No Need for Self-Medication
17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In our humanity, we reach for a great many things in order to soothe the internal struggle with our sinful flesh that we all face. We are surrounded by addictions and behaviors that shout aloud the pain of living in a fallen world. In our desperation, we reach for anything that will cause us to forget the sin that entangles us. Paul offers answers to the struggle as well.
During the first 3 chapters of Ephesians we are told in no uncertain terms that Christ is Lord and that He has come into the world to redeem us from our sin. The victory is won and we are no longer slaves to that struggle. Now, in the short passage we read for today, Paul tells us to stay away from those self-made solutions to the pain of sin. (Note that he doesn’t say “do not drink wine”. What we are told is to refrain from over-indulgence, for that is when we fall into self-medication. Instead he offers up the idea of filling or hearts, minds, and mouths with words of praise and adoration. Instead of speaking words of gossip or tearing others down, what if you intentionally (there it is again) sought to build up the people who whom you speak every day. It would be a completely different world. If my mind is focused on praise rather than on myself, well, it might be better for everyone involved.