Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Ephesians 5:18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit"
Introduction: The post-conversion experiential walk with God is what we call sanctification
Truly, the grace of sanctification emanates from the converted heart like a stem from a root. The stem of sanctification ought to then spring forth a blooming flower that emits the sweet aroma of a life saturated with Jesus Christ. Sanctification informs the post-conversion Christian life with respect to the priority of experiencing and knowing God on a daily-basis. It's character is ongoing. Sanctification entails a process whereby the Holy Spirit and the Christian are in a cooperative work of making that Christian more-and-more like Jesus.
The heart of one's experiential walk with God - the Spirit-filled life
The emphasis on having an "experiential walk with God" is vital. How is it that one maintains such a walk? Ephesians 5:14-18 lays out the repeated, central reality to all-post-conversion Christianity that takes serious any experience with God:
"For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."
This emphasis of "experiencing life with God" flies as a banner over the Christian life. It is one thing to get started. It is one thing to shoot forth with that initial excitement of being redeemed and born-again in conversion. It is one thing to follow through in believer's baptism following one's salvation - as vital as such things are. Yet, with that said, the harder reality is the maintenance of "staying in the saddle" so-to-speak.
How is it that we come to see walking with God in daily experience go from duty to delight? How can the Christian ever expect to go places with God in their prayer life, Bible reading, church attendance and lifestyle?
Ephesians 5:18 gives the answer: "be filled with the Spirit". To be Spirit-filled has nothing to do with speaking in tongues or undergoing a second work of grace or anything of that sort. Rather, the "Spirit-filled" life has everything to do with a repeated, what would hopefully be daily surrender to and leading by the Holy Spirit in the believer. Spirit-filled living refers to both a gradual moral improvement in the Christian life and what ought to be a deepening work of supernatural power coursing through the Christian's giftings and service. Others ought to be able to sense when they are around someone who is regularly living by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 plainly states: "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." To be "filled" with the Spirit simply means I am being "influenced" by Him.
As I give myself to God in scripture reading, prayer, church attendance, evangelism and other means of strengthening grace - my faith will not just crawl, but soar. Paul explains the result of the repeated, post-conversion reality of the Spirit-filled life in Ephesians 5:19-21 -
"speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."
The Spirit-filled life is the yielded-life. The Spirit-filled life not only yields to God in submission but simultaneously acts forth with God in obedience. The heart of an ongoing experiential walk with God is the Spirit-filled life.
This is what the Christian life is all about: knowing God and making Him known. May you and I dear reader, grow in our experience with God by being those who regularly are filled by, influenced by the Holy Spirit as we give ourselves to His word, His people, prayer and the sharing of our faith with others.