Wind in Your Sails
If you ever see a drunk man on the same side of the road, cross over to the other side.” That’s the advice my father gave the Hinn kids when I was growing up in the Holy Land.
Every morning my brothers and sisters walked with me to the Catholic school. And sure enough it happened – more than once. Almost by instinct, without a word we remembered Daddy’s advice and walked on the other side of the street until we were well past the drunken man.
How did we know he was intoxicated? Well, we didn’t walk up to him and say, “Mister, are you drunk?” Or “Let me smell your breath!” Of course not. Even as children we knew he was inebriated. Everything about him told us – the way he moved, the look on his face, his disheveled clothes. As they say in England, he was “three sheets to the wind.”
The truth about his ungodly behavior was simply this: He was being controlled by the wrong power. He had surrendered to the wrong influence.
The apostle Paul could not have been more blunt when he said:
“Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
What a contrast between riotous living and righteous living. Drunkenness, Paul warns, brings ungodly actions. But if man or woman can be controlled by alcohol, how much more can the Holy Spirit control a man or a woman?
Is it difficult to determine who’s in control? Not at all. Every day you meet people whose minds and hearts are light-years away from God. It’s obvious. You heard it in their language. You see it in their actions. It’s as though Satan himself is guiding every movement of their lives.
But what about the person who has had an encounter with the Holy Spirit? What are the outward signs of the Spirit-filled life? There are many, and the transformation is startling. It’s beyond explanation. Suddenly positive “manifestations” begin to multiply at every turn.
Just after he says, “Be filled with the Spirit,” Paul describes four distinct results you can expect. It is like planting seeds in the soil of the Spirit and reaping a heavenly harvest.
- Manifestation #1 Your speech will be different
The apostle said we should speak “to one another in psalms” (Ephesians 5:19). Can you imagine what an incredible world it would be if our conversation resembled what we reading the Psalms?
A recent study showed that of all the words in the English language, the word used most often is “I.” But the Spirit-led Christian has a new vocabulary. It is not self-centered. It is God-centered.
- Manifestation #2 You’ll have a new song
He says you’ll be “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). It’s much more than a new song – it’s a change that takes place in your heart. When you have been transformed on the inside, a melody will bubble up. It’s a spontaneous reaction. I don’t claim to be a singer, but I’ve had a song o my lips since the moment I met he Holy Spirit.
- Manifestation #3 You’ll start giving thanks
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.20). Suddenly you will begin to thank Him for everything. You’ll thank Him for the good, and for the not-so-good. You recognize that the Giver of every gift knows exactly what you need. The result is a transformation of your attitude. No matter what happens, you’ll say, “Thank you.”
- Manifestation #4 You’ll become a servant
Paul says, “Submitting to one another in the fear of God” (v.21). That’s what “honoring one another in love” is all about. Your heart will yearn to help people. The Holy Spirit brings you to the place where you’ll say, “Just let me know – I’ll do it!”
What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit?” Some people think it is exactly the same as driving a Honda into a service station and filling the tank with fuel. But that’s not it at all.
In my pulpit I have a bottle of oil. I use it, just as the Scripture directs me, to anoint those who come for healing. It is a simple little container, and it is filled with olive oil. But when I use it up, it’s gone. The bottle doesn’t fill itself up again.
The words “be filled” in Ephesians have no connection to a bottle or a vessel being filled. The Greek present tense is used to tell you that the filling of the Spirit is not a once-and-for-all experience. It’s a continuing experience.
Have you ever spent a day on a sailboat? It’s a great thrill. What happens to the boat when the sails are filled? The ship begins to move. That’s what Paul is telling you. He wants you to be filled, not like a container that has no action but like a sail that continues to be filled with wind. Over and over again. He wants you to move forward with the never-ending breeze of the Spirit filling your spiritual sails.