Daily Reformation, Ephesians 5:18-21

From the Reformer

The children of this world are accustomed to indulge in deep drinking as an excitement to mirth. Such carnal excitement is contrasted with that holy joy of which the Spirit of God is the Author, and which produces entirely opposite effects. To what does drunkenness lead? To unbounded licentiousness—to unbridled, indecent merriment. And to what does spiritual joy lead, when it is most strongly excited? To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Rm 14:17) and the exhortation, be ye filled, (v18) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians

Pulling It Together

The brother apologized again for his latest attempt to fill his feeling of emptiness with drugs. He had been on a binge and forgotten wife, children, and Lord in the fleeting solace of a crack pipe. It never worked but he kept trying because he was addicted. Instead of thanking God for difficulties that might have drawn him closer to God, he ran to the place where there is no care except trying to forget all cares.

The scripture, instead, teaches to give thanks for “all things,” good, bad, and between, which implies a trust in the benevolent care of One who knows what is best for him. It means relieving himself of authority over his own life, trusting God even when it feels like no one is in charge—even when it feels empty. In his time of weak emptiness is when God would be strong and present, but it means standing in faith until the feelings change.

May the right Spirit be renewed in you this day!

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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