Stay "High" on God

Stay “High” on God

Why do people like to get high or drunk? It’s an escape of sorts, isn’t it? If I don’t feel good about my present life, maybe I can escape to a better life, where everything is happy, where everything feels good—at least for a little while.

But what if we could get high on God? What if we could find our greatest fulfillment in our Heavenly Father? What if we could lose control to the Holy Spirit instead of to spirits of sin?

Did you know we are commanded to that very thing? Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, for that is debauchery (sin, wickedness), but be filled with the Spirit,

What does “be filled” mean? Before answering that question, there are several things that are not meant by being filled with the Spirit:

First, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a dramatic, mysterious experience of suddenly being energized into a permanent state of advanced spirituality.

Second, being filled with the Spirit is not the notion at the other extreme—simply stoically trying to do what God wants us to do, with the Holy Spirit’s blessing but basically in our own power. It is not an act of the flesh which has God’s approval.

Third, being filled is not the same being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, because He indwells every believer at the moment of salvation when that person is born-again of the Spirit. In other words, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event that takes place in the life of every Christian at the moment of regeneration. The fullness of the Holy Spirit, or being filled with the Holy Spirit, is something that takes place throughout the Christian’s life.

Paul did not accuse the Corinthians of being immature and sinful because they did not have the Holy Spirit. Rather, he reminded them that each one of them already possessed the Holy Spirit and they were not yielding to Him.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

The Corinthians were not sinning because of the Holy Spirit’s absence, but in spite of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Even when a Christian sins, he is still indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and that very fact that makes his sin even worse. When a Christian sins, he grieves the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) or quenches the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The joy and peace of God are gone. He hears little from the Spirit except the conviction of sin, which is there to lead him to repentance.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Finally, the filling with Spirit is not the same as being sealed, or secured by Him. That is an accomplished fact. Nowhere are believers commanded to be indwelt, baptized, or sealed by the Holy Spirit. God does those things. The only command is to be filled with the Spirit, and we have no more liberty to ignore this command than any other command.

To be filled with the Spirit involves confession of sin, and the surrender of will, intellect, body, time, talent, possessions, and desires. It requires the death of selfishness and the slaying of self-will. When we do these things, the Holy Spirit controls and leads our thoughts and life, which are entirely taken up with Jesus Christ, to whom it is the Spirit’s chief responsibility to bear witness. That is why God commands us to be filled with the Spirit.

Again, note it is a command. Therefore, we have a choice to obey or disobey. Also, notice it is not a one-time decision. It is ongoing, and it is repetitive, just like repentance, faith, and grace. We need to continue being filled with the Spirit. We need to continue yielding to the Holy Spirit’s control of our lives every moment of the day.

Sometimes a new Christian will experience radical, immediate deliverance from a habit of the old lifestyle and never look back. But in other areas the fight and the struggle continue.

Although Jesus has delivered us from sin and the dominion of Satan, we are now at war with Satan. A war may be decided by a critical single battle, yet troops find themselves facing “mop up operations.” These vary in intensity, but wounds inflicted in “mop up operations” are no less painful. That is how it is in the Christian life. We are delivered from sin, but we must battle the ongoing presence of sin and its lingering influence in our life.

We are a new creation in the Spirit, but the battleground is in our soul (mind, will, and emotions), which must be transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is God’s will is--His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

It is altogether possible to be born of the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit, and still not be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit, we must be emptied of all the things of the flesh, the things of the natural man. You cannot fill a container with water until it is first empty of everything else. A believer cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit until that believer permits the Lord Jesus to empty his soul (mind, will, and emotions) of everything of the world, the flesh, and the devil. When the soul is emptied, then the Holy Spirit can and will fill the believer’s body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The concept is that the Spirit so surrounds and possesses one’s being that he is controlled and compelled by the Spirit. This experience should not be looked upon as exceptional, nor as the prerogative of only a select few. It is the normal state of every believer who is fully surrendered to Christ, and we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:12-13 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

So, I ask, “If we come to Christ and experience the 'high' that being in Christ brings, why do we sometimes turn back to the old sin we are addicted to? Why do we live according to our flesh instead of the Spirit?”

