Eph 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”. As I was considering this verse the thought came to me that it is generally easier for Christians to make the easy and obvious applications from the Bible without meditating long enough to make the more difficult applications.
Even on the surface this verse is doing more than just telling us not to get drunk. It is also telling us why drunkenness is sinful. We are to be under the control of the Holy Spirit by growing in the Word of God so that we might lead God-honoring lives. Being controlled by the flesh defeats the whole purpose God saved us for and this is made even worse when we are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Paul says elsewhere that it is our duty to bring our bodies under control lest we waste our lives for the wrong reasons, 1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
But like I said, that is the easy and obvious application and there have been plenty of Christians who have taken this verse so seriously that they won’t drink at all. And that is all well and good as long as we don’t stop there and think that this is all Paul is getting at. If we move from this example to a more general application I think we find out that even the teetotalers can easily miss the overall point of how to apply this principle.
The overall principle to follow here is to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word all the time and not to let anything else influence the way we think and live. For example, I might not have ever even tasted alcohol or taken any illegal drugs but if I am so weak in the Word and have so little discernment that I lap up every book I read or movie I see or I let the culture around me influence my thinking as much or more than the Bible, I am guilty of walking “under the influence” of this world rather than my Lord.
There are plenty of Christians who would never think to get drunk on alcohol but believe everything they read or hear as long as it claims to be Christian and many times it can be clearly unbiblical. They spend countless hours in front of the television or getting most of their info off the internet or lapping up the latest pop psychology from their therapist but haven’t been careful to grow strong in the Faith and so cannot discern many times truth from error. The point I am making is that this is just as dishonoring to the Lord as someone staggering home from the bar at 2:00 in the morning. Consider what the Bible has to say about being in darkness and living in this world stumbling around because we will not live by the Light: Rom. 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Eph 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
1Th_5:5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
1Jn_1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
There is more than one way to stagger around like someone who isn’t thinking clearly. Yes, it might be because you have drunk too much but it might also be because you have drunk too much of this world’s vain philosophies that cause us to live apart from the light God has already given us to guide us on our way. The lost do not need Christians who think like they do and live for the same things and for the same reasons they do but they do need to see Christians who are walking in the Light and not stumbling around in the same darkness they are. Christians should live and think as differently from the lost as light is from darkness.
Lord help us not to be drunk on false teachings but to think clearly by the Word of God and judge all things in its light.