Friday, November 25, 2011

Staying Filled Up After Thanksgiving

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. Too bad that feeling of "full" doesn't last!

Throughout this sweet day where we overindulge in good food and homemade goodies, we feel 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.

That's the thing about filling up with food - 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 emptiness sneaks in, letting us know that we need to indulge in a little spiritual food?

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, but 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 affects of wine before and during worship, rather than seeking the affects 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 the Holy Spirit is slowly pushed out. Leaving us empty. Full of something that is not of God.

This week, we may get filled up with food, but what will fill us up next week? Will we be focused on only on our physical needs and feelings, or our spiritual needs and feelings as well?

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.

Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our hearts. However, to stay filled up with Him, we have to continue to overindulge in what He has to offer, and take no substitutes.

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.

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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Toni said...

Well said Tracie!! Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. Happy post Thanksgiving!


Nancy said...

What wonderful spiritual food for thoughts during this Thanksgiving time. Thank-you!