August 24, 2009

Are You A Drunk? Part 2

Last week I referred to a verse where Paul warns believers about being filled with wine, & instead he encourages them to be filled with the Spirit. That verse reminded me of the day of Pentecost & how the crowd at the temple thought that the apostles were drunk. People at the temple that day knew that the apostles were "under the influence"; they simply were mistaken about what that influence was. As I thought about this I made a list of some similarities of being under the influence.

#1- You Immediately Recognize A Drunk
It doesn't take you long to spot the guy at a party or that girl who needs to have her hair held while she pukes in the bushes. One time I was in Gatlinburg, TN with our students over the New Year's holidays. As we were walking back to our hotel right after midnight, we saw a girl being led out of a bar by the police. She was shouting (very slurred by the way) & carrying on so that pretty much everyone in a 10 block radius stopped to see what was going on. None of us had to ask, "I wonder what's going on there?" We all knew. At the very least she was going to be hit with a drunk & disorderly charge.

The point: as soon as we saw & heard her, we knew she had had too much to drink. The question: How readily do people recognize that Christ is living in your life? When people are truly being filled with His Spirit, it's unmistakable. People will see it. They may not always recognize it for what it is, but it's effects are undeniable.

#2-Drunk People Don't Live In Fear
Whether it's walking up & talking to a girl that's way out of a guy's league or doing something incredibly dangerous & stupid, alcohol has a way of dulling people's sense of fear. They don't call it liquid courage for nothing! Fear becomes irrelevant when you're under the influence. The difference for a believer isn't that the fear disappears or is dulled; it's that the Spirit that is filling us & influencing us moves us to overcome the fear that is still very real. The Spirit increases our faith to the point that we act in the face of fear rather than crumbling under it's weight.

Does fear mark your life, or do you find the courage & strength to act boldly in spite of your fear? For the believer, the source of that kind of courage is the Holy Spirit. We are told that the Spirit is not one of fear but of boldness. How have you boldly followed God in faith recently? If you're having a hard time remembering such a time, maybe you need to be filled up.

Later this week, I'll share a few more similarities that I see between these two groups that are living under the influence.

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