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by on June 17, 2013

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,”

– Ephesians 5:18

When I was a kid, I used to love taking the many boxes of dominoes I would find in my great aunt and uncle’s games closet.  I would spend hours on their kitchen floor setting each domino up on end one after another, creating a chain of patterns that stretched all over the room.  All that was needed to set the “domino-effect” in motion was the push of the first domino forward.  Before it completely fell to the floor on its own, that first domino would strike the next, causing an series of reactions and causations right on down the line.
Cause and effect.  Our memory verse this week is really all about spiritual cause and effect, and the relationship between the physical, the mental and the spiritual aspect of our lives.  Read Ephesians 5:18 one more time…
Debauchery is a word not oft-used any longer.  The simple definition is an excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.  The biblical definition caries with it an idea of a behavior that leads to indecorous decisions which are open to censure.  Things like, nakedness, indiscretion, indecency, lust and lewdness all fall under the umbrella of debauchery.  Paul is warning the reader that giving control of your mind away has an impact on your body, and thus your spiritual walk.
It is important that we notice that Paul does not tell the Ephesians that drinking wine is a sin.  He is speaking to overindulgence of a substance that is mind and mood-altering (that distinction is relevant, especially in light of the marijuana laws that have been passed recently in Washington and Colorado!).  Paul’s imperative direction to not become intoxicated shows the negative effect of dominoes.  Losing control of our minds leads to sin, whether it culminates in a physical act or a mental sin.  The intentionality of avoiding drunkenness shows us that premeditation may also be an issue.  Plan your time wisely!
We must also realize that God is also providing positive direction for our lives in this verse, and not simply a “don’t do it!” check list for self-righteous, teetotaling behavior:  “Be filled with the Spirit.”  The Spirit’s causal-filling also has spiritual, domino-effects (see Galatians 5:22-23).  The overarching idea is Christocentricity of our lives, and all that we do with what God has given us.
If we focus on Jesus, more and more, then one thing will lead to another….
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