Ephesians 5:19-21: The Church-shaped Spirit Filled Life

How do you know your life is controlled by the Spirit? It is not by having visions and dreams, prophecies and tongues, or casting out demons, Judas could do all these and was not Spirit filled. Paul outlines for us in verses 18-21 what a Spirit filled life looks like. The imperative of being filled with the Spirit if obeyed results in us ‘addressing one another in psalms’, in us making melody to the Lord with our hearts, a pervasive atmosphere of thanksgiving arises, mutual submission and reverence. Test yourself to see if you are Spirit filled or walking according to the flesh. Do you seek out the saints to share in your common joy or are you isolated and self-absorbed? Do you find your own spiritual experience echoed in the songs and prayers of Scripture as well as those written by other Spirit filled people and feel the urge to sing or are you empty of joy and filled with the songs about vain things written by unsaved people? Is your heart smitten and in constant song before the Lord or is there an obsession over other things? Are you always grateful for the constant stream of grace that makes up your life and pour out thanks to God or are you covetous? Are you living humbly before others as a willing servant glad to give in any way you can or do you constantly veil your conceit and see others as an inconvenience? Do you live your life deeply conscious of Christ’s presence and will seeking to please Him and fearing to sin or are you indifferent to Christ and live as if God is not real not watching all that you do?

In this next section Paul is going to show us what the Spirit filled life looks like. If we had to answer the question what does the Spirit filled life look like, we could answer it in many ways. We could point to the fruits of the Spirit as a good summary, Paul’s view in this context is more ‘churchy’. You will remember that throughout Ephesians the idea of Jews and Gentiles being united in one body has been a central theme. Therefore unity was a central call; and the many responsibilities of what to do and what not to do to one another were emphasized. Paul chooses to describe a church shaped Spirit filled life. There are at least 3 things that we share in when the Spirit fills us. Worship, thanksgiving, and submission.