“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
Earlier in Ephesians Paul has already told us that we have been ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit, and that we must not ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit. Now he tells us to be ‘filled’ with the Spirit.
“Do not get drunk with wine,” he says, “but be filled with the Spirit.” The point Paul is making is that we should be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, not under the control of some other intoxicating substance. When we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit we do not lose control, we gain it. When we are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or impulsive emotions … we do not gain control, we lose it.
Peter provides additional insight on this essential spiritual discipline. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Peter’s admonition is: Pay attention! Be alert. Recognize what is going on around you. Recognize where the dangers are. Be aware of the things that will hurt you, your family, or your community. Be discerning. The adversary is deceitful, and he is constantly on the prowl. He is always hunting, and you are the prey he is stalking.
In an attempt to deceive you and lure you in, the adversary uses:
- Attractive lies: Things that look good but aren’t good.
- Undisciplined passions: Things that feel good but aren’t good.
- Misguided ego: Things we think will make us look good but aren’t good.
Clarity is power. When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you are sober-minded and situationally aware. You see what is going on, you see what the Enemy is trying to do, and you see what you need to do. When you are under the influence of the Spirit, your thinking is clear.
Why? Because the Spirit empowers his self-control. He manages his emotions and thoughts. The Spirit gives him the ability to get his mind right.
The person who is intoxicated is exactly the opposite. He is not self-aware, not situationally aware, and he makes bad decisions. Why? Because the intoxicating substance causes him to lose self-control. The intoxicant prevents him from getting his mind right.
Let us, then, avoid the inebriating influence of anything that would impair our thinking or judgment, and instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. And let us be watchful and alert so that we might stand firm in the faith and defeat the adversary.