This is a present passive imperative meaning "you must continue to be filled with the Spirit" or "ever be filled with the Spirit." This is a command, not an option! It is the normal state for all believers, not the exception. This phrase implies that believers are to be available, sensitive, and obedient to the Spirit's forming of Christ in their daily lives (cf. Rom. 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 4:13; Col. 1:28; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3,7; 5:23; 1 Pet. 1:15). Believers cannot fill themselves, but must regularly allow the Spirit to have freedom and influence (passive voice). Human performance is not the key to effective living but the Spirit (cf. Gal. 3:1-3). However, believers must volitionally open themselves to the Spirit's leadership and control on a daily basis.

The term "filled" is used often in the NT for that which motivates and characterizes one's life. Believers have a choice in what fills their lives. In Acts being "filled" with the Spirit is associated with evangelism. Peter was "filled" several times in Acts 2:4; 4:8,31. Filling was an ongoing need and experience.

The structural parallel (Colossians & Ephesians are based on almost the same outline) in Col. 3:16 changed the "ever be filled with the Spirit" to "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you." They both refer to daily, intentional submission to the Spirit's producing Christlikeness, particularly as it relates to dealing with people. Jesus died for people. People are priority; only people are eternal.

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