Why do people get drunk? Why do people go to the bar? For happy hour! People want to forget their days, their lives and their sorrows to feel happy. We have all heard stories of angry drunks and sad drunks, but the dissipation leads to forgetfulness, and that is the goal. We can be miserable all day long, despising our jobs, our coworkers, our families, our responsibilities, but then we slam a few margaritas and suddenly we are happy, hugging those very same coworkers, singing bar songs and dancing like fools.
We all know that the Bible tells us to not get drunk. And it is often because of the release that alcohol gives that those who do not follow Christ think Christians have no fun. They are sticks in the mud. They just have crazy rules that squash our Earthly pleasure.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 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 to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
– Eph 5.18-21
Have you ever noticed, however, that Paul’s direct contrast to being drunk with wine is to be filled with the Holy Spirit? To Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit is joy that leads to singing, making melody in our hearts, giving thanks for everything? I can see a group of buddies in the bar, arms around one another’s necks, singing, saying “I love you man”, thanking each other for being such good friends and having a grand ol’ time.
Apparently we do not need wine to feel that way.
Or hard liquor.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
– Ps 4.7
David said, in Psalm 4, that he had more gladness in his heart from being with and around God than being drunk. And when the Apostles first received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they were speaking in tongues, preaching, praying and rejoicing and the onlookers who saw how they were acting said, “They’re drunk!” (Acts 2.13).
Have you ever been so full of gladness, love and thankfulness for God that the outpouring has been as drunkenness?
This is not a constant state in which we will live. The filling of the Spirit is beyond the regular and constant experience of the indwelling of the Spirit. When we are born again, when we believe in Christ for salvation by the forgiveness of our sins, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and we are given new life. His existence within us is the mark of that new life. We now have a Spiritual life in us, and one that is attuned to God. So every time sin comes near, it sounds an alarm. When we need direction on life choices, He establishes our hearts’ desires to be godly, and we can trust His direction. But there are times when we are drunk on the Spirit and the result is an outpouring of love, joy and thankfulness.
So come on, let’s get drunk. It may sound difficult, however, to get drunk on the Spirit when we are the passive party. The Spirit is the filler. But Paul says we can set ourselves up for being filled by living in faith: by trusting God.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
– Rom 15.13
So let’s trust in God. Let’s surrender to Him and know that He is in perfect control and is working all things out for His glory and for our good. Let’s rest in faith, and by opening ourselves up, allow the Spirit to fill us.
We Christians have the greatest hope and the highest avenue for pleasure. Have you experienced it? Or do you rely on a drug?