Being filled with the Spirit and not drunk on wine (Sealed with the Spirit 5)

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit.  I have often heard two illustrations for this.

  1. That we are like jugs and the Holy Spirit like water. Just as the jug may lose water as it is drunk or spilt, so we can lose some of the fullness of the Spirit and need to be refilled.
  2. That we are like tyres full of air. Again, gradually over time, air goes out from the tyre and it needs refilling.

The problem with both of these illustrations is that they treat the Holy Spirit as an object, a thing rather than a person. The image of air in the tyre probably fits a little better than the image of water because of its focus on air (pneuma). However both images are faulty.

Paul contrasts being filled with the Spirit with being drunk on wine. Just as a person who is drunk is under the influence of alcohol, so to be filled with the Spirit means to be under his influence in every area of our life.

This is not a substance filling us up but rather a relationship with the person who has come to take charge of our lives.


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