“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” -Ephesians 5:18
In this verse, we see a somewhat unusual comparison: God’s Holy Spirit is compared to alcohol. That is to say, in the same way that alcohol causes people to act differently, and do things that they normally wouldn’t do, so too are we to be under the influence of God’s Spirit.
A few interesting observations can be made:
- When a person is drunk, they are still responsible for their actions. Do we excuse them simply because they are drunk? Is alcohol alone able to cause a car accident? Can a glass wine bottle drive a car? In the same way, (except this time with good deeds instead of bad ones), when we are filled with God’s Spirit, we are still responsible for our actions. We are still considered the ones that are performing God’s will, yet it is simply God’s Spirit that is enabling us to do the work.
- Just as a person makes a conscious decision to take a drink of alcohol, so too can we make a conscious decision to allow God’s Spirit into our lives. If a person decides to take a drink, he/she may not know where they will end up, or what things they may end up doing, (usually with negative consequences), but it did begin with an initial decision to take that first drink. Likewise, we may not fully know where God’s plan will lead us in life, but we can make an active decision to allow Him to lead us in whatever path He may have for us. Yet with God, His ways and His paths are good, and end in gladness.
- Even as alcohol can break down a person’s natural inhibitions, and self-consciousness, so too does God’s Spirit strengthen us. As the former breaks down our resistance to do shameful and wicked things, the latter conquers our inhibitions that stand in the way of doing right. Being filled with the Holy Spirit overcomes our own pride and love of self-comfort, and allows us to reach out to others with the gospel, taking no thought of our own reputation with the world.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” -Galatians 5:16-17