The Meaning of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
The Greek in this context is not referring to a one off event alone, that many Pentecostals/Charismatics would call ‘the Baptism of the Spirit’, but rather to be continual filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore a correct understanding of this verse is: ‘be being kept continually filled with the Holy Spirit’. Note also that it is more a command than advice. The command is for a continuous filling or the controlling of the Spirit of God in the believer’s life. Furthermore, because the Greek verb is passive, it indicates that the believer is filled with the Spirit by God Himself, and not that he or she can, or does, fill him or herself.
The word for ‘filled’ in the Greek, ‘pleero’, indicates being moved along by the wind, like a sailing ship, as the word was used to describe a ship at full sail. The word was also used to describe salt being added to meat to flavour and preserve it. It thus denotes the process of permeation within us. We should be so full of the Spirit, permeated by God, that we become like Him and are as the aroma of Christ to those around us perishing. (Note that becoming like and being the same as God are two entirely different things! I totally refute the Latter Rain / New Age heresies.) The word ‘pleero’ also indicates the dominance of the Spirit within, meaning we should be being under the full control of the Spirit, submitting to Jesus Christ and NOT using the Spirit for our own ends (as if we really could anyway!). It thus indicates the submitted will of the believer to God alone.
To control or not to control…
Far too many Christians nowadays see the Holy Spirit as something for them to control, rather than to be controlled by, many considering ’the anointing’ no better than a plaything under their control, theirs to yell ‘more, more’ at, so not just the person manifesting but the Holy Spirit becomes as a performing seal. There are many things wrong with the spiritual manifestations popular in the Pentecostal movement including (but not exclusively) those that were made popular by The Toronto Blessing and Brownsville revivals which include bad theology, an intentional misrepresenting of church history, lack of discernment, occultism and the putting two and two together to make five, but possibly one of the worst mistakes that abounds in modern day Pentecostalism and Charismaticism is this – many aim to control the Spirit as lords and masters (often) to further their own empires, rather than be humble servants totally controlled by the Spirit to further God’s kingdom – and His kingdom alone.
I would also like to mention that the Bible says the Holy Spirit comes to abide in a person when you are born again. When you accept Jesus into your life , believe that He died for you, and ask for forgiveness of your sinful ways you are instantly baptised with the Holy Spirit. There is no second and third occurrence etc., of being baptised by the Holy Spirit He does not leave you and then come back again for another baptism. The filling of the Holy Spirit on the other hand that that were by we ‘draw nearer and nearer’ to God through obedience to His Word. The more we listen to the gentle whispers and warnings of the Holy Spirit the more we are ‘filled’ by Him. Disobedience leads one away from God; you draw away from God.
Obedience and Filling of the Holy Spirit
Obedience = Obeying God’s Word = Repenting of sin = Filling of the Holy Spirit = More obedience = Obeying God’s Word more = Repentance of sin with increasing Reverence for God = More filling of the Holy Spirit = The Holy Spirit who leads us into ALL understanding of the Word of God (Bible) and ALL remembrance of Jesus Christ and who HE IS = And this leads us to Repentance of Sin and wanting to be more Christ like = And because of this you obey God’s commandments = God speaking to you more (filling) through His Holy Spirit = Drawing you more into God’s presence = Obeying His Word, etc.
Make sense? I really hope so.
See article on speaking in tongues