Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

Ephesians 5:18-21
Isaiah 28:7-12
Galatians 5
Isaiah 12:2-6

Christian + consumption + alcohol

These three words are enough to bring up a wide gamut of opinions, deeply held convictions, and enough condemnation to split some churches. Perhaps defenses are rising and arguments are gaining speed inside you before we’ve even begun our study!

Regardless of our beliefs about alcohol consumption by Christians, every true believer would stand firmly on the foundational belief that every Christ-follower sits under the authority of Scripture. God’s Word gets the final say and defines truth, regardless of our opinion or preference. Period.

Let’s hold fast to what we do agree on as we study today’s passage on Day 8 of Journey Into Therefore, which covers chapters 4-6 of Ephesians, but don’t miss the first 3 chapters we studied in Journey Into Done!

Not enough time to read all of those studies?
Catch up where we are in Ephesians 5 by reading Day 6 and Day 7 of this week.
Studying Scripture always requires context!

Ephesians 5:18, commands us, “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled with the Spirit[.]” While the effects of alcoholism on individuals and families are devastating (Isaiah 28:7-12), and we would be wise to heed this exhortation to avoid over-imbibing, the main idea of this verse lies in the charge to be filled with the Holy Spirit

If we’re not seeking to be filled with the Spirit, then we are probably spending our time on something that falls short, whether that happens to be alcoholic “spirits” or any number of other numbing mechanisms. 

While preparing for and praying over this Journey Study, I repeatedly sensed the Holy Spirit talking to me about my time on social media. I have used it as a numbing agent when feeling overwhelmed, and even though I follow lots of accounts glorifying the Lord, social media opens doors for comparison, discontent, shame, and a myriad of other thoughts not from the Lord. These thoughts lead me to disobey Scripture, my foundation of truth, because it directs us to think on things that are excellent, lovely, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) I may not be drinking wine, but I am looking to something other than the Lord to manage myself, my emotions, and my thought life. 

Thankfully, the Lord shares what being filled with the Spirit “looks like” and how we can lead a Spirit-filled life. Cue the rest of Ephesians, especially today’s study in verses 19-21.

While I don’t think these verses, urging believers to “[speak] to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19) are asking us to live everyday like we are in a perpetual musical, there is a command to worship continuously through our words, thoughts, and actions. 

When we settle our hearts’ gaze on the Lord, we begin to more fully grasp the beautiful hope of the gospel. Overflowing with mercy, moved by His great love for us, Jesus came to walk the earth as God made man, revealing the Father to us and ultimately sacrificing Himself to cover our sins. (John 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) When He rose to life again, He defeated the power of sin and death, and now offers us the hope of eternal life and restoration! 

Faced with this overwhelming truth, how can we respond with anything less than consistent praise and abundant thanksgiving? Like the ancient prophet Isaiah, may we declare,

Give thanks to the LORD; proclaim His name!
Make His works known among the peoples.
Declare that His name is exalted.
Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things.
(Isaiah 12:4-5)

When I am devoted to adoration, I find I have less time and interest in things distracting me from the Lord. My thoughts are far healthier: less negativity, judgment, shame, confusion, anger, bitterness, and hopelessness, and much more of the fruits of the Spirit

In worshiping the Lord, I am giving more “heart real estate” to the Holy Spirit.
What will He do with such fertile ground?
Produce fruit.

The kind of fruit I long to enjoy and share with others: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

My surrendered praise enables me to succeed far more abundantly at loving one another out of love for Christ than any social media post ever could. When my focus is on the Lord and worshiping Him with all I am, allowing His Spirit to flood me, I become much more unoffendable, gracious, and I look more like Jesus by His Spirit unleashed in me!

Christ told us to expect  trials and tribulations in life (John 16:33). While I certainly understand the allure of numbing our pain to handle life’s challenges, I also know the Lord is far more effective in helping us navigate life with His peace than anything found in a bottle or a screen.

May we seek His face and worship our way through our days.
I know He will meet us with peace! 

Lord, You are sovereign and mighty, strong enough to carry our burdens, and graciously humble to lift them. Please help us become more like You. Holy Spirit, we surrender our hearts to You. Please fill us with Yourself and produce fruit that glorifies You. Help us serve and honor one another so we might express Your love to others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Help us drink You in, rather than drinking up anything taking our focus from You.
For Your Glory, Amen.

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