Ephesians 5:18

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The Simplicity of Following

 

Read:

“And do not be drunk with wine, . . . but be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18

 

Reflect:

The longer we follow Christ the simpler it becomes, because we are less inclined to be suspicious of God’s ways and less inclined to be argumentative about where He leads. As the Christ-follower matures, they begin to see the compelling purpose behind even the smallest of details. In all things, they are shaped and formed into oneness with God’s purpose.

A Christ-follower is someone who trusts more in God’s wisdom than they do in their own abilities. Having an agenda and purpose of our own destroys the simplicity of following Christ. The real test of simple, uncomplicated faith is living for Him in the details of life. The path of wisdom is to discern God’s will, then obey it to the hilt.

Here in this verse, Paul focuses in on one such detail, that of drinking. It represents one’s willingness to surrender a fine point of trust. Drinking becomes a problem for the believer when it leads to excess, becomes habit-forming, it offends the conscience of another believer, whenever it hurts a Christian’s testimony and detracts from the presence of God, and finally, when there is a doubt in the Christian’s mind about it.

Paul gives a startling counter to being under the control of a substance – that of being filled with the Spirit. When the two states are compared and contrasted, it is easy to see the dissonance alcohol creates. 

In both, the person is under the control of a power outside of themselves, both produce a distinctive, fervent spirit. In both cases, a person’s walk is affected in drunkenness, it’s the physical dislocation of center in the spirit, it’s the moral behavior that’s affected. 

There are two distinctive contrasts between drinking and being in the Spirit. In the case of drinking, there is dissipation, distraction, and degradation. The filling of the Spirit never produces such negative effects, but creates a relaxed rhythm of walking with God. With drinking, there can be a loss of control, but the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. A believer, when filled with the Spirit, is never at a loss of control of their actions.

So, God instructs us down to the smallest detail, and when He does, don’t fight it with human reasoning, “Hey, it’s not wrong,” or “It’s only the excess that matters.” Instead, keep your life clean in your daily walk. Doing holy things prepares us for harder things.

 

Respond:

Are you in agreement with the Son of God, or is there rebellion and defiance?