Getting Drunk and Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving Reflection by Matt Blackwell

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:18-20


This Thanksgiving remember that an empty heart will only go so long before finding something to fill it. We attempt to fill up our empty hearts in a ton of different ways including eating, buying stuff, surfing the web, working tirelessly, or drinking too much. That last vice is the one that Paul calls out specifically in the lives of the Ephesian Christians. He reminds them to not get drunk on wine but to be filled with the Spirit.

Why do people drink too much?

Often it is to escape pain and seek joy, to enjoy ourselves for at least one happy hour. We all want to be carefree, uninhibited, full of joy and drinking too much promises these things, but without fullness. Getting drunk surely decrease inhibitions; can lead to having some fun, enjoying life, and relaxing.

But our problems are always waiting for us in the morning. The promise of joy is not fulfilled and dissatisfaction slowly creeps back in.

Paul says don’t get drunk, but be filled with the Spirit. Look at the context of the verse, “the days are evil. Therefore don’t be foolish…and don’t get drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.” Where are we to turn when the days are evil, when we are discouraged or depressed or anxious? Paul pleads, “don’t turn to drink, turn to the Spirit.”

There is something greater than wine that will cause true and lasting satisfaction. There is someone who provides true and lasting joy. We don’t have to pretend like problems don’t exist, but we can really rejoice in the midst of the problems.

There is a better way to cope with the evil days – be filled with that which lasts.


What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Being filled with the Spirit is the remedy for joyless living. Because being empty leads us to long for fullness, but being full leads us to overflow. According to these verses when we’re full, we overflow in two things: songs & thanks.

“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…”

“…be filled with the Spirit…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything…”

So this Thanksgiving let’s not depend on drink to get us through the holiday or to increase our enjoyment of it, but be filled with the Spirit. Let that fullness overflow with a joy that sings and thankfulness that satisfies.

[author image="" ]Matt Blackwell is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and serves an Elder & Pastor at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. He is the husband of Shannon & dad to 3 boys. Follow on Twitter[/author]




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