Soarin – a ride in Disneyworld. But also a challenge to us as Christians.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will SOAR ON wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40 v31) ?
What does it mean to soar like an eagle? That’s a good question and we’ve been looking at that in our summer Sunday morning series! The eagle is a majestic creature, who soars far above the crazy hustle and bustle of those on the earth. From his vantage point of 10,000 feet up, he sees with a keen eye and a different perspective. How can we live like that?
“Those who hope in the Lord....” do this. The Hebrew word Quavah means be bound to, connected to, joined to. Those whose lives are closely connected to the Lord will soar.
Last Sunday, we thought about how we ‘soar’ and develop the QUAVAH relationship by obeying the command of Ephesians 5 v18 “Be not drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery but be filled with the Spirit”. It’s interesting to see how Paul sets out this contrast. “Be not drunk.....be filled”. This contrast is seen in other places in scripture. It was said of John the Baptist for example before he was born that he would not drink wine or any fermented drink but would be “filled with the Spirit”(Luke 1 v15). Likewise, when the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the disciples were accused of having had too much wine (v13).
Clearly, Paul’s trying to point out that alcohol may affect the brain but we are to be totally influenced by the Spirit. Be filled – this is a present, continuous, imperative suggesting that this is to be a moment by moment, day by day experience. The word ‘filled’ (Gk.= ‘pleroo’) suggest the idea of pressure, like the wind on sails, directing it or of permeation, like salt on meat or an alka seltzer in a glass of water. Totally permeated through and through. This is different from the baptism or sealing or indwelling of the Spirit. Every Christian possesses the Holy Spirit, for the essence of salvation is that we are regenerated from death to life and thus are able to understand our sinfulness and the Saviour who died for us. Regeneration leads to salvation and the Spirit comes into our lives to empower us to live the new life we now have in Christ.
But the filling is different. This is a command that has to be obeyed and it must surely be necessary as well as possible to be able to obey the commands of God with his help. The result of the filling though according to the following verses in Ephesians 5 and into chapter 6 is seen in attitude (singing and praising) submission to one another and healthy relationships in marriage, home and work. The filling of the Spirit has immensely practical day to day implications for the most basic elements of life.
So how can we do that? Maybe a clue is to be found in the parallel passage in Colossians chapter 3. Not exactly the same as Ephesians 5, but very similar. And note that here we are told to let the Word or message of Christ dwell in us richly. Here’s the clue to the filling. The Word. For the Word and the Spirit always operate together. In preaching, the Spirit takes the Word and applies it. So if we are to experience the filling of the Spirit of God; the Word has to be absolutely central to our lives. We are to be Bible people through and through. Starting today. This is one key way we are to obey the command.
I don’t know about you but I want my life to count for something and be the best husband, father and man I can be. So I want to obey this command with God’s help and live like the eagle – rather than the pigeon I often am!!