By Kenneth E. Hagin
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
In writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul encouraged the believers to “. . . be filled with the Spirit.” We see in Acts chapter 19 that the believers in the church at Ephesus had already been filled with Spirit.
Why, then, would Paul encourage them to be filled with the Spirit in the fifth chapter of Ephesians? The answer lies in the Greek word for filled. Greek scholars tell us the word translated filled in Ephesians chapter 5 means “a continuous action.” So Paul was telling the believers at Ephesus, “. . . BE BEING FILLED with the Spirit.”
You see, there is one initial infilling with the Holy Ghost. That’s what we call the baptism in the Holy Ghost. But there are many refillings throughout your life. Being filled with the Spirit is not simply a one-time event with a beginning and an end. It is a continuous, lifelong experience.
One characteristic of the Spirit-filled life is that you’ll have a song in your heart. Let’s look again at a verse from Ephesians chapter 5.
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
If you are filled with the Spirit, it will be recognizable. People should be able to see a difference between you and somebody who isn’t filled with the Spirit. How will they know? Because if you are full of the Holy Ghost, you will have a song in your heart. What does it mean to have a song in your heart? It means you’ve got joy!
The Bible says, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and JOY in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17). If you are full of joy, it will show on your face. You may even dance, sing, or laugh. Sometimes when you’re full of joy, you can’t keep from laughing, even when you’re by yourself!
So you see, being filled with the Spirit means you’ll have joy and a song in your heart. Now, I don’t mean some song that you get out of a songbook. The songs we sing in church are fine. We ought to sing them. But they didn’t have any songbooks that they passed out to the congregation back in the Apostle Paul’s day.
Paul is talking about psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. He is describing something that the Holy Ghost gives you. These songs come from your heart on the spur of the moment. They are given to us by the Spirit to help us.
I’ve noticed that in the hard places of my life, I would begin speaking in psalms and spiritual songs. In some of the most severe places, I’ve spoken nearly all night long in psalms. One night, I actually did speak in psalms all night long. I never slept a wink that night!
During the tough times, the Holy Spirit inspires me and gives me psalms to help me. Do you remember that Jesus said to His disciples, “I’ll not leave you comfortless”? (See John 14:18.) He asked the Father to send “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit. The Amplified Bible translates the word Comforter as “Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby” (John 14:16). The Holy Ghost is our Standby. He’s standing by to help us in the hard places in life. And those psalms He gave me helped me. They were a comfort to me.
Now, read what Paul wrote to the church at Colosse.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
In Ephesians 5:19, Paul wrote that you ought to be “speaking to YOURSELVES . . . .” In that verse, he’s talking about something you do in your own private prayer life. But here in Colossians, Paul says we can be “. . . teaching and admonishing ONE ANOTHER . . .,” or in other words, speaking to one another. That means we can speak in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs at all times. We can do it when we’re praying alone. We can speak these songs to another individual. Or we can do it in a public assembly.
But notice the criteria God expects us to meet before we speak! The Word of Christ is to first of all dwell in you “. . . richly in all wisdom.” Sometimes the Word of Christ dwells in people, but not in wisdom. Paul admonishes you to make sure it dwells in you in wisdom.
Let me give you an example. A number of years ago, way back in 1939, I knew two young men. One of them was 16, and the other one was 17. They got born again and later on were filled with the Holy Ghost.
One day, these two teenage boys went out hunting rabbits. They had a .22 caliber rifle with them. As they headed back home, they walked down a railroad track until they ran into a young boy. Then they stopped, because they wanted to witness to him.
They said to him, “Are you ready to die?”
Well, when this young boy heard what they said and saw that they had a .22 rifle, he took off running!
Later on, these teenage boys said to me, “We weren’t going to kill him. We were going to talk to him about Jesus. We wanted to know if he was ready to go to Heaven.”
These boys had the Word of God in them. But they weren’t using wisdom, so their plan failed. That’s why the Word of God needs to dwell in us richly in all wisdom.
The Purpose of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
Notice that Colossians 3:16, goes on to say, “. . . teaching and admonishing one another.” How do we teach and admonish others? The rest of the verse tells us we do it “. . . in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Paul was saying that those psalms would teach and encourage believers. If the Christians in Colosse were facing a test or trial, the psalms they received from the Holy Ghost would teach them or encourage them in what they were going through.
This benefit isn’t something that belonged just to them. This belongs to every believer! Paul was not writing to one or two people in those two churches. He was writing to the whole church at Ephesus and Colosse. He was writing to the whole group. And if he was writing to them, then he was writing to us.
As the Spirit of God dwells within us, we also have songs in our hearts! Let that same Spirit rise up within you in psalms and hymns, ministering to yourself and those around you. Glory to God!