Have you ever been in love? You know the feeling, the one that grows richer the longer you know the person. How many of you have someone you love very much? Have you ever loved someone that the impact of them on your life was so visibly evident that people noticed? I think that what Paul was talking about when he said to be “filled with the Spirit” was a lot like being in love, truly being in love with Christ. When you love someone deeply and personally in the sense that you might love your wife or husband, or perhaps your mother or father, or a best friend, that love will affect the way you act. It will affect the way you see life, how you make choices, and what you think is important. Being filled with the Spirit is to be so in love with Christ that it changes the way you think about everything. What He thinks matters to you. Does He think you should take this job? Does He think it would be a good idea to do this at work? Would he be pleased with me if I give Him this gift? When you are so full of loving Him that it motivates you in every area of your life, then you are being filled with His Spirit.
Paul tells us not to be drunk with wine but to be filled with the spirit. In some ways being drunk with wine is analagous. When you are drunk, the alchohol affects your brain, hindering its ability to think like normal. Your thought and actions are affected. You walk different, drive different, speak different and you feel different when you get up in the morning.
To achieve this filling of God’s Spirit two things must happen. First, one must have God’s Spirit, and the only way to do that is to call upon the name of Jesus Christ and recieve the gift of salvation. The second thing is more involved. You must pursue Christ as a lover pursues the one he cherishes. You must read about Him, think about Him, talk to Him. You need to give Him gifts and spend time with Him. You need trust Him, and you need to show Him you can be trusted. In short, you need to love Him, and that with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. That is the first commandment and one full of promise.
You know how you know when you’re succeeding in being filled with the Spirit? You’ll know if you are full of the Spirit of God when you see fruit, specifically, the Fruit of the Spirit. When your life begins to exhibit gentleness, goodness, longsuffering, temperance, faith, joy, love and peace. That’s how you know your love for Christ is reaching maturity. That’s how you know that you are full of His Spirit. Because His Spirit is evident in you, overflowing from you.
So lets be so in love with Christ that it affects every aspect of how we live our lives. Lets study Him and what He likes and what He wants. Let’s give him gifts, spend time with Him, ask Him things, read about Him, and remember the days that are important to Him. This is Christianity at its core, at its best. Let the love affair begin!