It’s a command to be obeyed manifesting itself in four outcomes. It’s not a check-off-the-box, once-and-done command. While it begins with a once-for-all experience, the nature of the command is such that it “must continue thereafter as a moment-by-moment process” (WM). While the command is obeyed through a number of different actions, or spiritual disciplines, it is more of a continuing dynamic to be engaged than it is a recipe to be followed. And this morning, as I hover over Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians, it’s the integral nature of the Trinity within this command that captures my thoughts. For it is with the Spirit, to the Father, in the name of the Son.
. . . be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:18b-21 ESV)
Be being filled. That’s the literal translation of this command. Continually cause to abound. Constantly make full. Without ceasing do what needs to be done to ensure a liberal supply.
And the water for the jar? The air for the balloon? The fuel for the tank? It’s the living Spirit of God. Though, when we first believed, we were baptized by the Spirit (1Cor. 12:13), indwelt by the Spirit (John 14:16), anointed by the Spirit (1John 2:27), and sealed by the Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14), we are to do our part that we might know His continual filling–the full potential of His active agency in our lives on a day by day, moment by moment basis.
How we do that is a subject for another post, but suffice to say, “It ain’t rocket science.” Think the fundamentals of walking the walk and you’re doing what needs to be done to fill the cistern afresh with living water.
And while the outcome of being filled specifically leads to speaking in song, singing in your heart, giving thanks for everything, and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ, at the macro-level what impresses me is that being continually filled with the Spirit is evidenced in a perpetual dynamic of worship directed to the Father all occurring by the authority of the Son.
Want to interact with the Triune God? Want to participate in a heavenly occupation while here on earth? Then take serious this command. Do what needs to be done to foster the unrestricted access of the Spirit in our lives. And then let Him open our mouths to sing to one another in old songs and new, the instrumentation sourced ultimately in our own hearts without need for any other band. And regardless of the circumstance, He will bring to mind that bounty for which we can be thankful in all situations. Let that flow through us and let us give thanks for everything.
And it will be received of the Father as it delivered according to the will of the Son.
He who is holy, holy, holy–He who dwells in unapproachable light– will set His throne among the praise of His people (Ps. 22:3). And His people will know anew that the curtain has been torn from top to bottom and access has been provided into His holy presence as we again boldly approach His throne of grace.
Reminded afresh that this access has been secured by the finished work of the cross. That it has been assured through the empty tomb. That the blood have been applied once for all for our sin by a faithful High Priest and is sufficient to warrant free access into the courts of the Almighty. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, worship and praise and thanksgiving that is sourced in the Spirit and offered to the Father echoes in heaven. And the angels rejoice in it. And the Father delights in it.
O that we might be people who worship not only in truth but also with the Spirit. Fueled by a fresh filling on a regular basis . . . gathering together as He has asked us to do . . . singing to one another while seeking to serve one another . . . offering the sacrifice of our lips, the fruit of praise and thanksgiving . . .
. . . with the Spirit, to the Father, in the name of the Son.
All through the grace of our Triune God . . . all for the glory of our Triune God.