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What Are You Drunk On?
by Shawn McEvoy
And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."
"These men are not drunk, as you suppose," Peter told the bewildered crowd at Pentecost. "This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel." The Holy Spirit had been poured out, and I've always found it fascinating that its effects could be mistaken for the pouring out of, shall we say, less holier spirits.
To be sure, the Bible instructs Christ-followers to be "sober-minded" (Titus 2:6, 1 Corinthians 15:34). And there's honor and maturity in a steadfast, stoic reaction to life's trials. But then there's this fantastic scene in Acts that just fills me with tiny bubbles of delight. There's so much joy and power and overflowing involved with the Holy Spirit that, sometimes, well, we Christians just seem a little bit crazy. Flipped-out. Punch-drunk. Downright giddy.
And who wouldn't like to see more of that side of us these days?
Reflecting on this kind of Spirit-trusting, God-leaning fun reminds me of my three summers as a Christian youth camp counselor. The labor was hard but not in vain. The purpose was evident. The craziness was everywhere. "Go nutso-picasso," our Director would say, and show these kids that being a Christian isn't some droll, fun-killing existence, but something real, life-giving, sustaining, and joyous.
And indeed it was, and is. My closest friends and I had an odd high school experience, in that we had a hard time understanding why our peers found it so fun and/or necessary to involve alcohol - illegally - in their weekend plans. We were having more laughs and fun than we could imagine without any drugs. What were we filled with? Why didn't we need anything else?
Later, when I worked at camp, one of the things we would do is create a video of each week for the students to take home with them. One of the features on each week's video was a "blurb" from one of the counselors, an off-the-cuff, from-the-heart snippet of encouragement. I recently found the videotape from the week I was interviewed, and my response reminded me so much of what today's verse means to me, what real life under the guidance and excitement of the Holy Spirit is about. Here's what I said:
I think so many times in our youth groups back home we get tired of hearing the same things: don't drink, don't do drugs, don't have sex. And that's good advice to be sure, but why? So many kids here at camp and the ones I knew growing up weren't doing these things anyway; don't we have any more to offer them? Do we have any explanation for what is filling them, and what they can do with it? It just seems to me that those I've come across who are involved in these so-called "greater sins" are often engaging in them just to fill a void caused by, maybe, disobedience to parents, rebellion, lying, or a poor self-image. So what I like to do is show them that Jesus has given them everything they need to be content, secure, high on real living. And it takes a lot of energy to do that, but I find that the energy is there when I need it, and anyway, if it means leading a young person to the Lord or just reconciling someone to their parents, hey, that's worth it.
That's healing through a Holy infectiousness. Won't you take a sip and pass it on?
Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you in a prolonged stupor, or are you tipsy on the outpourings of the Holy Spirit in your life? What's holding this back? Is there a dam keeping the river from flowing forth out of you, keeping it fresh and alive? Take the first step to remove it by looking back to a time when you were first saved or relying entirely on God to do work in His Kingdom.