An Unpopular Notion

Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT)

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By Chuck Griffin

How we respond to verses like these says a lot about where we are in our walk with God.

Boring! Killjoys. Squares. Only the good die young! People caught up in the glittery side of life find it easy to roll their eyes at such sober Christian advice.

A lot of us who call ourselves Christian are all too familiar with this worldly stage of life, having passed through it in our younger days. I’ve known a few Christians who will tell you how they stayed in their “younger days” well into their sixties and beyond, discovering a better way only late in life.

We need to remember that it’s not always the wine that makes people drunk. The anxiety-inducing desires of this world—do I have enough, am I successful enough—can stun us into a spiritual stupor as powerfully as a big bottle of the finest red. 

To those who have yet to absorb Paul’s message, the part about being filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns, sounds intolerably boring. It’s because they have yet to taste the peace, the joy and the overwhelming sense of love that comes from stopping for a moment, taking a real accounting of our lives, and then stepping fully into a life with Christ.

Here’s the challenge for us who have already stumbled into that better way. How do we communicate what we are experiencing so others might be open to it, too? We all need to dwell on that question for a while and see if we can answer it creatively.

It helps me that I spend time with very old Christians who happily discuss what their walk with Christ means to them.  They see death as an ever-present possibility, but their joy and peace remain.

When with them, I often realize it would do me good to slow down and engage with the Holy Spirit even more. In that relationship, there is nothing to lose and glimpses of eternity to gain. Surely, if I engage enough, people will see the joy in me.

Sweet Spirit of God, continue to whisper to our souls, showing us the better way. As a people, may we once again grasp these truths at an early age. Amen.

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