July 28, 2009

Filled With the Spirit

Ephesians 5:1-20

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit …
Ephesians 5:18


We all allow habits and patterns to develop in our lives. And many of them are less than helpful at best— and destructive at worst. Whether it’s logging into that chat room, or not being able to overcome our bad temper, we all know of areas in our lives that seem to have more control over us than we have over them.

Every now and then we make noble promises that things are going to change. We set our jaw, muster our strength, and declare that we are going to win the battle against behaviors that are harmful to us. And through our gritty resolve we often do win—for a week or two.

But propping up our self-will is not what the Bible means when it speaks of self-control. Depending on our own willpower is not reliable.

We will never succeed in changing our outward behavior unless we first allow the Spirit to transform us inwardly.

If I’m ever going to improve in self-control, I first have to have Christ in control of my life. I need to have Jesus take over my whole being: body, spirit, heart, will, and mind. The person who knows and enjoys self-control is the person filled by the Holy Spirit and transformed to want to live God’s way.

Only when we “live by the Spirit” can we “keep in step with the Spirit” (see Galatians 5:25).

Eternal God, I submit my life to you. Holy Spirit, fill me in such a way that Christ has control in my life and that I want to live in obedience to him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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