And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Just as alcoholic drink can control the behavior of the one who drinks too much, so the Spirit can and should be allowed to control all aspects of the Christians life as we understand and submit to the will of the Lord (v.17). This filling will evidence itself in three major areas.
First, a joyful, melodious heart. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (v.19).
Secondly, a thankful attitude. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.20).
Third, a submissive spirit. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (v.21). Thus, the submission to Gods will and Spirit manifests itself in submission to others. The passage follows with several examples, which not only teach us how to submit, but which can be used as a personal gauge for us to measure the degree to which we are controlled by the indwelling filling Spirit.
Wives are to submit to their husbands in the same way the church is subject unto Christ (vv.2224). Husbands are to submit to their wives by loving them in a self-sacrificial way, as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it (vv.2527). Children are to submit to their parents by obeying and honoring them (6:13), and parents are to submit to their children in order to bring them up properly (v.4). Those under authority (vv.58) are likewise to submit as unto Christ to those in authority who are likewise to return proper treatment (v.9).
Christ calls us to a life of joy and thankfulness while submitting yourselves one to another and sent us the Holy Spirit to make such a life possible. JDM