Getting Full (Part 1)

September 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Galatians | 7 Comments
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Lord, thank You for the great gift of the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper, our Comforter, our Counselor. He gives us joy and hope and peace. May we never grieve You, Holy Spirit. May we never quench You. May You have free reign in every cavern of our hearts. May You lead us into all Truth. In the Name of the Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:18

“Be not drunk” is a command, and it is an easy thing to learn from this verse, but it is not the primary principle being taught here. Here the subject of drunkenness is used for the purpose of contrast – in a way that is similar to the contrast which is highlighted when things that reflect light look very bright against darkness. Jewelers use this to their advantage when they show customers brilliant diamonds against a black cloth.

When the Holy Spirit says, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit,” He is not saying, “Go ahead and get drunk, but don’t do it by drinking wine.” He’s not saying that He will make you act like a drunk person. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is a set of character qualities or virtues that are the opposite of the way a drunk person acts.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Drunkards are not usually peaceful. In fact, they are often downright belligerent. They are not longsuffering (willing to put up with a great deal of offense). Actually, they tend to be very easily provoked and offended. They are not known for being gentle, nor meek. They are often loud, boastful, and boisterous. Temperance is sometimes used as an antonym for drunkenness.

No, Ephesians 5:18 is not offering a “clean way” to be loud, obnoxious, clumsy, and stupid. It’s saying drunk people are full of wine, but sober, kind, loving, wise, Christian people are filled with the Spirit.

So, which do you want to be? Do you want to think you’re ten feet tall and bullet-proof when you’re really basically incapacitated mentally – stumbling around like a fool? Do you want to be loud but with nothing intelligent to say? Do you want to be muttering and mumbling and grumbling and complaining and getting on everyone’s nerves because you feel like nothing ever goes your way? Or do you want to be wise – and kind – and loving – and respected – and useful for the Kingdom of God? If so, then you want option two: you want to be filled with the Spirit.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how to do that.

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