In my previous post I discussed the meaning of being filled with the Spirit. The next question that I want to address is, how does the believer receive this filling? It is important to point out that the means in which one is “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) has nothing to do with self-achievement, speaking in tongues, or being a part of some super-spiritual experience – whatever that may be.
In order to understand the means in which we can receive this filling, it will be helpful to consider what Paul wrote in his epistle to the Colossians. Colossians 3:16-4:1 is a parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18-6:9. Both of these letters were written by Paul at around the same time, and were delivered by the same person to the destinations (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7).
Notice an interesting comparison:
|Colossians 3:16-4:1||Ephesians 5:18-6:9|
Did you notice that both of these passages have identical results? However, the cause for these results is seemingly different. In Ephesians 5:18 it says, “be filled with the Spirit” but in Colossians 3:16 it says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” What does this mean? Both of these work hand in hand. Being “filled with the Spirit” occurs by means of “the word of Christ” being at home within you. To be “filled with the Spirit” does not involve self-achievement, speaking in tongues, or being a part of some super-spiritual experience, instead it is simply letting “the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” The “word of Christ” is a special designation for Scripture. The Christian is to saturate themselves with Scripture! The psalmist declared, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). If you are going to be filled with the Spirit, you must “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” I’m sure most of you are familiar with John Bunyan, the author of the famous Pilgrims Progress. He is an excellent example of one who is saturated with the Word of Christ. This is what Charles Spurgeon said of him,
“Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress — that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere — his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.”
So then, the way in which the believer is filled with the Spirit is to consume themselves with Scripture and obey it. It is to live in such a way that all our thinking is dominated and controlled by what Scripture says. Notice again that in Colossians 3:16 Scripture is called the “word of Christ.” He should be our ultimate example.To be filled with the Spirit means: the Spirit of God, controls the people of God, by means of the word of God. When the believer takes heed to the Word of God they are filled with the Spirit of God.