Today’s “one another” is found in the middle of a long sentence and so it is important to look at this phrase in its proper context. The three previous verses speak of using care to not foolishly waste our time. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:5-17).
The next verse begins the sentence containing our “one another” – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation” (Ephesians 5:18a). I used an English dictionary to check the meaning of dissipation and found “wastefulness”. So this thought is still very much tied into the previous verses on God’s will for us being to not waste time.
Now Paul uses the word “but” to offer us something that is not a time waster. He says, “but be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18b). According to The MacArthur Bible Commentary,
“Paul is not speaking of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (Romans 8:9) or the baptism by Christ with the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13), because every Christian is indwelt and baptized by the Spirit at the time of salvation. Rather, he is giving a command for believers to live continually under the influence of the Spirit by letting the Word control them (Colossians 3:16), pursuing pure lives, confessing all known sin, dying to self, surrendering to God’s will, and depending on His power in all things. Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done.” (Page 1700)
Paul’s thoughts continue on, next stating that one result of such filling of the Holy Spirit is, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20a).
Paul has taught here that wasting time in any sense is 1) not part of God’s will and 2) not being filled with the Holy Spirit. He also has taught that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, meaning He dominates everything that is thought and done, you then have a spiritual song in your heart and on your lips, extolling the praises of the Lord. Lifting melodies of praise and thanksgiving heavenward is definitely not a foolish waste of your time; it is one of the evidences that you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit!
Acts 16:25 tells us that as Paul sat in prison he and Silas “sang hymns of praise to God” while the other prisoners listened. The result was that the jailer and his whole household became Christians and were baptized. That joy of being filled with the Holy Spirit bubbles out of us in the form of worshipful song and the lost people around us take notice. Our true, heart-felt worship is a strong witness to the world that Jesus Christ is Who He says He is!
Psalm 40:16 –
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
‘The Lord be magnified!’