Bible Passage for Meditation: John 15:1-12
Key Verse: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
During high school I had a lot of struggles, so I began to drink because I wanted to be happy. I wanted to have a good time. Unfortunately it just ended up causing more pain and heartache than ever.
Of course, even for us as Christians, life isn’t easy. The Bible warns us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19), and it also tells us not to be surprised when we face trials (1 Peter 4:12).
Since becoming more fully converted, I’ve often thought I just needed to “grin and bear” with the difficulties of this life, knowing that one day I will experience the happiness and joy of heaven.
But James tells us to “count it all joy” when we go through trials (James 1:2). Can you imagine having your clothes torn off, being beaten with rods until you had “many stripes,” and then being placed in a dark high security prison with your feet in stocks? Talk about a difficult trial. If ever someone needed alcohol to numb the pain, this seems like the time. How was it that Paul and Silas were able, under such intense conditions, to joyfully pray and sing hymns?
Jesus promises us something incredible in John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (NKJV).
This promise comes in the context of abiding in Christ. To constantly find refuge during the storms of life in Christ’s loving presence brings true joy! Because, in His “presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). No wonder Ephesians 5:18 contrasts being drunk with being filled with the Holy Spirit. “The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven” (Adventist Home, p. 28).
I no longer need to drink alcohol to try to be happy; I just need to drink more fully of the Holy Spirit. This is the wine of Heaven. And this is something that we can partake of without limit. It is the joy of learning to abide in Jesus’ presence.
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Father in heaven, we want to be filled with joy! We don’t just want to pretend the Christian life is joyful; we want to actually be filled with the precious fruit of joy. Please help us to drink more fully of the Holy Spirit. Please forgive us for drinking from empty cisterns when we might have the pure wine of heaven. Please help us to abide in Your loving presence so that we can truly show the world how joyful it is to be a Christian. Thank You for filling us with joy today!
By Zac Page
(Zac is pastor at Templeton Hills SDA Church, in Templeton, California. He and his wife, Leah, have been married seven years and speak at revival and prayer retreats. To read more of Pastor Zac’s personal testimony, CLICK HERE.)