Focal Passages: Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 5:17-21; 6:18
What controls you? While the world at large is controlled by numerous external influences, Christians are called to be controlled by the internal influence of the Holy Spirit. Both singers and preachers tend to follow the examples of their heroes, but computer programmers warn us of a potential danger when they say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If you are drunk with wine, or anything else the world offers, you will be controlled by it. On the other hand, the continual filling of the Holy Spirit produces the fruits of the Spirit, including self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
While worldly influences produce self-glorification, the Spirit’s filling produces worship and humility that glorifies God and edifies the church. Instead of focusing on ourselves we worship God as we also exhort and encourage fellow believers. The influence of our flesh might lead us to groan about a song we don’t really want to sing, but the Spirit’s filling reveals that a brother or sister in Christ may need to hear that song. Doing things our way usually leads to ingratitude and arrogance, providing a basis for complaining when we don’t get our way. When we are filled with the Spirit we understand that we are called to thankfulness for all God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Such thanksgiving can only produce mutual humility since it’s not about us; it’s about Him!
The Spirit’s filling also transforms our prayer life. In our flesh, prayer becomes a laundry list of things we present to God while our minds wander toward more immediate concerns. Conversely, the Holy Spirit leads us to pray worshipfully and in line with the will of God. Instead of fast food drive-thru prayers, we pray passionately as we speak God’s heart back to Him. We not only persevere in prayer, but we also begin to pray for brothers and sisters in Christ as they seek to serve the Lord. Even if we are too overwhelmed to know how to pray, we can be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10) as the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.