When you are filled with something, that thing controls your life. Our ongoing prayer is that the Spirit will control us in every moment.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
When you are filled with something, that thing controls your life. For instance, if you are filled with anger, anger controls your life. If you are filled with bitterness, bitterness controls your life. If you are filled with alcohol (or personified as “Al K. Hall” in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union youth meetings that my mom made me attend), alcohol controls your life. You get the idea. So, Paul says, don’t be under the influence of sinful appetites that lead to destruction; instead, be controlled by the Spirit of the living God who lives in your heart.
Now for some important theology. In Scripture, we are never asked to be baptized by the Spirit. Baptism is the work of the Spirit at the moment of salvation that places us into the body of Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… (1 Corinthians 12:13). In Scripture, we are never instructed to be sealed by the Spirit. The Spirit seals us at the moment of salvation, guaranteeing that we are a child of God. …You were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit… (Ephesians 1:12). In Scripture, we are never asked to be indwelt by the Spirit. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) These are all one-time-for-all-time events. But the filling of the Spirit is different. It calls for continuous action. Our on-going prayer is that the Spirit will control us for the moment, as we face a difficult challenge, as we wait for the doctor’s report, as we enter into a difficult meeting, as we worriedly watch Wall Street.
Here’s a prayer you can pray for the control of the Spirit.
Father, this is your day on loan to me, and I want to be used by you for spiritual impact. I submit myself, my plans, my activities, and my interactions with others to you. I thank you that I have been baptized and sealed by your Spirit. I thank you that your Spirit dwells in me. Now I ask that your Spirit control every aspect of my life. Take control of my tongue, that my words will reflect your love and grace. Take control of my emotions that I may respond obediently and calmly. Take control of my thoughts, that my mind may be quickly cleansed of those things that will not honor you and be full of the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. Control my actions in such a way that others will see my deeds and know that they have been influenced by you. Give me the strength to live this day in a way that pleases you. I submit myself to your control. In Christ’s name. Amen.