There are a few bible verses that give imperative commands regarding the Holy Spirit—one from Jesus and four from Paul. Our Risen Lord said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” — John 20:19. Paul said, “Walk by the Spirit” — Galatians 5:11, “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit” — Ephesians 4:30, “Don’t quench the Spirit” — 1 Thessalonians 5:19, and “Be filled with the Spirit” — Ephesians 5:18. Ephesians continues, “… 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. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” — Ephesians 5:18–22, KJV.
“Wives, submit” is often incorrectly interpreted as an imperative command, but it’s not. All believers are to be submitting (a gerund / present participle) to one another. Our submitting demonstrates what it looks like to be filled. A better translation is, “Wives, to your husbands,” but with no actual verb. The following gerunds (words ending in “-ing”) elaborate the main imperative verb which is “be filled”. The words ending in “-ing” demonstrate what being filled looks like in practice.
The proof that you’ve been filled with the Spirit is greeting one another in love, singing songs to the Lord, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another. These are “Gifts of God’s Spirit”! If you’ve been filled with his Spirit, his presence will be evident in these things.
The next verses, Ephesians 5:25–33, are based on the imperative command for each husband to love his wife with agape love, willing to give his life for her like Christ’s love for the church. That said, men need some sense of self-respect. In the best marriages, a man’s self-respect primarily comes from his wife. When a man loses this self-respect, in some sense, he ceases to be a man. At the very least, he ceases to be the man his wife needs him to be. Sounds like a vicious circle. Who should act first — wives giving respect to their husbands, or husbands demonstrating love to their wives remains an issue. For the idea to work, at least one needs to start. A husband who has self-respect has what he most needs to demonstrate love to his wife and his family. When a woman feels truly loved, she has what she most needs to demonstrate honor and respect for her husband.
Be filled and demonstrate love! Celebrate God’s presence in your life and the miracle of your marriage!
Rob Wilson and his wife, Lupe, are active leaders at Church of the Messiah (Xenia) where Rob is a teaching elder.