Ephesians 5:15-21


We’ve all seen the effects of intoxication, the impact of someone being filled with alcohol. It changes their behavior, the way they speak, and how they walk. Scripture says a believer’s life is marked by an intoxication of sorts – not one drunk with wine or another alcoholic beverage but instead filled by the Holy Spirit.

This holy intoxication is contrasted by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:18-21 HCSB, “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Paul’s words imply a command, not a choice, that was for all believers. Once you have decided to give your life to Christ, you have been given the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the degree to which a believer experiences the filling of the Spirit entirely depends upon how willing they are to surrender themselves to Christ.

Many Christians walk around unaware of how to experience this ongoing filling of the Spirit. Paul tells us that this pouring in only happens when we freely surrender first to Christ and yield our lives to Him. The continual pouring into our hearts comes through the life of a believer who chooses to minister to others, worship Jesus and drink of His Word. These aren’t actions done solely on Sunday mornings, but rather a chosen lifestyle of speaking life and encouragement to those we encounter, praising God throughout our daily lives, and consistently finding wisdom, strength and knowledge in the pages of Scripture.

The truth is, people who live continuously like this are noticed by others for their intoxication to the only thing that can satisfy: Jesus Christ, who changes everything about them. Let God pour into you His Spirit so that you can live under its influence all the days of your life!

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Getting Started

  1. What are some things that happen when someone is under the influence of alcohol?
  2. Why do you think Paul used this contrast of filling ourselves with wine versus the Holy Spirit? How is living a life in the Spirit like being intoxicated?

Let’s Get Personal

  1. As you look at your own life, is it marked by the filling and power of the Holy Spirit?
  2. What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Do you come from a tradition that tends to ignore or accentuate the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer?When have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Describe that experience in connection to how you were ministering to others, living a life of worship, and reading your Bible. Was there a correlation between your experience and the filling of your soul with service, worship and Scripture?
  3. Do you think Christians today tend to forget or underestimate the power and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives? Why or why not?
  4. If Paul says the filling of us with the Holy Spirit is not optional, what do you think tends to keep you from experiencing it at times?

Take the Next Step

  1. Think about your life and how much you experience the filling of the Spirit. What is your life needs to grow so that the Holy Spirit’s work in you can overflow? Do you need to pay attention and minister to those around you more? Do you struggle to worship on days other than Sunday? Do you need to commit to regularly reading your Bible? What are one or two action steps you can do in those areas this week?
  2. When we fully understand the power of the Holy Spirit, our understanding of the power of prayer changes. How is your view of prayer impacted when you realize how powerful the Holy Spirit can be? How can you exercise that power in your prayer life this week?
  3. What are some things that keep you from experiencing the Spirit’s filling in your life? How can you handle those distractions this week? Make a plan to keep yourself on track so that the Spirit can enter in!
  4. Want to dig deeper? Take a look at the following passages: Acts 2:4, 12-17; 4:31; 6:5; 7:55; 13:9, 45, 52; Revelation 3:17; Luke 4:28-30; Proverbs 23:19-21; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 7:39; 16:6, 33; Luke 1:15; 4:1-2; 11:13; Mark 1:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Colossians 2:16-17; 3:16-17; Galatians 5:16-17; and Matthew 16:24.

Renew Your Mind

“And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, . . .”

Ephesians 5:18