If you are visiting my blog from my Proverbs 31 devotion called Tired of Waiting that was published today, then welcome, and happy post-turkey day to everyone!
In todays P31 devotion, I shared the story of Isaac’s long wait for a child from the book of Genesis and how God rewards us for being patient in our faith and trusting that He is always listening. There have been many times in my life when I have felt so tired of waiting on a prayer to be answered, that I not only began to feel a sense of hopelessness, but emptiness. Times when I needed to be filled up with a big helping of God.
Thanksgiving is a day full of “fillers”. We get filled with family, filled with thanks, filled with blessing, and most of all, filled with food.
Throughout this day where we overindulge in good food and homemade goodies and we feel physically full. We feel satisfied for the moment, yet we know that in just a few hours that familiar feeling of emptiness will return, and the stomach will growl once again, giving us the signal that it’s time to refuel our bodies.
That’s the thing about filling up with food, or anything else that brings physical satisfaction – it only temporarily meets our need to feel full. Wouldn’t it be great if our spirits could ‘growl’ like our stomachs when the feeling of spiritual emptiness or hopelessness sneaks in, letting us know that we need to indulge in a little spiritual food, or maybe an extra big helping of God?
Ephesians 5:18-20 says this, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is a popular verse, often interpreted differently among differing denominations. Some churches see this verse as proof that Christians should refrain from drinking alcohol at all, while others view it as a verse that encourages self control when consuming alcoholic beverages so as not to negatively affect a person’s witness for Christ.
However, regardless of personal opinions about drinking, the real truth tucked in between the lines here holds a much broader purpose than beverage consumption.
This verse encourages us to think about anything that we are filling ourselves up with that is not only temporarily satisfying, and results in leaving no room for the Holy Spirit to reside.
Apparently, some pagan worshipers in Paul’s time would intentionally get drunk as a form of their worship. They filled themselves with the effects of wine before and during worship, rather than seeking the effects of the Holy Spirit. They sought after the physical feelings that the wine caused, instead of the spiritual feelings that the Holy Spirit could fill them with.
Paul is mainly concerned here with the fact that their drunkenness not only led to reckless actions, but that they were purposely filling up with wine, instead of filling up with the Holy Spirit. They were choosing a temporary substitute of fulfillment, instead of seeking a permanent fullness of heart through God.
Most of us would agree that being overly filled with any alcoholic beverage is not pleasing to God, however we often overlook or justify the act of over-indulging in other sinful ways.
For example, have you ever considered how “filling up” with powerful emotions in our hearts and minds – such as as jealousy, lust, anger, hurt, bitterness, temptation, worry – can result in leaving little room in our heart for the Holy Spirit?
If we are filled up with negative emotions, the Holy Spirit is slowly pushed out. Leaving us empty. Full of something that is not of God.
Yesterday we may have been filled up with food, but what will fill us up this week and the next? Will we be focused on only on our physical needs and feelings, or our spiritual needs, feelings and fillings as well? Will we stay plugged into God’s Word and allow Him to fill our hearts with His peace and joy, especially as we approach the busy holiday season?
Just as we choose to over indulge in food on Thanksgiving, staying spiritually filled up is a choice we all must make. A choice to spend time in prayer, reading God’s Word, attending church, serving His kingdom, and fellowshipping with other believers. These things take time, but are always time well spent and help us to be filled with the Spirit.
Thanksgiving day comes and goes, sometimes all too quickly it seems, but the desire to be full in heart and soul can continue all year round. The good thing is no matter how much we overindulge in being filled with the Spirit, we can never get too much of Him.
What has been filling you up lately? How will you stay spiritually filled up now that all the Thanksgiving dishes are put away?
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