From Pauses for Pentecost
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
This verse suggests we can get drunk in two ways. We can get drunk with alcohol or with the Holy Spirit. Between these two options and their contrasts, consequences are massive. While both certainly can make us happy, the first way leaves us unsteady and uncertain on our feet, while the second way fills us with a new steadiness and confidence as we face the difficulties of life. When drunk with wine, we think unreasonably, we slur our words, our sight becomes blurred, and we end up with a hangover. When filled with the “new wine” of the Spirit, we think more deeply, communicate more effectively, see more clearly, and experience genuine happiness.
Think back to the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Have you ever thought about how, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter begins his sermon with these words: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!” (Acts 2:14-15) What is happening that Peter has to make this denial? Can it be that these Spirit-filled men and women are demonstrating what it is like to be drunk with the Spirit? Are they experiencing what some of the ancients have called, “The sober intoxication of the Spirit?”
How do we journey toward this sober intoxication? On the one hand, we must always remember that this experience is a gift that God gives to us. It is God who fills us with God’s Spirit. We can receive this spiritual drink in moments of intense prayer, corporate worship, shared fellowship, or deep silence. On the other hand, we can actively prepare ourselves by becoming more sober in those areas of our lives where we run the danger of intoxication. What intoxicates us? It could be wine, drugs, success, money, applause, work, anxiety, or fear. As we acknowledge whatever intoxicates us and yield the reins of our lives to the risen Lord, we open ourselves to a greater experience of the Holy Spirit. We become Easter people filled with God’s Spirit!
In what area of your life do you need to become more sober? Express your need to the Lord, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help you live more freely and fully today.