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Christ is for us to live.

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We should not live American or Chinese; we should not live old folks or young people; we should all live Christ. Whether you are humble or proud, pleasant or tough, does not matter. Not only when you hate people but even when you love them, you may not be living Christ. The Bible is not a book of ethics, teaching you to love rather than hate; its message is that we should live Christ. We are to be neither moral nor immoral. If God wanted good men, He could create billions of them. But He cannot create people who live Christ. God is omnipotent, but He cannot live Christ for you.

He needs you to live Christ. The world has many good people, but where are those who live Christ? But now your crudeness and toughness have worn off, and you seldom offend your wife. Please be assured that God does not want your kindness and gentleness any more than He wanted your crudeness and toughness. He wants you to live Christ. In I was a young man staying in Shanghai. Two or three times a week I would go to visit Brother Nee and spend the afternoon with him. One afternoon we sat down together, he in a rocking chair and I on the sofa.

My answer was obviously right, but Brother Nee shook his head. Another long silence ensued.

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He would not explain further, though I kept begging him to do so. Patience is Christ. What is this? Within a few days, the light came. I saw that patience is Christ because Christ is my life. Every human virtue is Christ. Because He is my life, He is my everything. I was so exhilarated I felt like a bird soaring in the air.

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That very day I began to delve into the book of Colossians. Do you live Christ? Every day we should live Christ. This is not the only occasion in Scripture where these two concepts are used in conjunction with one another. Luke records that Zacharias heard an angel indicate that his son, John the Baptist, "would drink no wine or liquor, but would be filled with the Holy Spirit" Luke Later Luke would record that on Pentecost the apostles were "filled with the Holy Spirit" Acts , and observers mocked them, saying, "They are full of sweet wine" Acts What do these two concepts have in common that would cause Paul to employ them in contrastual comparison?

When a person is drunk it is usually obvious from the way he behaves. He does not need a sign hanging around his neck which reads, "I am drunk! The alcohol affects his feet, his mind, his tongue, and his relationships. Interestingly enough, in the immediate context of his command, Paul refers to being "careful how you walk" Eph.

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  6. The effects of being filled with the Spirit, like those of getting drunk, will affect one's walk, thought, talk and relationships. The process of getting drunk and being filled with the Spirit also have some similarities.

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    There is nothing mysterious or mystical about getting drunk. A person simply consumes enough alcohol until they are captivated, motivated and activated by the alcoholic "spirits. The comparison that Paul is making then becomes obvious: "Do not be captivated, motivated and activated by the alcoholic spirits, but be captivated, motivated and activated by the Holy Spirit. People can be intoxicated with politics, business, entertainment, even their "wife's breasts" Prov. Christians are not to abandon themselves in excess, dissipation or debauchery to any object or activity, but are to submit to the personal activity of the Spirit of Christ.

    The contrasted comparison of "getting drunk" and "being filled with the Spirit" provides us with a basic concept of what it means to "be filled with the Spirit. Paul is commanding us, "Do not be controlled by alcoholic spirits, but be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Do not be under the influence of the alcoholic spirits, but be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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    Do not abandon your personality to the alcoholic substance, but voluntarily surrender your behavior to the Lordship of the Spirit of Christ. As dependent, contingent and derivative creatures, we will always be controlled by a spirit-being other than ourselves. Man never operates in a spiritual vacuum.

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    8. God's intent is that Christians who have received the Spirit of Christ into their spirit Rom. Since we are derivative beings, the controlling activity of "being filled with the Spirit" is not something that is autonomous and self-generated. It is not the activity of self-effort coming from within ourselves. There is a divine consignor who supplies, conveys, dispatches, delivers and imparts this controlling activity within the Christian. It is not an attainment, but an obtainment derived from the ontological presence of God within the spirit of the Christian.

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      When Paul commands that we "be filled with the Spirit," the Greek verb that he employs is in the passive voice. This does not mean that the Christian is a passive object, unengaged in the process of "being filled with the Spirit. A person does not get drunk passively, but by actively partaking of the alcoholic beverage. The Christian, exercising his faculties of choice, voluntarily surrenders to the control of God's Spirit, receptive to God's activity in his behavior.

      The passive voice in the Greek language indicates that the subject of the verb is being acted upon. The understood subject is "you all," and the One who is to be allowed to act upon the freely chosen behavior of all Christians is God. God is not only the supplier of the activity of the filling of the Spirit, but that which He supplies is the ontological activity of His own Being, expressive of His own character. The Spirit of God is both the Giver and the Gift.

      This is why the Greek preposition en which Paul uses when he commands us to "be filled with the Spirit" is alternately translated both as "be filled by the Spirit" and "be filled with the Spirit. Many of the misunderstandings of what is involved in the "filling of the Spirit," stem from a truncated theological understanding of the triune Godhead. The ontological content of the filling of the Spirit involves the divine activity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Attempts to force separated function within the trinity of the Godhead will inevitably lead to perverted understanding of God's activity within the Christian. Reiteratively, it should also be noted that the content of this filling activity does not imply or involve the supplying of any additional divine substance.

      God and His activity are a unity that cannot be fragmented. The Christian is "complete in Christ" Col. To be filled with the Spirit is not our receiving more of the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit being allowed to have more control of our behavior. The activity of being filled or controlled by the Spirit of God is not a singular, static, once-and-for-all experience.

      It is not an existential event that we forever look back on, remembering its impact on our life. It is not a "filling" of yesteryear that imparts to the Christian a level of spirituality, never to be diminished or forsaken. Previously we noted that regeneration is the punctiliar crisis that is designed to lead to the process of allowing the risen Lord Jesus to control our behavioral expression as Christians.

      When Paul commanded that we "be filled with the Spirit," the verb that he used was in the present tense. This can be translated and interpreted as a continuous present tense wherein we are to "be continuously being filled with the Spirit. There is nothing static about a spring of water.

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      It is ever-active. The dynamic of Christ's life operative in the behavior of the Christian is to be continuously allowed to function. How does a person who is drunk stay drunk? He must continue to partake of the alcohol. Likewise, the Christian must continue to be receptive to the activity of the Spirit of God.