Editor’s Note: This fall we will be doing a 10-part series on Flesh vs. Spirit. We hope these ladies’ testimonies will encourage and inspire you to keep pushing through, to keep battling, to keep believing in God’s truth that says you are an OVERCOMER. Though it sometimes feels like we are losing the battle, we have overwhelming victory though Christ and His blood shed on the cross. Be encouraged today!
I have never met a person who doesn’t struggle with meeting his or her needs outside of Christ at some point and in some fashion. It is a battle we all face: flesh vs. Spirit or life vs. death.
We find ourselves feeling insecure, so we eat another cookie.
We are struggling at work, so we spend more time on social media.
We’ve been listening to negative self-talk, so we criticize and lash out at the ones we love the most.
We feel stressed by the dishes in the sink, the toddler at our ankle or family dynamics that are less than perfect, so we reach for a glass of wine.
These ways of ‘coping’ are often the small foxes that keep us from living the abundant life Christ has promised us.
Many years ago, the Lord showed me a passage in the book of Proverbs that has stuck with me.
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”
So, let’s consider alcohol, and how often, in the flesh, we use it to meet our needs, or help us cope. My question to you is this: Have you embraced the lie that alcohol will help…
You fill in the blank.
Society has lulled us to sleep on this issue. They have called us “legalistic” for speaking up against the lies about alcohol. They have told us the Bible says not to be “drunk” with wine, not that we can’t “drink” wine. But I would say, I’d rather live a life that relies on the Spirit to meet my needs and comfort my pain, than believe the lie that alcohol is somehow able to do that.
I’ve lost count of how many families I know who have been destroyed by the effects of alcohol. How many church leaders have walked away from the faith and brought pain to the body of Christ because of alcohol. How many teenagers have found themselves in compromising situations because of alcohol, their innocence stolen from them. How many husbands, or wives, have walked away from their families because of alcohol. 23 years in ministry puts you smack dab in the middle of people’s pain. And each time a person has been effected by the devastation of alcohol he/she will tell you, “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”
I’ve loved our recent blog series on walking in the flesh vs the Spirit. It has reminded me that we all struggle, but there is a real God who lives within each surrendered Christian heart, empowering him or her to deny the flesh.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
It is the Spirit that sets us free from the flesh.
It is the Spirit that empowers us to live in victory so that we are not attempting to meet our own needs, but leaning into Christ to have those needs met.
This reality is liberating. When we stop and realize we are living in a way that brings pain to ourselves and others we can repent, turning from our sin, and instead begin walking in the freedom Christ has for us. I would much rather be honest with my emotions, face my pain, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring me freedom, than live in the cycle of hurt that alcohol brings.
I want to challenge you today. If you struggle with turning to alcohol to meet your needs, be brave and reach out to me. I want to help you find true healing that comes from a living God who knows you intimately and is always ready to meet your needs.
With all my love, Julie Snellgrove