- What did you experience with God this week?
- In the last few days, did you have the opportunity to share an experience with God with someone close to you that doesn’t know Jesus yet? Or could you pray for them or help them practically?
- Do you need God‘s help in an area of your life?
▶ Pray together: Give thanks for your experiences, ask God for help where you need it.
▶ Pray together to learn new things about God and that your relationship with God deepens and gets stronger.
- Read the passage silently. What words or phrases stick out?
- One person reads the passage out loud.
- One person retells the passage in his/her own words (Bibles closed).
- If necessary, the others complement what was said (Bibles closed).
Ephesians 5:8-218 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
- Everyone by themselves:
- What words or phrases stick out now? Are there any differences to what you noticed before?
- Why do you feel drawn to those words or phrases?
- What could God be telling you?
- What can you learn about mankind?
- Share in the group.
- What kind of a lifestyle does Paul encourage the Ephesians to live (v. 8-17)?
- How does Paul refer to the Holy Spirit?
- Why does Paul compare being filled with the Holy Spirit with drunkenness?
- Can you see the effects of the Holy Spirit in your life (see scripture comments)?
- Are you led by the Holy Spirit or driven by something else? What would your Christian friends say?
Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will flow like a river of living waters from our lives if we believe (John 7:37-39). We received the Holy Spirit when we became followers of Jesus but we are not automatically filled. Similar to a fire dwindling in oxygen-deprived air, the Holy Spirit can be quenched by “bad air”, such as unrepented sin we keep in our lives. “Do not quench the Spirit”, Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
- How can the Holy Spirit flow freely through you? What could hinder Him?
- Where are you struggling yourself?
- Are you ready to hand over your own expectations, ideals, attitudes and efforts, but also your defeats and your shortcomings to God?
If yes, then ask the Lord now to fill you with His Spirit. The following two steps can help you with that. We call them “spiritual breathing”:
▶ Similar to biological breathing, exhale “bad air”. Get rid of the stinking air that inhibits the fire: Confess to God where you acted and thought contrary to His will (whatever springs to mind). Submit yourself fully and anew to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
▶ Inhale “fresh air”: Ask God to fill and empower you anew with the Holy Spirit.
This could be your prayer: “Holy Spirit, please fill me anew, take over control of every area of my life. I decide to trust you and listen to you”.
- You can “breathe spiritually” any time. You won’t feel completely different after every spiritual breath. Even though emotions are important, they don’t define what is true. Therefore it is wise to trust God and His promise to renew you if you ask for it, even if you “don’t feel that way”.
V.18-21 are one sentence in the Greek original: “Be (continuously) filled by the Holy spirit, speaking to one another ... sing ... give thanks ... and submit to one another.” V. 19-21 are specific actions you can take to position yourself to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, He replenishes us with life from the Lord Almighty, with His love, wisdom, patience, hope, steadfastness, resilience, peace, joy, inspiration, ideas and gives us the inner strength to face challenges courageously and faithfully.
The Holy Spirit also equips us with supernatural gifts, so we can accomplish God’s goals for our lives: