In His Grip Devotions
by Dr. Chuck F. Betters
How to Short Circuit the Holy Spirit – Part 4
Obstacle #3 – Spiritual Drunkenness
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. [And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:5b-11 E.S.V)
I began this devotional series, “How to Short-Circuit the Holy Spirit” by referencing my own bucket list. I wonder how many of us include in our bucket lists to live fully in the power of the Holy Spirit. Can that ever really happen in this life? Can I ever wake up one morning and expect that I can live a full 24-hour period in complete obedience to Christ in sinless perfection? Can I ever hope to live in such communion with Jesus that I can say to the lame man, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” What is it that hinders me from experiencing God is such a way that I can walk in step with the Spirit in perfect submission?
My very first house call as a novice pastor over 45 years ago came as the result of a young girl knocking at our parsonage door crying that her father was drunk and beating her mother. I went to the house and found him hiding in a closet drunk as a skunk. When Ernie saw me he immediately became “religious” quoting the Bible and crying that he needs Jesus. I have learned never to believe anything a drunken man tells you. His words were slurred and his tears did not move me one iota. Drunken repentance is not true repentance.
Peter speaks of a spiritual sobriety that prevents us from short-circuiting the Holy Spirit. Note,
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1Peter 5:7-8 E.S.V)
When lions prowl they do so incognito. But when it strikes, it is sudden and merciless. We have all seen the Discovery Channel as the poor zebra is chased and seized around the neck by the hungry lion. One minute the zebra is grazing in the meadow and the next he is lying dead being carried away to a perch where the lion can feast on his carcass. He is dead because he wasn’t sober. He wasn’t on full alert, always aware of the possible lion lurking near by.
Our enemy is always looking for opportunity to capitalize on our greatest weakness. When we are drunk with self-centeredness we are hiding in a closet of vulnerability. We emerge with spiritual rationalizations and religious mumbo-jumbo, not unlike drunken Ernie. Years ago I attended a very sensitive meeting involving the great sin of a long-time church member. His sin led to a truly broken heart, one grieved that he did not recognize the depth of depravity and the vulnerability of his soul to the evil one. As I listened to his statement of repentance I welled up in tears. This man lost sobriety, spiritual watchfulness and became unaware of the depth of his depravity. Now, he must pay the price and face the consequences of his spiritual drunkenness. Over time he will heal. But, the lesson is this - we are all capable of incredible evil. There but for the grace of God, go I.
How do we resist the devil? Is there a formula for spiritual watchfulness? Yes, there is.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6-8 E.S.V)
How do we resist the devil? By drawing near to God. Satan is fundamentally a bully. We are not a match for the devil when we attempt to fight him in our own strength. He will chew us up and spit us out. But when we hide behind the apron of Jesus what Satan sees is the power for which he is no match. How do we draw near to God? Before you get out of bed, ask the Lord how you can show others His love that day and then be on the alert for a specific opportunity. Accept His invitation to spend time with Him by spending time in His Word. Be like that tree planted by the water in Psalm 1. Your roots will grow deep so that when the lion attacks, he will not knock you down. Revel in the fact that God does not treat us according to our sins, but sees us through the grid of the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Every day, every day, start by soaking in these truths.
What’s on your bucket list? I want to finish well, to finish strong. How about you?
In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters
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