Say goodbye to 2011 !! Another year goes by and a new one is about to begin. And stay off the highways tonight if you can help it as the revelers will be out. Isn’t it very much indicative of the state of a person’s heart how they celebrate holidays? Working my way through school I saw this many times as people would bring in alcohol to observe Christmas, New years, anything they could to get an opportunity to “live it up” their way.
During my seminary years a young man named Bill I worked alongside of was drinking with some coworkers during a shift we had on New Years Eve. Once during the evening he had asked if I wanted a beer to which I politely declined and when he asked why I told him that I had left alcohol behind not long after I became a believer. I’d grown up with it but had, through study of Scripture, formed the conviction to not imbibe any more. As the night went on and drinks flowed more and lips got looser a couple more fellow employees taunted me a little to take a drink, to which I again declined. I thought of what Peter wrote, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” (1Pt.4:4). Then Bill came up after them and told me he really respected me for my stand saying it takes a bigger man to do that then to follow the crowd. I was shocked, but he was right. He then told me a story of his life as he was looser lipped now. He was raised in a missionary home but he chose to rebel and he understood where I was coming from exactly !
I learned some valuable lessons that New Years Eve. One was that people are watching you- especially when they know you are a Christian. To bring you down somehow legitimizes their sin in their minds (never God’s) but we must stay the course and be a consistent godly testimony. The fact that they try to delegitimize your testimony means you are making an impact !! Just look at the reaction to Tim Tebow lately !! But also, holidays comes from “holy days” and they were originally set aside as times of celebration with some sacred purpose in mind. The worldly mind though views them as an occasion to party hard and indulge self while as believers we must set a tone of spiritual sobriety, if you will, that shows the world we value our Lord. And in respect to New Years, we appreciate the opportunity to have lived through a year and embark upon a new one FOR Him. So we make the decision not to celebrate the preciousness of time and life with drinking spirits but partaking fully of His Spirit instead. When Paul wrote Eph.5:18 he said, “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.” he used a fascinating word in connection with the drunk. The word “excess” in its base idea is the word that means to “save” or be “whole” yet Paul places a prefix on it in the Greek which negates these ideas. So in essence he’s writing that the drunk is putting the brakes on true fulness of life by choosing to fill it with spirits or alcohol when he could be opting to be controlled by the Holy Spirit !! You may be wise enough to not fall for alcohol but will you choose to be filled with Him this coming year? If you do, trust me, your life will make a mark for Him !!