“Don’t get drunk on wine” (v. 18). It’s a bit shocking that Paul has to warn Christians about getting drunk. I tend to forget that people in all times of history have tried to distract themselves from life’s pain. Drunkenness can dull the disappointments of life, distract from the sharp edges of relationships, and numb us from the inflammatory news cycle.
But it is not only wine that we use to numb and distract. There are many “drugs of choice”—gossip, work, social media or even sports—we use when life overwhelms or when we no longer know how to relax.
It can be a relief to binge on news or gossip about others’ lives as a way to avoid facing our own. We may self-medicate with over-work or over-commitment, too numb to feel so that we cannot be “filled with Spirit” in the present moment.
Of course, we need times of rest and recreation. Sometimes binge-watching a few episodes of a favorite show gives me the break I need. But other times, it dulls me into sleep-walking through my own life.
How can we tell whether our choices are more like “getting drunk” or being “filled with the Spirit?” I have to pay attention to the fruit it cultivates in my life. I try to ask myself, Does this lead me to “speak to each other with psalms” and to “make music to the Lord in my heart?"
What is your “drug of choice?” Work? Gossip? Wine? What keeps you distracted from what God might be up to in your life? What refreshes you and re-connects you to gratitude and praise? May we all cultivate the fruit that brings Life!