One reason is because of pain and suffering. We might find ourselves turning back to the old sin when dealing with trauma, loss, as well as stress or abrupt changes in our lives.

When Jesus was talking with His disciples about the events before His second coming, He mentioned persecution and the desolation of Jerusalem. He talked about the people being in great distress and the natural disasters that will happen. All that could be overwhelming.

So Jesus gave us this warning in Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

When pain and suffering happen in our lives, we can be tempted to grab the quick high that comes from the self-indulgence of our pet sin, instead of being patient and waiting on God to work it out. When we become anxious about something, we can be tempted to settle our nerves the old way. But if we do that, we grieve the Spirit and become depressed.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus said this in Mark 4:18-20, "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

The worries of this life and the desires for other things choke the Word in our mind. We forget what the Word said, we take our eyes off of Jesus, we become anxious, and turn to that old sin for relief. At that moment, we are in great danger of drifting away from the Lord and shipwrecking our faith.

What should we do instead?

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

When the Holy Spirit fills us, He changes us and moves us to follow Jesus. However, when we turn back to sin, the opposite happens. We lose that passion and follow our fleshly desires. The positive changes we made start to undo themselves, and we revert back to our old selves. As a result, we often sin more greatly than we ever did before.

2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

For example, a member of A.A. said the following, "We drank for happiness and became unhappy. We drank for joy and became miserable. We drank for sociability and became argumentative. We drank for sophistication and became obnoxious. We drank for friendship and made enemies. We drank for sleep and awakened without rest. We drank for strength and felt weak. We drank "medicinally" and acquired health problems. We drank for relaxation and got the shakes. We drank for bravery and became afraid. We drank for confidence and became doubtful. We drank to make conversation easier and slurred our speech. We drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell. We drank to forget and were forever haunted. We drank for freedom and became slaves. We drank to erase problems and saw them multiply. We drank to cope with life and invited death."

Don’t miss the point of this message by thinking it refers to only drug and alcohol abuse. It pertains to any sin that easily besets us: pride, gluttony, sugar addition, sex addictions, gossiping, anger, fear, worrying, greed, over-spending, gambling, complaining, negativity, etc. These sins may be legal in this world, but they will condemn us to eternal damnation unless we repent!

Romans 6:21-23 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can be deceived into thinking there is a benefit to the old sin. We might think we need it to enjoy life, to be free to be ourselves. When we're depressed, discouraged, lonely, bored, or dissatisfied about our lives, we turn back to the old sin, to make us feel better; even though we know deep down that it won't help. It is a temporary escape that leads to even worse problems than the ones that prompted us to sin in the first place.

The so-called “escape” it provides isn’t real. It’s the devil’s poor substitute for the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” which God provides. Satan is ever substituting the bad for the good, and we suffer the consequences of obeying him instead of obeying God.

If you think seriously about it, sin is extremely boring and depressing. There is so much more to life. And that’s why you and I are called to leave it behind us. That was part of the old. We were born again of the Spirit to live in the new. We are new creations in Christ. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

If you trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit lives in you. But God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit: to live and move and have our being as a people belonging to God, who can express the life of the Spirit in our conversations and actions.

Ephesians 4:17-24 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, empty yourself of all sin that you allow yourself to indulge when you are focused on self instead of Christ. Then, ask your Father in Heaven every day to fill you with the Holy Spirit and stay “high” on God.

Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, you do not have the Holy Spirit. However, He may be giving you grace right now to have faith in Jesus as the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross. If so, believe and yield to Him by publicly confessing your faith in Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin and commit your life by being baptized. This will cause you to be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will lead you and empower you to become like Jesus as you continue to repent, yielding to the Spirit, and being filled with Him.