What does it mean to be "filled" with the Holy Spirit?

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In his letter to the Ephesians Paul uses the term "be filled" or "keep on being filled" with the Holy Spirit. "Don't be drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit," and then he goes on to describe what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit by singing and so on, like that. To be filled with the Spirit means that a believer is walking with the Spirit or is keeping in step with the Spirit, to refer to what Paul says in the book of Galatians. It is to be obedient. It is to be filled with joy. It is to be, really, I would say, it's to be in our experience what we already are in our position. And this is something that is determined to some degree by the choices and the actions of the believer of himself or herself. If we choose to take off the old self and put on the new self, if we choose to worship and trust God and repent of known sin and those types of behaviors, then the Holy Spirit is free to fill us with himself. And he is the source of our power for obedience. So, as I put to death, or mortify, the deeds of my flesh, the Holy Spirit finds that attractive. As I repent of sin, as I confess, as I love my brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit finds those behaviors attractive and fills us with his Spirit. We're able to quench the Holy Spirit. We're able to grieve the Spirit by our bad choices and bad actions. So, to be filled with the Spirit means to walk in conformity with his will and his expectations. What it results in would be the fruit of the Spirit. As we are filled with the Spirit we exhibit love, joy, peace, patience and so on.

Answer by Rev. Mike Osborne

Rev. Mike Osborne is Associate Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Orlando, FL