperation with the “indwelling” Holy Spirit. It is not permanent and that is why Paul used the present perfect tense… be ye being filled with the Spirit. We can be filled with the Spirit one moment and the next moment we can grieve Him. Remember Peter’s response when Jesus asked him who people thought He was. The disciples answered by ranking Him with the prophets, the greatest of the past and present. But not Peter… Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus responded that… flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. So far so good for Peter.
But then Jesus began to speak about the Cross and what did Peter say? Be it far from thee, Lord, which brought a quick rebuke from Jesus… Get thee behind me Satan. Peter was a channel for the Holy Spirit one moment and for Satan the next. I know I have done likewise! That is when we need to immediately confess our sin by claiming the cleansing of 1 John 1:9 and seek a fresh filling… but that still isn’t all.
The process of continuous filling is all about The Lordship of Christ (Stephen Olford). It’s like a triangle with the base being His Lordship and one side representing the Spirit and the other the Word. What it means is that as we read and study the Word, the Spirit comes along side and brings some truth to our attention, a promise or a sin to confess and it is up to us to yield ourselves to that revelation. He can then fill us afresh with the power to turn that teaching into practical reality… here we go again; Rom 8:29. As this process continues throughout our pilgrimage in this life. The Holy Spirit enlarges our horizons while at the same time deepening our spirituality, enabling us to grow in grace if we are obedient to His voice.
We just need to remember that it is an ongoing process and we need to do our part by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us through the Word and His anointing if we are to continually… Be being filled!