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What does being filled with the Spirit mean?

Quick Answer: What does being filled with the Spirit mean? Some believe that being “filled with the Spirit” is about having a certain spiritual gift like tongues or prophecy. They imagine being “filled with the Spirit” to mean getting more of God’s Spirit, a second blessing, or an extra anointing. But Ephesians is clear that being “filled with the Spirit” is simply knowing the love of Christ and being inspired by His great love (Ephesians 3:19; 5:18-21).

Diving Deeper: Ephesians 5:18-21 is the only New Testament passage that explicitly commands Christians to be “filled with the Spirit.” The Greek literally means “be being filled.” In other words, Paul is saying we already have the Spirit, but now we can allow the Spirit to continuously inspire us.

How exactly do we let the Spirit influence us? The answer is found just two chapters earlier, in Ephesians 3:18-19. Here, Paul says believers can know the love of Christ and thereby be filled with all the “fullness of God.” So, being “filled with the Spirit” means knowing the love of Christ.

This is why Paul compares being filled with the Spirit with being drunk on wine. Why do people look to too much wine? To relax them and give them peace. What does the love of Christ do for you? It relaxes you and gives you peace. To be “filled with the Spirit” is to find relaxation, peace, and inspiration from the enormous love of God.

This is why the book of Acts cites people who were “filled with the Spirit” (inspired by God’s love) and then shared the Gospel in human languages (Acts 2:4), addressed rulers with boldness (Acts 4:8), spoke the Word of God with confidence (Acts 4:31), served food at tables (Acts 6:3), preached to those persecuting them (Acts 7:55), encouraged people with the Gospel (Acts 11:24), challenged a deceiver (Acts 13:52), and experienced joy despite persecution (Acts 13:52). Notice the variety of actions taken when “filled with the Spirit” (inspired by the love of Christ.)

So, being “filled with the Spirit” does not mean getting more of God’s presence through a second portion or second blessing. It’s also not about a particular spiritual gift. Being “filled with the Spirit” is about knowing and trusting Christ’s love, and that’s the birthright and destiny of every child of God!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. What had you thought it means to be “filled with the Spirit”?
2. Read Ephesians 3:18-19. Can you see how this passage gave the Ephesians context for “being filled” in chapter 5?
3. React to this statement: Being filled with the Spirit is about knowing and being inspired by Christ’s great love for you.


Have more questions about the Holy Spirit? Check out:
101 Bible Questions - Book101 Bible Questions: And the Surprising Answers You May Not Hear in Church is now available on Amazon!

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