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Ephesians 5:18 -- Mind Control

In preparation for teaching a Bible study on the 4th chapter of Philippians, I came across the following paragraph written by J. Dwight Pentecost in his book, The Joy of Living – A Study of Philippians, written in 1973:

“If Michelangelo somehow could move into this body of mine and control my mind and my hands, I could turn a block of marble into a beautiful sculpture. If Leonardo da Vinci could move into my body to control me I could paint a masterpiece. If Beethoven could move into my body to control me, I could write a symphony. If Bach could move in and control me, these hands could make melody burst forth from the organ. If Dwight Eisenhower could move in and control me, I could move armies to victory. If Denton Cooley could move in and control me, I could perform the most intricate and delicate heart surgery. If Einstein could move in and control me, I could expound the laws of mass and energy. For then these men with their gifts and knowledge could work though me as their instrument to accomplish that which they have the ability to do. If Jesus Christ, who dwells with me, controls my mind, my lips, my hands, my feet, He can do anything through me that He has the power to do."


If I were to paint a masterpiece because of Leonardo da Vinci’s control of my body and mind, the art world would have a field day trying to disprove and discredit my claim that the painting was an original work of da Vinci. At first, art critics would be crying “Fraud!” “Fake!” My claim that the artwork had been painted in modern day and time would be deemed absurdity. I might even be accused of being mentally unstable. After all, Leonardo da Vinci has been dead for nearly 500 years. To discredit my claim, they would begin studying the usage of colors, the brushstroke style, the texture of the paint, the paints’ composition, the comparison of light, shadows, etc. In their determination to disprove my claim, they would eventually have to conclude that, somehow, a painting done today is, indeed, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Their expertise of being able to expose a counterfeit, or copycat, would only prove that my painting is the genuine article – the real deal.

Though Dr. Pentecost’s commentary was specifically written for Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” I immediately related the paragraph to Ephesians 5:18. When Paul wrote the words “be filled with the Spirit,” he was basically saying to “be controlled by” the Holy Spirit. The above scenario about Leonardo da Vinci provides a good illustration of what could happen when, or if, we are controlled by someone other than ourselves. The results don’t reflect our personal talents or abilities. The results reflect the personal talents or abilities of the one controlling us. As in the above illustration, the final result was a masterpiece that could only have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci. I’m lucky if I can draw a decent stick figure, so the only way I’d be able to produce a believable da Vinci painting, could only be done through his control of my body and mind.

I expect you know where I’m going with this. When we allow our body and mind to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, the outcome is going to represent a quality of excellence which can only come from the Lord. If the outcome is something we can accomplish on our own, then it will have our handprint all over it, not God’s. But, if the results are recognized as a “God thing” or “God-sized” as we often describe something that is beyond anything that can be accomplished by man, we conclude the event or work was accomplished solely in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. Without much difficulty, people will be able to discern if the work is the real deal or an imitation attempt to do something spiritual in our power. When we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, we become an instrument through which He can accomplish that which only He has the ability to do.

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