by Terry Wane Benton

Paul mentions that drinking wine involves dissipation and that instead of doing that which dissipates good moral judgment, one should instead be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18). Being filled with the Spirit is the opposite of what alcohol or drugs do to the sober thinking part of our brains. One drink of alcohol begins to break down the inhibitions or moral and sober thinking part of the brain. Being “filled with the Spirit” (the Holy Spirit) strengthens the moral alertness and clarity of good judgment. Even one drink of alcohol begins to dissipate the sober, moral inhibitions that we need so that temptation may not take root and captivate us.

We don’t need any level of dissipation of our alert and cautious spiritual judgment. The world encourages “just one drink to loosen up a bit.” God says we need to do the opposite. We need to tighten up our spiritual and moral inhibitions. We need rather to “gird up the loins of your mind” and “be sober and vigilant” (I Peter 1:13). The choice is to “gird up the loins of the mind” or go the direction of alcohol that begins to dissipate the sober loins of a mind in good control. If we know that one drink, one injection, or one pill is designed to “loosen” our hesitation to get involved in the process of relaxed judgment skills, then we need to go in the opposite direction. It is time to brace our faith and moral judgment skills by getting closer to holiness and being filled with the Spirit. How can we do that? He says a good practice is to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in the heart. That will strengthen our moral and spiritual sobriety, and it does not involve dissipating our spiritual alertness.

He says that you can also be filled with the Spirit by practicing thanksgiving to God. In the Colossian letter, he said we can “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:15-17). So, “fill up” and “gird up” the loins of your mind, and don’t go in the direction of doing one thing that involves dissipation of your spiritual priorities and values, no, not for a moment! “Gird up” instead of “loosening up” your sober mind. I don’t drink alcohol because it involves dissipation of good spiritual and moral judgment. That is not the direction any of us need to go. We must come closer to our Holy God, not drift further away.

Which direction are you going? The direction of dissipation or the direction of stronger faith and holiness? “As for me and my house,” we will serve the Lord, not the flesh.

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