“And don’t get drunk with wine, which is rebellion; instead be filled continually with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, TPT).
On Monday, I had a wonderful meeting with a group of teenagers to teach them about living a Spirit-empowered life. We read the above verse together and discussed its enriching application.
“Why do people get drunk?” I asked them. We live in Iquitos, a city where alcoholism abounds because of the hopelessness people feel when trapped in poverty. Every last one of these young people has been around many individuals enslaved to alcohol addictions. In many cases, it’s their own parents or siblings.
They had several answers. “To forget about their problems.” “To distract themselves.” “To have fun.” These were a few of the thoughts that immediately popped into their minds.
“There is a reason why these two phrases are together in this verse,” I explained. “The second half is providing a contrast to the first. Each of those reasons that people turn to alcohol is a counterfeit solution. What they really need is the fullness of the Holy Spirit.”
And it’s true! Drunkenness is a way to temporarily numb a person’s emotions to the pain in their life. What if that person were to instead encounter the healing presence of the Spirit? He would bring home to their heart of hearts this truth:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3, NKJV).
Others turn to alcohol because they think they can’t have a good time without it. What empty diversions are theirs! What if they were to learn, down deep in their soul, Who the source of real joy is? This would become their very own living reality:
Broken, empty people cling to alcoholic beverages because they are looking for what only the Spirit of God can truly provide. What every single one of us needs is exactly what He holds forth to us with so much love: “…Instead be filled continually with the Holy Spirit”
The TPT captures the nuance of the Greek verb here wonderfully. We are to be filled with the Spirit, not just once, but continually. Every day of our lives, we need His presence filling us over and over. This is how will be “abundantly satisfied.” This is the only way.
How would you describe your relationship with the Holy Spirit?