“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18)
I don’t believe drinking wine is a sin, but I also don’t believe it leads to wisdom in the greater sense. Being filled with the Spirit is a term meant to suggest that we leave our minds open for the Spirit to operate. Alcohol and drugs interfere with the mind and the more of those substances that are consumed, the less the mind is able to concentrate on the Spirit.
Neither Paul nor Peter nor Jesus himself advocated complete abstinence. The problem with all mind-altering substances is the building of tolerance to the substance itself. Absolutely no one sets out to be addicted or an abuser. The trouble with addiction is that no one can predict at what point an individual will pass from casual user to abusive user. It is a dangerous walk, close to the darkness.
That being said, I would like to take space to discuss the real issue here, being filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gift of God to the Christian and is given to live within the individual. The Holy Spirit as an indwelling God is in communication with the very core of man’s thinking and knowing. To be filled with the Spirit is to allow the Spirit full occupation of one’s mind/heart. The part of man that thinks and then acts is the seat the Holy Spirit wants to occupy.
The faithful saints would do well to avoid putting anything in their body/brain that would keep the Holy Spirit from performing his work to the fullest. We can boot the Spirit out by isolating him or ignoring him or by just crowding him out with our own life. I think that is what Paul is getting at here. He is suggesting that we live in complete moderation or less to make sure that the Spirit has full control over our lives.
When we are full of the Spirit, we are in the light and walking in wisdom. When we are under the influence of something else we are likely to stumble in the darkness or do something foolish.
By the way, in case you were wondering, dissipation comes from a word that means “to lead astray.” It often shows up as crazy partying or wild nights and so forth.
Task for Today: Clear your mind and keep it clear. Let the Holy Spirit have control of the entire brain/heart. Think about what you’re putting in your body or doing with your body and don’t do anything that will hinder the Holy Spirit from doing his job.