Do not get drunk on wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

Ephesians 5: 18, 19

 

A few years ago there was a popular film titled 500 Days of Summer in which the lead character, Tom, is walking down the street at a time when he is in a very up mood. Suddenly, as the song “You Make My Dreams” crescendos to full volume, everyone around him starts to dance and the whole world seems to be participating in a choreographed parade of joy that proclaims Tom’s own state of being to the world. This is a memorable big moment in the narrative of the film, and it is, fortunately, not the way that real life is experienced. It is hard for me to imagine Paul dropping everything in the middle of some city market place or square and launching into an elaborate song and dance routine. He might have enjoyed the spectacle, but I don’t think that is what he had in mind here.

 

What Paul does seem to be saying is that in Christ we have something that is lasting, unchanging, and unstoppable that does fill us with a sort of joy and peace that goes beyond any that we might experience or know from all other sources. Christ’s Spirit takes us beyond the temporary and out of the perishable nature of this world. He fills us with love in an enduring way that no human relationship can ever achieve. Yet, the love that God gives to us and the wisdom that He brings to our understanding of what it means to truly love others are the most important ingredients that people require in order to live successfully in our earthly relationships. For God does not want us to focus solely on Him and forego or ignore engaging with people in our world; rather, He wants us to take the changed hearts that His presence in us creates and carry Christ’s love into all of our interaction with others.

 

For people who know Christ, His Spirit is present in us. As we surrender and submit to Jesus as our Savior and Lord we enter into relationship with God in total. This means that His Spirit enters us at this time. Yet, many Christians continue to live in reliance upon the situational and the momentary in our lives as our source of what we perceive to be joy, peace, and love. However, when we surrender to Christ and allow His Spirit to provide us with understanding of others, our perspective is changed. He takes us out of ourselves and our easily wounded, fragile egos, and Christ opens our eyes to see people in the full light of His love, mercy, and grace. As we engage with life from this perspective with the Spirit filling and guiding us, it is possible to walk through our days with a song on our lips and the world around us seeming to move in harmony with our steps.