Did you get drunk over the holidays? What? Yes, you heard me correctly. I asked, “Did you get drunk over the holidays?” I hope you did and what’s more, I hope you stay that way!
Generally understood, a drunken Christian is not to be commended. Rather, he is an object of shame and pity and of gossip and sarcastic remarks both by the church and the world. And his continuance in such habits will eventually lead to church discipline, censure, excommunication and the warning that such things lead only to hell itself.
But, of course, we are not speaking of what is “generally understood” when we speak of intoxicated Christians. For it is an intoxication which is peculiar only to the Christian and one which cannot be attained by laying your money on the bar or counter of a liquor store. Furthermore, it is an intoxication which no one but a Christian can understand and enjoy and one which leads to heaven rather than hell. And, paradoxically, the more he drinks and the more inebriated his condition the better is his state!
First of all then, there are two distinct ways by which we may become intoxicated. One is the “generally understood” way and, strangely enough, the same word, except in its plural form, is used to attain that end as is used for the “other way” which we have so highly recommended. The word we mean is “spirit”. The ignominious way is to be filled with “spirits”—the Christian way is to be filled with “Spirit”!
What a vast difference in which of these two ways we choose to become intoxicated. And yet, even as in the similarity of the words, there is also a rather striking analogy in the results. The inebriate in the “generally understood” sense of the term succeeds in his endeavor, at least temporarily and at a great price, in drowning out his cares and troubles. He is for the moment “happy” or even perhaps unconscious to the present evil state in which he feels he exists. And so too with the intoxicated Christian who is filled with the Spirit. He knows his present evil state but being filled with the Spirit he is not depressed or without hope. Rather, he, according to the measure of his intoxication, is lifted up. He has spiritual delirium tremens in which he sees a new heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, a new resurrected life wherein he can praise his God and not be encumbered by that old man of sin. The world will call him a fanatic and insinuate that he may be “slightly touched in the head” but happy is that sort of inebriate. The more intoxicated he becomes the straighter becomes his steps toward that City and the more fluent his lips in singing forth the praises of his Redeemer!
And so it is that Christians may become intoxicated even as the apostle Paul writes for the Ephesians in chapter 5 verse 18: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” And the results will be those of verses 19 and 20.
Your opportunities for becoming thus intoxicated were exceptionally abundant on this New Year’s holiday. There were at least four and possibly more official gatherings of the saints in God’s house over the weekend, and we trust that you have availed yourselves of every opportunity to drink deeply of that well of living water whereof if a man drinketh he shall nevermore thirst!