What Does it Say?
Ephesians 5:18–20 (ESV) And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
GOD’S WORD TRANSLATION: Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Does it Mean?
When believers think about being filled with the Holy Spirit, they usually think of having an Acts chapter two experience where God “pours out” or “rains down” the Spirit. And thank God He does that. But what we often overlook is what the Bible says about “staying full of the Spirit.” The Greek word translated “be filled” is in the present tense, which tells us that Paul means, “continue to be filled with the Spirit.” Then Paul tells us how we can continue to be filled—and stay filled—with the Spirit. And most all of it centers around the speaking of certain kinds of words. He said we can be filled by speaking or singing Scripture, such as psalms from the Bible. That shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus said in John 6:63, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” And we know that the Holy Spirit inspired all of God’s Word, so when we are being filled with the Word of God we’re also being refilled with the Spirit. Then Paul said, “hymns.” This is singing songs that are not necessarily directly from Scripture, but they are scriptural, and about the truths of Scripture. Rehearsing the truths of God’s Word also refills us. And then Paul mentions, “spiritual songs.” This includes singing songs in your spiritual language (tongues), and also includes praying in tongues. Then Paul says, “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” So singing out praise and worship to God—both aloud and in your heart—also helps us stay full of the Spirit. And then Paul says, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” so giving thanks to God for His blessings and goodness also helps us be filled with the Spirit. And the words, “addressing one another” mean that these words that fill us with the Spirit can also be sung or spoken when we gather together.
What Does it Mean to Us?
It’s very simple … God is calling us to continually be filled with the Spirit by speaking all of these kinds of words—both by ourselves and when we gather together.
Take some time to do each of these. Pray or sing Scripture, such as some of the psalms. Sing out hymns and worship songs that speak scriptural truth. Pray and sing in spiritual language (if you don’t yet have yours, ask God to give it to you). Sing out praise and worship to God, aloud when you can, and in your heart when you can’t. And speak out thanksgiving to God for all of His blessings, goodness and faithfulness.