By Stephen Leonard
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-21
Opioids are a blessing, but also, in excess, very much a veritable curse. They help many folk overcome severe, debilitating pain. But they also, in excess, can lead to the jailing of the mind and body through a persistent and psyche altering addiction.
Well over 90,000 deaths in the US in one year alone are attributable to drug overdoses; nearly one million have been taken from this life in this manner since 1999. And, this does not speak to the millions who did not die, yet, whose lives were devastated by an addiction, debilitating bodies and emotions, and producing vast dysfunction.
Abuse of alcohol is another means of alleviating physical and emotional pain, and producing a “good feeling high.” It has its own statistics of taking and ruining lives, as does abuse with “recreational” drugs. Alcohol abuse is simply a terrible “sickness” which detrimentally pervades many lives.
Anything which can be used to subvert the mind away from the alert worship and love of God, while diminishing your God created faculties and senses is a sin which destroys the capacity to be whole and healthy in your body and soul. In other words, it is an obstacle to being fully and wonderfully human.
Paul in Ephesians 5 contrasts drunkenness, from whatever substance, with being filled with the Spirit. The former is labeled “debauchery,” and the latter is labeled, “filled with the Spirit.”
Put another way, “filled with the Spirit”means reaching the pinnacle of the senses in the fullest capacity of being truly and wholly human. Debauchery is the lowest form of human existence in its most diminished capacity. Put in scripture-words it is humanity which is little different than “the beasts which perish!” (Read Psalm 49)
The Spirit filled Christian has no need of relying upon “aids” causing a level of “drunkenness” in the body, mind, and psyche, to draw close to the Lord in worship, adoration, and love. Such “aids” dull the senses which, otherwise, can grasp hold of the Lord with “all your heart.” Allow the Spirit to provide all you can be and all you truly are in your intimate and saving relationship with God.
“Spirit of God, descend upon my heart: wean it from earth, through all its pulses move; stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art, and make me love thee as I ought to love.”
(1st verse of George Croly’s hymn, “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart,“ 1854)
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