If you ever see a drunk man on the same side of the “road, cross over to the other side.” That’s the advice my father gave the Hinn kids when I was growing up in the Holy Land.
Every morning my brothers and sisters walked with me to the Catholic school. And sure enough it happened— more than once. Almost by instinct, without a word we remembered Daddy’s advice and walked on the other side of the street until we were well past the drunken man.
How did we know he was intoxicated? Well, we didn’t walk up to him and say, “Mister, are you drunk?” Or “Let me smell your breath!” Of course not. Even as children we knew he was inebriated. Everything about him told us—the way he moved, the look on his face, his disheveled clothes.
As they say in England, he was “three sheets to the wind.”
The truth about his ungodly behavior was simply this: He was being controlled by the wrong power. He had surrendered to the wrong influence.
The apostle Paul could not have been more blunt when he said, “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). What a contrast between riotous living and righteous living.
Drunkenness, Paul warns, brings ungodly actions. But if man or a woman can be controlled by alcohol, how much more can the Holy Spirit control a man or a woman?
Is it difficult to determine who’s in control? Not at all.
Every day you meet people whose minds and hearts are light-years away from God. It’s obvious. You hear it in their language. You see it in their actions. It’s as though Satan himself is guiding every movement of their lives.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PERSON WHO HAS HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
What are the outward signs of the Spirit-filled life? There are many, and the transformation is startling. It’s beyond explanation. Suddenly positive “manifestations” begin to multiply at every turn.
Just after he says, “Be filled with the Spirit,” Paul describes four distinct results you can expect. It is like planting seeds in the soil of the Spirit and reaping a heavenly harvest.
You’ll Be Changed
The first manifestation you can expect of a Spirit-filled life is this: your speech will be different. The apostle said we should speak “to one another in psalms” (Eph. 5:19).
Can you imagine what an incredible world it would be if our conversation resembled what we read in the Psalms?
A recent study showed that of all the words in the English language, the word used most often is “I.” But the Spirit-led Christian has a new vocabulary. It is not self-centered. It is God-centered. Suddenly you are saying, “Praise the LORD” (PS. 150:1) and “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (v. 6).
Here’s the second sign Paul says you should expect: You’ll have a new song. He says you will be “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). Its much more than a new song—it’s a change that takes place in your heart. When you have been transformed on the inside, a melody will bubble up. It’s a spontaneous reaction.
I don’t claim to be a singer, but I’ve had a song on my lips since the moment I met the Holy Spirit.
The third manifestation is that you’ll start giving thanks: “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20).
Suddenly you will begin to thank Him for everything.
You’ll thank Him for the good, and for the not-so-good.
You recognize that the giver of every gift knows exactly what you need. The result is a transformation of your attitude. No matter what happens, you’ll say, “Thank you.”
The fourth obvious sign is that you’ll become a servant.
Paul says, “Submitting to one another in the fear of God” (v. 21). That’s what “honoring one another in love” is all about. Your heart will yearn to help people. The Holy Spirit brings you to the place where you’ll say, “Just let me know—I’ll do it!”
THREE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT ENTERED MY LIFE.
First, the Word of the Living God became absolute life to me. No longer did I read a little from Matthew and a little from the Psalms. I opened the Bible and felt as if I were inside of it—seeing it “live and in living color.” The voice of the Holy Spirit led me to a great adventure in the Scriptures.
Second, my prayer life changed completely. Gone were the hours of praying, yawning, and repeating myself. The Holy Spirit and I were in conversation. He made God real.
He gave me power and a boldness that made me feel ten feet tall.
And third, He transformed my daily Christian life. I actually began to sing and didn’t know why until I read the words: “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:18-19).
What began to happen to me was not natural—it was supernatural. The Spirit had taken over. He began to baptize me with a love for people—and especially for my own father. It was exactly as the Word declared: “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
I became such a changed person that my natural instincts and reactions were replaced by the leading of the Spirit. I learned what it meant to “crucify the flesh.” And I realized that I couldn’t do it by myself. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”