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. (Eph. 5:18-20)
I love to pray in the Spirit—to pray in tongues. I love to be filled with the Spirit. Do you know what that is? Have you ever been so full of joy, that you could not help but pray in the Spirit and worship? It is supposed to be, if you will, our “resting heartbeat” as believers.
I don’t mean jumping up and down and shouting—although, there is a place for that. I am speaking of the abiding peace of God in your soul. Just a few days ago, Elana and I woke up in Ireland. We were there ministering at a conference. We had the morning off, so we decided to walk to the next town—seven kilometers. About halfway there, we started praying—and then I did not want to stop. I just continued to “Sing and make music from your (my) heart to the Lord.” What a joy it was to commune with God!
A Cheap Buzz
Notice Paul compares being filled with the Spirit to getting drunk with wine. Getting drunk (or high) is the cheap counterfeit to being filled with the Spirit.
Getting drunk doesn’t require relationships. Being filled with the Spirit requires one to seek God. There is a cost.
Getting drunk leads to “debauchery” which is: “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” Getting drunk leads to bad judgment. I have been involved recently in an issue with a minister, who has been accused of getting drunk and then sending lewd texts and pictures to people—something that one would not do sober. When you are filled with the Spirit, it leads to acts of love and kindness, as well as building each other up. The fruit is good!
Getting drunk leads to bad health and hangovers. It can lead to throwing up and even alcohol poisoning. Getting filled with the Spirit leads to self-control and good habits. It leads to a healthy body. Proverbs 17:22 says that “a cheerful heart is good medicine.”
Keep Drinking—The Seven Keys
There are several commands in scripture that are “continual” commands in regard to our relationship with the Spirit of God.
Rejoice always. (1 Thess. 5:16) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4)
Pray continually. (1 Thess. 5:17)
Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thess. 5:20)
Think pure thoughts. (Phil. 4:8)
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil. 4:6)
Give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:18)
And, of course, “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”
They go together. If I am singing in my heart, giving thanks to God in all circumstances, I will not be anxious or quench the Spirit and I will be “filled with the Spirit.”
Surprised by God
You never know when or how God will surprise you with His presence. About ten years ago, I got stuck in Ethiopia. I had to get a hotel and catch a flight to Israel the next morning. When the airline gave me my hotel, I noticed its name: “The Queen of Sheba.” With a name like that, I thought, this must be the nicest hotel in all of Addis Ababa!
It wasn’t. Let’s just say, I didn’t take a shower and slept in my clothes. After just a few hours of sleep, I headed back to the airport. I put on my headphones and started listening to Hebrew worship. Within minutes, I was suddenly filled with joy. I could hardly contain myself as I stepped on the airplane. I completely did not expect God to touch me so deeply. I am sure people noticed, as I could not help myself from singing aloud! Have you ever been surprised by God’s presence like that?
Here are a few things you can do to create an atmosphere around you that attracts the Spirit of God:
Express your hunger for God through prayer and, even, fasting.
Do not allow the flesh to get in through jealousy, bitterness or unforgiveness.
Do not judge the motives of others.
Do not seek counterfeit highs through alcohol, drugs or prescriptions.
Be quiet before the Lord at least for five minutes every day.
Speak blessing over yourself and others.
May the Spirit of God be close to you as you seek Him!