The Wine of the Flesh vs. The Wine of the Spirit
The consumption of alcohol - especially wine - has become something of a hot button topic in the church world today. Allow me to tell you how my own personal convictions of abstinence from alcohol came to be.
When I was growing up, my life was heavily shaped by alcoholism. It was apparent to me even as a child that alcohol seemed to get control of people. Once, I had a friend's dad turn up his nose at someone else who I knew who struggled with alcoholism. The problem was, I rarely saw my friend's dad without a beer in his own hand! How many believers who argue for moderate alcohol use are actually to some degree addicted to alcohol? Just as in my friend's dad’s case, it doesn't require constant intoxication to be addicted. If you want to find out whether or not someone is dependent on alcohol, just take away the bottle!
About a year ago, I was preparing to speak in front of a group of drug and alcohol addicts. I was pondering the issue of a Christian’s use of alcohol and wondering how to communicate truth to a group of addicts who were in the midst of being freed of their addictions. If an addict feels that alcohol use is permissible, it can ruin their newfound freedom from addiction in a heartbeat! Soon a verse came to mind which says, "Do not be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life, instead be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 NLT)." Then the Holy Spirit began to unlock to me key differences between the wine of the flesh (alcohol) and the wine of the Spirit (Holy Spirit). Here are those differences (I pray they will encourage you as they did me):
The Wine of the flesh:
- Impairs good judgment
- Destroys the temple of the Holy Spirit (your body)
- Becomes a destructive hook (addiction)
- Causes one to lose healthy fears resulting in stupid actions that bring death and destruction
The Wine of the Spirit:
- Sharpens good judgment
- Brings life to the mortal body (Romans 8:11)
- Becomes a life-giving obsession (Taste & see that the Lord is good…)
- Causes one to lose unhealthy fears resulting in bold and courageous acts for God’s glory
Regardless of your personal conviction on wine, I think Scripture gives great directives in this regard. There is certainly much warning in the area of wine consumption because of how habit forming it can be and resulting in destruction. On the flip side, going after greater and greater infilling of the Holy Spirit brings about wonderful results. Let us consume ourselves with the pursuit of God and His presence!
Pastor Marc Eidahl | Bismarck Campus Pastor