Spirit vs. spirits

Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Have you ever watched a person who is heavily under the influence of alcohol? They seem to throw caution to the wind. They make stupid choices. People who are normally cautious and wise become downright foolish. Very often, one drunk evening will spiral into decisions the person has to live with for the rest of his/her life.

The word debauchery actually means a loss of self control. When a person becomes drunk with alcohol, he loses control of his body, his speech, his decisions. He makes foolish choices, because, at that point in time, he is a fool. He has given up his self-control in exchange for a bottle of spirits.

But Paul encourages us not to lose our self control to spirits. Rather, we should give up our self-control willingly, to the Holy Spirit. While alcoholic spirits will turn us into fools, the Holy Spirit will make us wise. While alcoholic spirits may offer us a good time or a short-lived comfort that we won’t even remember the next day, the Holy Spirit will offer us permanent joy and peace. While alcoholic spirits will leave us with a hangover, and eventually send our lives into a downward spiral which will be difficult to escape, the Holy Spirit will lift us up to become all we were created to be.

There are many different opinions about whether or not Christians should drink alcohol. Some feel that alcohol is fine, in moderation. Others feel that alcohol should be avoided, because of its potential pitfalls. Whatever stand you take, my friends, there is one important question to ask: What controls me?

Does alcohol control me? If so, I’m not being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Does food control me? If so, I’m not being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Does pornography, or my job, or gossip control me? If so, I’m not being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

I wish I could say that I am one hundred percent controlled by the Holy Spirit, and nothing else, but that would be a lie. There are other things that crowd in to control me, causing me to lose self-control. But I have found that the more time I spend in God’s Word, in prayer, in seeking God’s will, the more likely I am to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. And being controlled by the Holy Spirit brings the joy and peace and wisdom that I long for, more than anything.

Dear Father, Please help me not to lose control to anything. Rather, I want to willingly give up control of my life to You.


9 Responses to Spirit vs. spirits

  1. April 22, 2008 #

    Amen! Remember that popular song last year, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”? We’d all do well to slide over and let Jesus and His Holy Spirit completely take the controls – me included.


  2. April 22, 2008 #

    ‘Have you ever watched a person who is heavily under the influence of alcohol?’

    I’m a bit of an expert, actually!

  3. April 22, 2008 #

    Good example, Jean. Thanks! 🙂

    And Jackie (((hugs))), praying that will soon be a thing of the past. Perhaps when it is, you can write a book! 🙂


  4. April 22, 2008 #

    My dad had problems until I was an early teen. A doctor said he would refuse him medical treatment for his heart if he continued to drink. Now, if it was that easy for everyone to quit, but my dad did that very day. He put the keg on the porch and called his friend (who was a distributor) to come get it; he lost many “friendships” and we all struggled to figure out what the heck a DAD was/is/could be. It was interesting. Now approaching his 66th, surviving the worst kind of prostate cancer and an heart attack, he converted to the Catholic Faith this Easter. To say the man has made a turn around for the better is an understatement. My dad took a long time to come to any faith in Christ – we are all in awe of his tranformation. What a brilliant example of GOD ISN”T FINISHED WITH US YET, huh?

    Yeah, I love my dad to bits, but it’s because he gives me so many reasons to!!

  5. April 22, 2008 #

    What an inspiring story, Sarah! Thank you for sharing it. You’re right. no matter how old we are or what we have done, God isn’t finished with us yet!


  6. April 22, 2008 #

    Great post Renae!! You nailed exactly why I have made the choice not to drink. I have friends that do it responsibly and have no problem with that. However, I am afraid I would bring harm to His name if I did it. It’s wonderful how God gives us freedoms.

    I’m not sure if I have ever seen a blog post on this subject. I’m always very delicate when I approach it because people get offended very easily when it comes up. You have done a wonderful job bringing light to the fact it is what controls you and not necessarily what you engage in.

  7. April 22, 2008 #

    Thanks, Robyn. It is a delicate topic. But to condemn someone for being controlled by alcohol, when I struggle with being controlled by other things that aren’t good for me, would be hypocritical. The key is to let the Holy Spirit control us in all areas of our lives.

    Good thoughts!


  8. April 22, 2008 #

    Dear Renae,
    my point of view is this:
    If you do things or abstain from things to help your next, that’s fine.
    If you add man maid laws to the ones given by Jesus,-and the ten commandment, that may cause unnecessary burdens upon your fellow wanderers.
    Jesus actually made wine containing alcohol as his first wonder.
    Here on The Dark Mainland they say, “yes we know it, but we don’t like it.”
    I rarely drink, and absolute avoid drunkenness, but have no intentions of becoming a teetotaler.
    With the help of God I managed to quit smoking 13 years ago. Tobacco was a burden and a bad destroying habit in my life.
    I don’t even consume alcohol once a month, but I see no sin in doing so.
    It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it. Nah??
    My daughter saw me struggling to stop smoking, and she will not even consider trying it.
    She has seen us sharing a bottle of wine with friends, but also had her father sober every weekend to drive her and her friends to and from events (while other parents could not bring that offer for their kids.)
    Drunkenness is forbidden in our home both by ours and her friends.

    What am I trying to say? It has been EASY being a role model concerning alcohol and tobacco.
    I have failed over and over again with the love and forgive issue.
    That bothers me a lot.
    From yours Felisol

  9. April 22, 2008 #

    Excellent points, Felisol. Again, like Robyn says, the issue is what (or Who) controls us, isn’t it? We all have issues we struggle with. But like Jean reminded us, we need to just move over and let “Jesus Take the Wheel” of our lives in every area.

    Thanks so much for your insight!


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