|"Do not be drunk with wine.."|
Yep! oh tee-totaler me (one who never drinks) have imbibed with sheer abandonment, sipped every ounce of the spiritual fruit of the vine served, and am now living under the influence of God's Amazing Grace!
I just concluded a wonderful bible study by Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love. I read this book many years ago and instantly fell in love with it! Since then I've read three different books by different authors on the Doctrine of Grace and studied it in several formats! But this time it was different!
Maybe because of the season of life that I'm in! Perhaps because I had faithful sisters doing the study with me! Or maybe by the Grace of God, it was just time to make some powerful changes in my perspective, attitude, and behaviors! This study is doing all that for me and I have a feeling it is doing something similar in others.
The book of Ephesians is one of those books in the New Testament that you keep going back to over and over again! I know that there is rarely a week that goes by that my devotionals don't point me there for some serious reflection. Because I've never been a drinker of alcohol, It was easy for me to just cruise over this admonition by Paul in Ephesians 5:18, "And do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (NIV) Drunkenness wasn't my vice you see! I've never had the desire to be under the influence of anything or anyone....UNTIL NOW!
It is in verses 19-21 that made all the difference to me: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Until you've done the study it might be a bit hard to explain because Grace is like that!
It's often uncomfortable, confusing, seemingly unfair and makes you do some down right crazy things like: loving people you don't even like; give money away when you can't pay your rent, work hard to serve people who don't even appreciate it! But you do stuff like that when you're GRACE DRUNK, under the influence of God's undeserving Love! Take a look again at these verses from Ephesians 5:
Vs. 19 - When you're Grace drunk you'll start talking to yourself! Speak to one another (and yourself) with gracious songs of peace love, unity, and joy to the Lord! Your tongue gets right!
Vs. 20 - When you're Grace drunk you learn to be thankful! Even the difficult circumstances and people in your life, because you know God's loving kindness is going to see you through it all.
Vs 21 - When you're Grace drunk pride is replaced by humbleness! God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5-6) You learn to give a little bit in some circumstances, because you choose to be joyful rather than to be right!!!
So my dears, the next time one of your friends invite you out for a drink, surprise them with a bit of new bubbly, It's called the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control! LIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF GRACE!
UNTIL NEXT TIME....
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