What are you full of?


I was recently challenged by the following quote from Amy Carmichael:

“If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary’s love.  For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.”

If you are anything like me, when the expectations and responsibilities of life and ministry become overwhelming and seemingly impossible to handle, our children and spouse are often the recipients of our “overflow”…harsh and frustrated words and actions.

But, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, this should not be the case.  Ephesians 5:18 is where we find this command, but what exactly does it mean?  I am not a Greek scholar, but in studying the word translated “filled” in this passage (pleroo), there are three shades of meaning that help me understand this command more fully.  First, there is the idea of pressure, like the pressure wind exerts on sails to push a boat forward.  The Holy Spirit gives us the pressure or impetus to move forward in the path of obedience when we are yielded to Him.  Second, is the idea of permeation.  Just like water is permeated with flavor when you add a powdered drink mix, so the Holy Spirit wants to permeate our life so others around us can unmistakably “taste” His presence in our lives by our attitude and actions.  Finally, there is the idea of domination or total control.  No longer should we be controlled by our old, sin nature after salvation, but by God Himself, the Holy Spirit, living within us.

Colossians 3:16a states the idea of being filled with the Spirit a little differently.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”  This tells me that the way to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Word of God.  I need to know the truth contained in the Word and obey it.  As I do so, the Holy Spirit keeps filling me, which is the idea behind “be filled” in Ephesians 5:18.  It is not a once-and-done action, but a continual action, resulting in my “overflow” being more godly and sweet rather than harsh and bitter.

I encourage you today to recommit yourself to spending time in God’s Word in obedience to Colossians 3:16.  Allow God’s Word and His Spirit to pressure, permeate, and dominate your life so that when you are jarred by the high expectations and unrelenting responsibilities of your life and ministry, what spills out is sweet and God-honoring and edifying to those to whom you are called to minister.

What does your overflow say you are full of today?


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