I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18
What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?
To answer that question I want you to first consider the comparison Paul makes.
When Paul says “and do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” he’s making a comparison. It’s actually probably better to say he’s making a contrast. And, it’s a contrast that at first seems a little strange for us.
“I understand that we’re not supposed to get drunk with wine and I understand that we’re supposed to be filled with the Spirit but why does Paul think that not getting drunk with wine is an appropriate contrast to being filled with the Spirit?
The reason Paul mentions these two commands back-to-back as a “put off” and a “put on” is because he’s describing two radically different kinds of lifestyles.
The first way of living, “do not get drunk with wine,” is a foolish lifestyle.
You remember how Paul commanded us in verse 15 to look “carefully then how you walk. Not as unwise but as wise.” Then in verse 17 he says, “Therefore do not be foolish.” This way of living that he describes at the beginning of verse 18 is an expression of how a foolish person lives.
He’s consumed with the desire for earthly pleasure.
The days are evil, the world is wicked and so how does he respond to the fact that the world is wicked? He is consumed with a desire for pleasure. That’s what you’re doing when you get drunk with wine, you’re cramming your face with pleasure. Getting drunk with wine is an expression of a foolish kind of lifestyle where a person’s appetite for earthly pleasure is out of control. It’s where a person’s appetite for earthly pleasure is the thing that controls him. That’s why the next thing Paul says is “don’t get drunk with wine for that is debauchery.” Do you know what “debauchery” means? It means “wildness.” Being controlled by a desire for earthly pleasure is living life in a foolish way like an animal.
These people are thirsty and they look to earthly pleasure in order to satisfy their thirst.
What about you?
If we are going to be godly fathers, we must be controlled by the Spirit. If we want to know whether the Spirit of God is controlling us, here’s where we need to start: what are we looking to for ultimate satisfaction? What is it that is really in control of what we do and what we think and the way we live our lives out? Is it a desire for earthly pleasure? Is that the center of our lives? Are we controlled by a lust for more?
If you are filled with the Spirit you have turned and are turning from being controlled by desire for earthly pleasures like alcohol. You are not foolishly trying to find ultimate satisfaction in things that are not satisfying. Instead you are driven by a thirst for something that does satisfy, something that does last, something that is more significant than earthly pleasure and that is the gospel, God and the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If we want to know if we are filled with the Spirit, the first place to look is at this comparison.
What is controlling you?
What is it that controls you?
The days are evil, where do you turn to for satisfaction? Are you stuffing your face with more and more earthly pleasure now? Well, that’s the opposite of a life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit and you’ll never be the kind of God father wants you to be and your children need to be until you repent of that.
Take Time To Reflect:
- When times are difficult in your family, where do you look for satisfaction?
- What do you do when you don’t have anything to do? What does that say about what’s important to you?
It’s time for a little self-reflection! What would be different about the way you handle difficult times if you weren’t a Christian? Be honest!