What controls you? Something always controls you. You are always driven by something wether it be love, success, money, addiction, emotions or any number of other things.
Two thoughts have collided in my head over the past day and a half and i’d like to share them with you. I spent some time a few weeks ago preparing to preach, working through Ephesians 5:15-21,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I thought long and hard about this comparison between being “drunk with wine” and being “filled with the Spirit” in this passage. Paul is getting at the truth mentioned at the beginning of this blog. Apparently there were people in Ephesus being controlled by their love of wine. Paul is not arguing here against any and all consumption of alcohol but he is confronting the Ephesian believers for turning a good gift from God into something it was never meant to be. It was never meant to be used to excess. It was never meant to control people. Paul positions this sinful use of alcohol opposite being filled with the Spirit. If the negative in this equation is being controlled by wine then the positive admonition is to be controlled by the Spirit.
There’s one of the two thoughts involved in this mental collision.
My fiancé Heather and I are reading through Paul Tripp’s book, “What Did You Expect?” as a part of our premarital counseling sessions. In one of the chapters we read for a session this week, Tripp exposed the sin of serving a kingdom of one, myself. I’ll paraphrase his ideas. Our culture has become so selfish and people are so focused on their needs that even many believers operate in live without a thought of the Kingdom of God. They live their lives to satisfy their own desires; to build up their personal kingdoms. We are controlled by selfishness.
As I sat in Pastor Stevens living room, these two thoughts began to collide in my mind. I began to think about how I was going to retrain myself to live not for myself and my own personal Kingdom of Matt and live for a much greater kingdom, the kingdom of God. I know in my mind that doing this, living for the glory of the King of that Kingdom will fulfill me the way that the alternative selfish way of living never will. I asked myself how I would do this? How would I make this a daily way of life?
Paul gave me the answer a few weeks ago while studying Ephesians 5:15-21. In order to live not for my own selfish desires, to not be controlled by them or any other unsatisfying power, I must be filled with the Spirit. I must rely, not on my power but the power of the Spirit. I must not lean on my own standing with God, but instead on the finished work of Jesus on my behalf. I must learn for a lifetime how to relinquish control and how to open myself up the the control of the Spirit.
I pray that you would examine your own circumstances and driving forces. What controls and drives you? Is it anything other than the Spirit? Who’s kingdom are you living to build up? We must all consider these things and humbly ask for the spirits conviction and help. He will be faithful to give both.