18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (ESV)
At first glance, this verse seems to be about condemning the use of alcohol in the life of the believer. In fact, I can guarantee you that many a preacher has used this verse to preach against any drinking of alcohol. But, I do not believe this verse is focused on the the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in a believer's life, but rather the admonition to be filled with the Spirit! I really appreciate what the great Baptist Preacher Charles Stanley has to say about this verse:
"Although God wants every believer to be filled with the Spirit, many Christians are not sure what this means or what it looks like. To help us understand that whatever fills us controls us, Paul cites drunkenness as a negative example of “filling” and tells us to avoid it. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the extent of His rule is determined by the Christian’s freedom to comply."
- Charles Stanley, www.intouch.org.
What happens when someone is drunk? They are under the influence of the alcohol. In fact, we use that expression for drunk drivers of automobiles . . . driving under the influence. May I suggest to you that we, as believers, ought to be “wise walking under the influence.” Under the influence of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit should have complete control of what we are doing, where we are going, the decisions we are making.
How much of the time do we live as if the Holy Spirit is nowhere to be found. We are not under his influence. And maybe we are patting ourselves on the back saying, “I don’t drink alcohol.” That’s fine, but are you under the influence of the Holy Spirit? The more that you yield yourself to the Holy Spirit's control the more you will be able to do things that he calls you to do.
Have you ever wished that you could forgive that person who wronged you, but you just cannot? By being filled with the Holy Spirit you can allow him to enable you to forgive. Walking in purity? Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Share the Gospel with your neighbor? You will need the Spirit's control for that.
How will you yield yourself to the Spirit's control today? What amazing things can be accomplished for the Kingdom if you will be filled with the Holy Spirit? Be filled!