Meditations on Ephesians 5:18-21

Unbridled Joy

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

It was an early Sunday morning when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in Jerusalem. A peaceful dawn was suddenly shattered by the sound of a howling wind filling the streets. The roar must have been deafening. People rushed out of their homes to see what they heard but they were left bewildered. They expected to see rooftops being blown off and trees being ripped up by their roots. Imagine their surprise when not a breath of wind was stirring. The leaves on the trees drooped peacefully but what was that noise?

As the people gathered, the apostles poured out of the upper room and into the streets praising God. What was going on? Someone, seeing the apostles’ giddy expressions, suspected: “They’re drunk!” (Acts 2:13)

The Apostle Peter laughing with them explained, “These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It is only 9:00 in the morning!” and then he began preaching the first gospel sermon.

In worship, have you ever been so happy people accused you of being drunk? It has probably been a while (if ever). Normally, Christians, by the scowls on their judgmental faces, seem to deny there is ever a time for joy but it hasn’t always been that way. Listen to the Bible:

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;

let them ever sing for joy,

and spread your protection over them,

that those who love your name may exult in you (Psalm 51:11)


Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11)

Let those who delight in my righteousness

shout for joy and be glad

and say evermore,

“Great is the Lord,

who delights in the welfare of his servant!”

Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness

and of your praise all the day long (Psalm 35:27, 28).


Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (1 Peter 1:8).


I want that joy! The Ephesians did too but Paul explains, the Christian joy doesn’t come from a bottle. It is a joy rooted in the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit!”

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