And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:18-21
My denomination loves to trot out this verse as a tirade against drinking. And while Paul is certainly saying here that getting drunk is sinful, I think he has a much larger point, one we sometimes miss if we get hung up in legalism about alcohol.
He’s making an analogy. A drunk woman slurs her words and does embarrassing things because the alcohol is controlling her mind and body. We are supposed to give that kind of control to the Holy Spirit. He is to have as much influence over us as alcohol can. I am to drink Him in, give him control of my mind and body, so that I think things I’d never think on my own, do things that are exactly the opposite of what I’d like to do. Only, instead of embarrassing me, those things give God glory.
And he lists those things right here: speaking to one another in psalms, making music in my heat to the Lord, giving thanks in everything, and (this is the hardest one for me) submitting to one another.
I don’t naturally do any of those things. If I do what comes naturally to me, I complain, worry and push for my way. I’ve … um … done all those things this week. So I have a choice to make. Just as a woman makes the choice to reach for the third and fourth beer, I’ve got to make a conscious choice to drink in the Holy Spirit and allow him to control me. Otherwise, I’ll act just like me … and not like Him.
What does this mean for you?
I don’t like me without Him.
I’m a little old for this realization, but it hit me this week. I really don’t like me when I am not submitting to His indwelling presence. I don’t feel like ‘me,’ and, more importantly, I most definitely don’t think and act like the ‘me’ He wants to wrought.
I was thinking about that drunk woman analogy. Sometimes people say or assume that what is said or done when a person is drunk reveals who they really are. I’m gonna have to beg to differ—a person’s personality morphs when alcohol is pumping through their brain. They do and say things that, if they knew about sober, they’d be appalled. Ashamed. Broken.
Perhaps this is true for a person who is not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We become selfish, mean-spirited, unforgiving and unkind. We become the person with whom, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we would be appalled.
I become that person. The ‘me’ I don’t want to be.
So, Jesus, come. Fill me up. Soak my soul with Your Spirit until that ‘me’ is drowned. Shape me into the woman You intend.