Welcome to DAY 23 of our online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 5:15-21
My drinking had begun casually. I worked as an executive director in a demanding 50-to-60-hour-a-week job. I even brought my work home on the weekends. To escape the relentless pressure, I’d join work cohorts on Friday nights for casual camaraderie and relaxation at a sidewalk bistro-bar. Tête-a-tête, glass-to-glass, we sipped our wine and shared our dreams long into those neon nights.
Slowly, insidiously, my life acquired a seedy side, predominated by a love for alcohol.
Deep inside, I knew it was wrong, but I ignored the Holy Spirit’s prompting to quit drinking.
Then God began bombarding me with the Bible verse Ephesians 5:18. For weeks, no matter where I was or what I was reading or to what I was listening, the words repeated:
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery . . .” (Ephesians 5:18)
I read these words in my Bible, in books, in devotionals, and even in a magazine article. Everything I picked up, I put down. I did not want to read that verse!
One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I turned on the radio and was stunned. There it was again, that same Scripture, pounding its incessant drumbeat, this time through the voice of a pastor. I couldn’t escape it.
Do. not. get. drunk. on. wine.
Each word articulated measuredly like a chisel — sharp, precise, piercing, excruciating — dividing soul from marrow, escapism from reality, pleasure from piety.
There was no question about it. God had laid down His gauntlet. Either I could continue to ignore His command and get drunk on wine, my indulgence of choice, and suffer the consequences, or obey Him. The choice was mine.
Begging for God’s help, I decided to stop.
I would flounder for a year, but as I continually obeyed the second part of verse 18 to “be filled with the Spirit,” as daily I read God’s Word and prayed in my journal, asking Him to fill me with His strength, I never drank again. I chose no longer to be engaged in the debauchery of drunkenness, but enthralled in the delight of His indwelling.
Though I made the choice, I could only stay sober because of Him.
Addiction takes many forms. Is there anything that brings you more delight than Jesus? Ask Him to convict you of the sin of idolatry and to fill you with the power of His presence to overcome it. He will not fail you.
Note: Though I believe that ultimately God alone gives us the power to stop drinking, He may additionally lead you to support groups, counseling, or medical help. God can use any means He wants. The key is to ask His guidance and then do as He says. I can only speak personally about how the Lord guided me about drinking. If you need help, please seek your pastor’s guidance or a local Celebrate Recovery program.
~ Diving Deeper ~
Is there an area of your life
where you’re reluctant to give God full reign?
How can we pray for you today?