Summary: When we are filled with the Spirit, the blessing of His grace and peace, we can help bring life change as we submit to another, seeing clearly or soberly the hope of heaven for today.

Filled and Submitted

17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Eph 5:17-21 (NIV)

Do not get drunk on wine… be filled with spirit, submit to each other … the bible says. Why talk about “Drunk on wine” and then seemingly linking it to be being filled with the Spirit? What has this got to do submitting to one another…

Perhaps you have heard of Haley Joel Osment. Some may remember him as the child star in the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense, with his famous line “I see dead people,” well, he was sentenced to probation last Thursday after pleading no contest to charges of drunken driving and marijuana possession. Osment, now 18, was also ordered to complete alcohol rehabilitation counselling and pay $1,500 (U.S.) in fines as part of an agreement with prosecutors that called for two misdemeanour counts to be dismissed.

Another recent story of drunk driving that caught the headlines - Mel Gibson after his recent arrest for drunk driving, he issued this statement, “After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone who I have offended. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health.” Obviously, Gibson was ashamed of the racist, abusive, profanity he used while drunk.

Not too long ago our own BC Premier Gordon Campbell was also caught with driving under the influence of alcohol. Do you think any one of these three want to be remembered for their poor choice?

Everyday there are more stories of drunkenness, some ended with tragic results. Substance abuse is killing people everyday, yet more and more are falling into it, perhaps placing their faith in miraculous drug-induced euphoria to escape just for a moment, for a time, the humdrum of an existence that is crying out for meaning. There is something inside people, the way in which people are designed by their maker, to look for some resemblance of a meaningful high in life. It is no surprise that the beer commercials, always have folks, enjoying a great time, with awfully good-looking people, showing no beer gut, nice tan, with no throw-up, no jail-record, no stench, no roadkill, with the message ““rub a dub a dub, life does not get any better than this.” It seems to feed the myth many people believe that you cannot even begin to get a real kick out of life without a good soaking of specially brewed spirits or drug.

Is there anyone who can see this as a sign of human weakness rather than enjoyment? Is skid-row on our Hastings and Main enjoyable, is that a better lfie? Or is it one of the scariest places to be in even in daytime? Ask Osment, Gibson, Campbell, is life better because of the high they got from being drunk? Perhaps they’re glad to have not killed anyone. My suspicion is that when they can think clearly they’d want to bury and forget the whole thing ever happened? Is there anyone who wants a better life than that or do we want to believe that life does not get any better than getting drunk? From the richest to the poorest, everyone as Bruce Springsteen once sung “has a hungry heart,” and it does not matter whether u were born in the USA or in some third world country.

To be sure, the Bible does not forbid drinking of alcoholic beverages. Speaking to his protégé, Timothy, the apostle Paul counseled him in 1 Tim 5:23 (ESV) “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Medicinal, healing properties of alcohol – eg - red wine is now known for controlling cholesterol. But what the Bible frowns upon is the abuse of alcohol, where it is used to get high and get out of control. Pro.23 speaks negatively of the state of drunkenness.

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