What Alcohol Can Teach About How Holy Spirit Works in Us

(Unsplash/Kats Weil)

Alcohol can teach us a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

In Ephesians 5:18 we read: "Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit."

To get drunk with wine—or any alcoholic beverage for that matter—means you will come under its influence. It will negatively influence your motor skills, decision-making capabilities and social inhibition.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to come under His influence.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be continually filled, saturated and permeated by his presence on a day-to-day basis.

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Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn't rocket science.

You don't have to work yourself up into a frenzy, do a crazy jig or necessarily seek someone else to fill you with His presence.

After being indwelt by the Spirit, we are continually filled with his presence by simply asking God the Father, through Jesus Christ, to fill us with him (Luke 11:13) and by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5) which is found in the Bible (John 6:63; 1 Cor. 2:14).

When we are continually filled with the Spirit, we will come under a great sense of his influence in our lives.

His influence isn't something we necessarily feel.

His influence is something that will change our lives.

Here are six ways how the Holy Spirit works within us to help us to live and love like Jesus.

  1. The Holy Spirit lives within us.

After calling and regenerating us, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

This means that God is not confined to a specific country, item or building—like the temple in the Old Testament (1 Kings 6). He indwells those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

By taking up residence in our lives, the Holy Spirit fills us with His presence (Eph. 5:18; see Acts 4:8, 31; 6:3: 9:17; 11:24; 13:9). His presence brings new life and a new love for God and others. He changes us from the inside out.

And, his influence is not a one-time deal, either.

The Holy Spirit is not a flaky guest who crashes with you for a night, sleeps in your bed, eats your food and then leaves without saying goodbye.

When He comes to live within you, He unpacks his bags, moves in his belongings and stays for the long haul.

Though we may grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and even quench his presence (1 Thess. 5:19), we can't offend him enough to make him leave. He's with us forever (John 14:16-17, Rom 8:9, Eph. 1:13-14).

  1. The Holy Spirit makes known the presence of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is not a rogue member of the Trinity doing His own thing.

His primary work in our life and the world today is to mediate the presence of Jesus Christ (this is a theological way of saying that the Holy Spirit makes known to us the personal presence of Jesus).

All of the Holy Spirit's works are rooted in His aim to bring glory to Jesus Christ (John 15:26, 16:14; Acts 5:32; 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 4:2)—not Himself or us.

The Holy Spirit redirects our pursuits from aiming at ourselves to glorifying Jesus. He will lead us away from loving ourselves to loving God and others. He gives us a new purpose to love God and enjoy him forever.

  1. The Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus.

There's one crucial point to make about the Holy Spirit: He's holy.

In a general gist, the Holy Spirit produces holiness within us. He will convict us of sin (John 15:8-11) and lead us to become more like Jesus.

As we walk with the Spirit (Gal 5:16) and stay in step with Him (Gal. 5:25), He will strip away our love for sin and make us more like Jesus.

  1. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Bible.

The relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Bible is twofold.

He inspired the writing of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21), and He helps us to understand the Bible (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:9-11; Heb. 3:7,10:15).

When it comes to understanding a passage from Scripture, the Holy Spirit will help you to understand what it means and how it changes your life.

The Holy Spirit will work through your reading of the Bible, family and friends, and mainly through the proclamation of the gospel and the Bible to bring about transformation in your life (Rom. 1:16, 10:14-16).

So ask for the Holy Spirit to help you to understand the Bible as you read and study its message.

Also, if you're in a position of teaching the Bible to your family, friends, small group or church, it's a good idea to ask for the Holy Spirit to help your listeners understand the passage you are sharing.

  1. The Holy Spirit helps us pray

The Holy Spirit is active in aiding us in our prayer life (Rom. 8:26-27).

But there will be times in your life as a Christian when you will feel inadequate in your prayer life or have no idea what to pray for. Usually, these feelings of inadequacy creep in when the Bible doesn't specifically address our situation. For example, you won't find in the Bible where you should attend school, live, work, whom to marry or how to handle a particular hardship.

When you find yourself in these moments, remember to ask for the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness.

  1. The Holy Spirit guides us

The Holy Spirit also guides us (Gal. 5:16, 25; see Acts 8:29, 13:2, 15;7-9, 16:6; Rom. 8:14).

He led Jesus into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1), provided direct guidance to Philip (Acts 8:29) and even physically transported Philip (Acts 8:39-40)—talking about being led by the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has—and can—supernaturally lead people, but His work in guiding you will normally take place with a less supernatural display of power. Look for less flare and pizzazz from the Spirit and look for Hm to work through your everyday life.

Though the Holy Spirit is at work guiding us on a deep, personal level, the Scriptures suggest that we are responsible for cooperating in His guidance by "walking according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16).

Don't just pray and wait for a particular feeling.

Pray and prepare for action.

How have you experienced the influence of the Holy Spirit today? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Jesse Wisnewski is the senior content marketer at Tithe.ly, the leading mobile giving platform for churches and ministries around the world. Jesse has an M.A. in Christian Thought from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and five kids.

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